Fragrance Oils vs Essential Oils

2 Essential Oils used in Aromatherapy : bergamot and tea treeEvery so often clients ask me about fragrance oils vs essential oils. A lot of clients don’t know much about aromatherapy or the oils used, so I guess it’s natural, but for me the difference is quite clear.

Essential oils are naturally extracted and ‘whole’. They are are naturally occurring substances found in different parts of plants – the blossom, fruit, leaf, stem, bark, wood or resin. They’re what I use for holistic healing.

Fragrance oils are manufactured scents. They are artificial, and they contain artificial substances. Some are designed to smell like a natural product – others might smell like bubble gum or ‘summer breeze’ or so on.Fragrance oils are mostly used in perfumes, cosmetics and flavorings. They are also used by soap and candle makers. But I would never use them for aromatherapy.

It’s like the difference between natural fibres like silk, linen and wool, versus polyester and nylon. I know what I prefer next to my skin!

How are essential oils made?

Most essential oils are pure distillations of flowers, herbs, roots, or resins. A small number are made using solvent extraction methods. They can contain anything from 50 to 500 different naturally occurring chemicals. Many components in essential oils are complex and difficult to make synthetically. Some of them have not even been properly identified yet.

Because they are made from completely natural ingredients, it’s important to pay careful attention to quality. Even if you use the same part of the same plant, you may get a slightly different oil composition depending on the location it grows in, the season or the weather. I only use essential oils from companies with high quality standards, like Black Sheep Farm Oils.

Some plants produce a  lot of oil naturally, so extraction is relatively easy. Citrus is an obvious example. It’s easy to grow and has a lot of oil.

Other oils are much harder to produce. Rose, for example. They say it takes a thousand petals to create one drop of oil. For this reason, rose is pretty much the most expensive essential oil there is.

Why use essential oils?

The huge range of naturally produced ingredients in essential oils affect the body in all sorts of ways. In my holistic healing and aromatherapy practice, I use a wide variety of oils (there’s a list of my favourite aromatherapy oils here) to get benefits including:

  • stress relief
  • relaxation and reduced anxiety
  • pain relief
  • improve emotional balance
  • re-energising
  • relief from rashes, psoriasis and eczema
  • lessening of menstrual and menopausal symptoms
  • overall well-being

Many essential oils also help soften and moisturise skin, and feed the hair. So they may make you look younger as well as feel younger!

Some essential oils are very strong – sometimes too strong for direct contact. So you have to be careful in using them. For example, cinnamon can irritate the skin, but it’s also a great antiseptic. You need to get the balance right and that’s why training and experience are important.

fragrance oil in a diffuser, used for scent purposes onlyWhy use fragrance oils?

Fragrance oils generally smell the same as the equivalent essential oil – unless you have the nose of a master perfumier! – but they don’t have so many ingredients. They’re fine if you want a scent or a flavour, since that’s what they’re made for, but the manufacturers don’t put all those trace components in. It’s how they keep the cost down.

So if you buy lavender fragrance oil, for example, it will smell like lavender. And that may help you relax because you like the smell and you already associate it with relaxation. But you’ll never get the other benefits you could with lavender essential oil. Benefits for treating coughs, insomnia, arthritis, muscle aches, wounds, insect bites, burns and so on.

It’s simple really – only use fragrance oils for fragrance!

For real healing, get help from an experienced, expert practitioner who not only knows about the oils, but develops a plan tailored to you as well!




My 10 Favourite Aromatherapy Oils

30-40 of my favourite aromatherapy oils in bottles, stacked on wooden shelvesToday I’m looking at my favourite aromatherapy oils – the ones I use all the time in my practice because I find them most effective.

1. Let’s start with lavender.

Everyone should have lavender in their first aid kit because it’s all-round wonderful.

  • Lavender is very good for relaxing people.
  • It’s good for headaches.
  • It’s good for pain, for sharp shooting pains.
  • If someone has insomnia, it will help them sleep.

In fact, lavender helped reactivate aromatherapy in modern times.

A chemist by the name of Rene Maurice Gattefosse burned his hand really badly in a laboratory  explosion. The nearest thing to him was a vat of lavender oil. Instinctively, he put his hand in the lavender oil. It not only helped take away the pain, his hand healed without any scarring too. And that led to the rebirth of modern aromatherapy

2. Geranium

I love geranium, particularly as a hormonal balancer and a mood balancer. It helps  with the hot flushes of menopause, and with symptoms of PMS.

People often say it’s particularly good for females, but it helps males too. Both men and women have times of emotional change. Life can be a roller coaster, and geranium  just helps anyone be a bit more stable & balanced while they are going through emotionally difficult times.

We all have roller coaster type experiences, men and women.

clary sage aromatherapy oil bottle3. Clary sage

The French meaning of clary sage is ‘clear sight’.  It’s the most euphoric of the essential oils.

It’s extremely relaxing. As an anti spasmodic, it’s very good for those tight tense muscles.

I’m not particularly fond of the smell of clary sage, but I like its effects.

4. Bergamot

Bergamot is a lovely balancing oil, energy wise.

If you’ve got too much energy it brings you down to the middle line. If you haven’t got enough, it brings you up to middle line.

Bergamot takes away the anxiety that leads to either over eating or under eating. So for any sort of anorexia or over weight issues, it’s an excellent oil.  It’s a good aromatherapy oil to use as an anti depressant.

Another use for bergamot is the treatment of any sort of urogenital infections, e.g. cystitis.

rosemary essential oil bottle5. Rosemary

We all know ‘rosemary for remembrance’.  But it’s not just the memory rosemary is good for.

It’s an excellent tonic for the liver.

Also, it’s a very stimulating oil so it’s good for people who want lots more energy. A lot of people are in need of rosemary these days – everyone is overworked, over stressed, and really quite fatigued. The only contraindication is for people with high blood pressure.

6. Frankincense

I wrote about frankincense before, but here are the main points again.

The church traditionally used frankincense to help people fall into a natural state of prayer and meditation. It was one of the gifts that the 3 wise men gave to Jesus – obviously it was highly treasured.

Frankincense was used to cast out evil spirits – nowadays it casts out mental negativity.

You can combine it with lavender to strengthen people who are feeling a bit vulnerable.

It also deepens the breathing, so it’s good for any sort of lung problems.

7. Roserose-aromatherapy oil bottle

Rose might be less exotic than frankincense, but in fact rose is the most prized of the essential oils. It’s  the most expensive, too!

That might be surprising because there are roses everywhere, but it takes a ton of roses to make a very small amount of rose essential oil. And as with all the essential oils, it is actually 70 times more potent once it’s been refined.

So what do we use rose for?

It is specifically for the heart chakra, for stimulating love of self and love of others.

The rose is very balanced between its roots, branches, stems and flowers.  Rose oil is very good for mental, emotional and physical balance.

Rose aids hormonal balance as well, so it’s another aromatherapy oil to use for menopause and PMS. And that ‘love of others’ effect can help you get on better with your husband – which you may need a lot during menopause and PMS! You just put a little bit on your heart chakra.

8. Eucalyptus

A true blue Aussie aromatherapy oil, eucalyptus is wonderful for asthma, any sort of coughing or breathing issues.  It’s lovely to have an oil burner in your room while you sleep. If there’s any infections around the place, use eucalyptus oil in the burner so that other people in the room are protected.

9. Tea Tree Oil

Another Australian oil, but totally different! Tea tree is wonderful because it is antibacterial, anti viral, and anti fungal.

It’s marvelous particularly for viral and fungal infections that you want to treat. There aren’t many natural or pharmaceutical things that actually treat fungus or viruses. Many people don’t realise that antibiotics only actually kill off bacteria. So tea tree oil is very valuable from that perspective. Athlete’s foot, for example, is fungal.

Tea tree oil is also used a lot in hair conditioner and skin lotions as well. One young girl who visited me left behind a facial scrub that had tea tree in it. It helps keep the skin clear of bacteria and stuff, which is great for young people whose hormones haven’t settled down.

Actually, it’s also good for animals. For example, use it to wash your dog because it will repel the fleas, ticks and so on. That’s a useful tip, especially with summer coming up.

10. Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang – last but not least! It’s just such a beautiful smell. The oil has aphrodisiac properties too. No wonder it’s used so much in perfume.

Actually there are a few aphrodisiacs in my list of favourite oils!

Rose acts as an aphrodisiac by stimulating love, love for yourself and love for another.

Clary sage and ylang ylang together is a powerful aphrodisiac combination, too. It’s meant to be good for people with anger – so maybe use it for kiss-and-make-up sex?!?

Anyway, that’s my list of favourite aromatherapy oils. You can see there’s a mix of them, for a whole range of conditions.

Of course I don’t limit myself to just these few oils. There are so many to choose from, and it’s a matter of finding the right mix for each person’s specific situation. But however varied my aromatherapy combinations are, most of them have at least one oil from this list.

I use aromatherapy in most of my treatments, but I can also make up a personalised mix for you to take away and use at home.

For more information, contact me at any time.

Natural Treatments for Depression

Picture of stone angel bowed down with despair, next to a floating sculpture of Winged hope
Release the pressure of depression and fly free again!

Over the years I’ve had a good number of people come to me with depression and depression-related symptoms. So today I’m looking at the best natural treatments for depression.

Association of depression with the liver

Depression, according to one mind-body and connection expert, is caused by anger. Anger because you don’t have what you want. Anger at the difference between your ideal of how your life should be and your reality. So it’s a matter of looking at where in your life this is the case and empowering you to look at the particular problems causing your depression, then helping you to address those issues. That’s the metaphysical point of view.

From an acupuncture point of view, suppressed liver energy is often a trigger for depression. Which is funny because the emotion of the liver is anger and frustration.  So the metaphysical and the acupuncture theory align very well.

Western scientific studies also support the idea that acupuncture can assist with managing depression.

Then there’s herbal remedies like St. Mary’s Thistle, which is very good both as a liver protectorant and a liver detoxifier.  So many natural treatments for depression are about the liver.

The importance of diet and stress management in managing depression

A lot of people these days are eating too much or drinking too much. There are also a lot of toxins in the food that we eat, or in the environment. So I try to inquire about diet and I may recommend dietary changes as well. Sometimes people only come for an hour, so it can be too much to cover. Of course if people are having a longer treatment, or if they’re having a sequence of treatments, then we can deal with different things as part of our holistic course of treatments.

If there isn’t time to discuss diet in detail, it’s always worth considering a multi-vitamin. Stress can deplete vitamins in the body, especially the B-vitamins. Modern lifestyles filled with junk foods are vitamin-deficient..

Why acupuncture and massage work as natural treatments for depression

When you treating depression holistically, you can see how the mental and emotional stuff goes down to the physical body. It gets locked in certain places depending on what you’re feeling. If it’s in the shoulders, you’re feeling overburdened. If it’s the right shoulder it’s concerning all that needs to be done. The left shoulder, by contrast, is connected to your creative, nurturing side. If the neck stiffens up, then you’re seeing things in a certain way and other people are trying to implement another way of doing things. So the tensions get caught in various parts of your body and manifest according to where you’re mentally and emotionally stressed with what’s happening in your life. That’s where the acupuncture and massage come in.

Looking at natural treatments for depression, there are some very good essential oils too.

  • Clary sage is one of the most euphoric and antispasmodic oils, and very relaxing.
    Bergamot is another good one.
  • There’s also rose. Rose is the most balanced between the branches, the roots, and the leaves. It feeds the heart, plus it’s hormonally balancing and quite uplifting.
  • Frankincense is a good oil to use in treating depression too. In the olden days, frankincense cast out evil spirits – in today’s time, it casts out negative thoughts & helps people go into a meditative space.

How many treatments will you need for depression?

As a general rule, depression is quite hard to solve with one treatment. The number of treatments needed depends on how long and how badly depressed you’ve been. It’s always a very individual thing.

There are times when no one can cure depression. All you can do is manage it. The circumstances causing the depression may be too complex, or impossible to resolve.  For example, I had one client who was in a very bad family situation.  She came from a culture with arranged marriages and her parents had actually given her to one of her cousins, but something happened and she ended up with his brother. Only she had an affair with the one that she was supposed to marry in the first place and had an illegitimate child too. Then there was another falling out with the family some years later, and some money issues… Unsurprisingly, she was suffering from very severe depression. She would come for a few treatments, the depression would be resolved, and then new family issues would come up. But her situation was quite extreme.

For her, the treatment included acupuncture and massage – and a lot of counseling. A lot of hugs.

My practice is truly holistic and treats the whole person, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When you’re using natural treatments for depression, it’s important to have a space where people can open up. So they can share stuff they can’t share with other people – because they know you’ll keep it truly confidential. Of course it may take a few treatments to reach this stage, but it’s a good feeling when clients trust me. And it helps me to help them.


Getting the best treatment for you

It’s important to remember that depression is very individual. The best treatment depends on your circumstances. What’s happening in your life. How you react to it. Even Western medicine recognises this – there are so many different medications out there. Doctors will often try you on two or three different ones before they find one which works, which can take ages. By treating depression with natural therapies, not only do you avoid all those medications upsetting your own personal balance, much of the time you experience relief from depression much more quickly.

If you’re feeling depressed or down, why not consider natural therapies? Some things you can try at home – like changing your diet or using essential oils. If you need more, contact me to book some treatment.

Natural Stress Relief with Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

essential oils pictureNatural stress relief is an increasing part of my practice.

So many people these days are going through long periods of stress. When you have a look at current lifestyles – both people working; dealing with kids; just trying to find a holistic balance in life for yourself and other members of your family… Juggling all the commitments and having to keep up with modern technology and so on, means a lot of people are under almost continuous stress. Eventually it creates health problems, physical, mental, or emotional. Stress is a big issue. And natural stress relief techniques are much kinder on your body than drugs, whether that’s prescription, alcohol or something you buy on the street!

Using Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Natural Stress Relief

Aromatherapy is a core part of my treatment for stress relief. I have a number of favourite essential oils for handling stress, including:

Lavender is always very, very relaxing.

Bergamot is a very balancing oil which takes away anxiety. It’s particularly good for the kind of anxiety which leads to under or overeating when you’re stressed. It’s a great energy balancer.

Chamomile is also an extremely calming and relaxing oil.

Clary sage is interesting. I’m not so keen on the smell, but I love its properties. It’s the most euphoric of the essential oils – by which I mean it makes you feel a high. It’s a natural way to get high instead of those terrible drugs that some of our youth use these days. (Well, they’ve probably been used for a long time, but they’re definitely used now.)

Clary sage is also an anti-spasmodic. When people are under a lot of stress, they can end up with a lot of very tight, tense muscles and clary sage is extremely good to help along with some remedial massage and/ or acupuncture to release same.

Other oils I often use for stress relief include jasmine, marjoram, neroli, and rose. Exactly which oils to use, and in what quantities, depends on the individual.

Designing a Personalised Stress Relief Treatment Plan

I treat everyone who comes to see me individually. So even if two people come to me for stress relief, I’ll use different essential oils. I like to have a bit of a chat with you beforehand and find out exactly what you’re going through. Then I work out the combination of oils that will best balance out whatever it is you’re experiencing at this particular point in time.

Short-term stress vs long term stress

A short-term event that’s causing you a lot of stress needs different treatment from a long-term draining lifestyle or situation. So in the first case, you might need more relaxing oils.

But if you’re going through a long period of stress, you’ll also need re-energizing oils because you’re burnt out and exhausted. And in this case it’s very good for you to have regular massages as a way of dealing with the stress and recuperating.

The ways different people react to stress

It’s not just about the kind of stress people are going through, short-term or long-term. There’s also a difference in the way that different people react to the same stress.

For example, somebody might get really knotted, tense muscles, whereas somebody else might not be able to sleep. So one would be physically tighter, which the other would just be more tired. Some people hold it all inside and try to carry on regardless, while others let it all out and then everyone else around them is affected. Sometimes, the stressed person may actually feeling okay about it all, but there’s a trail of destruction behind them!

So I explore how you’re reacting to the stress as well as what’s causing the stress. That affects the treatment too.

How should a stress relief treatment be?

Obviously stressed people are often very busy and it’s hard to find the time for treatment.

If really the only time you can spare is a half hour, then a half hour is great because at least you’re doing something and you will get some benefits. (Except it doesn’t allow much time for a good massage if you’re the kind of person who gets knotted muscles.) It can also help if you’re on a tight budget with money – and people who have money problems are often stressed. But sometimes investing in some natural stress relief can give you the strength to tackle the issues causing the stress too!

You also need to consider what works for you. Having two half hour sessions a couple of weeks apart works for some people. For others, a full hour session once a month works better. It’s very individual.

What can I do after treatment or between treatments?

You want the benefit of your treatment to last as long as possible, and there are some ways to help with that. One option I offer is to provide aromatherapy oils and creams which you can use at home.

One lady I saw recently for a shoulder problem, which she’s had for two years. During her treatment she mentioned that she’d also been having some sleep problems. She wanted to know if there were any oils or flower essences which I could make up for her. So I’m made up two preparations for her. An aromatherapy cream for her to massage into the areas where she’s been experiencing tension, then also a special oil for her to use in the bath. It’s a home aromatherapy oil to help her relax and get a good night’s sleep.

Now she just has to find time for a bath before bed!

Actually, so should most of us! Sometimes at the end of the day you just fall into bed and you can’t go off to sleep. It’s much nicer to have a ritual to relax and prepare for bed. Allow yourself  an aromatherapy bath – maybe 20 minutes or something of uninterrupted time. Light a few candles. Enjoy a bath with the oils and perhaps some Epsom salts, just so that you can truly just relax and go into having a good night’s sleep.

To find out more about natural stress relief and get a personalised treatment plan, contact me at any time.

What is the Difference Between Aromatherapy and Flower Essences? Answer to Frequently Asked Alternative Healing Therapies Question

Picture of essential oils in use at A Holistic Healing Centre North RydeFlower Essences

Flower essences are not about smell. Nor do they contain any physical part of a flower. They are infusions which capture the energy imprint of each flower. They treat the emotional part of you.

Edward Bach is often seen as the father of flower essences. In the 1930s he developed 38 flower remedies, based on English wildflowers. But many cultures have used flower essences for much longer, including North American Indians and Chinese.

It’s rare to apply flower essences externally. Instead, you take them orally. You can take on their own or add to water. They create a vibrational resonance reaction in the body. Flower essences help people release & transform negative patterns or areas where they may be stuck in their life.

Aromatherapy oils

Aromatherapy oils are for external use only. You can use them as scents, in a bath, or with a massage treatment.

These oils are 70 times stronger than the actual plant, flower, herb, or tree bark they are made from. The oil is strong enough to have a therapeutic effect on the mind, body and emotions.

In general, people are attracted to smells that will have a positive effect on them. For instance, you might have positive memories of love and nurturing associated with the lavender smell of your grandmother’s home. Then the smell of lavender will make you feel loved and nurtured even in adulthood.

Sometimes, smells trigger negative emotions. Alternative Natural Healing expert Janene Stevens recalls one dentist who told her that while at University, he had to dissect rats for one of his classes. The professor burned eucalyptus in the room while the rat dissection was going on. Years later, whenever that dentist smelled eucalyptus, it triggered the unpleasant feeling of dissecting rats.

You can find out more at the following pages:

If you have a health condition which you would like to treat naturally using the power of flowers or oils, why not contact Janene? She treats a wide variety of conditions using many different therapies. She will be able to give you advice and develop a treatment plan just for you.

What is Aromatherapy and Why Does It Work?

Products used for Aromatherapy at holistic healing centerAromatherapy is the use of essential oils from flowers, trees, and herbs. One drop of essential oil is 70 times more powerful than the original plant because it’s the concentrated oil of the plant. It’s the opposite of homeopathy, which works on the theory of like cures like.

It is believed that the Egyptians were using aromatics in 3000 BC. It was reintroduced in modern times when Dr. Rene Gattefosse became interested in oils because of his family’s perfume company. An explosion in the factory caused him to burn his hand, which he plunged into a vat of lavender oil which he was intuitively guided to do (I believe). The Lavender Oil helped with the pain & his hand healed without infection or scarring. Dr. Gattefosse became fascinated with the healing properties of the Essential Oils.

Aromatherapy works on the theory that certain chemicals in the oil have certain benefits to certain conditions. The synergy of a number of essential oils is more powerful than just one essential oil on its own.The Aromatherapy Essential Oils have powerful healing effect on the mind, body, and emotions.

Click These Links for More Answers About These Alternative Natural Healing Therapies: