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I teach Holistic Approaches to Health: Aromatherapy at Centennial College, not only to students who will continue on to complete the Holistic Practitioners Program, but also to students who have chosen it as a General Education Elective.

September 22, 2009  By Maggie Mann RMT Aromatherapist

I teach Holistic Approaches to Health: Aromatherapy at Centennial College, not only to students who will continue on to complete the Holistic Practitioners Program, but also to students who have chosen it as a General Education Elective.

These students come from a wide range of programs within the college.  Massage therapy students, para-medic students, social service worker students, correctional worker students, nursing students, and many more.

Students are surveyed at the beginning of the semester and the following questions are posed: Who has a full or part-time job? Who has more than one full- or part-time job? Who is the primary caregiver for someone at home? By the time all questions have been asked, virtually every hand in the classroom has been raised at least once. Hats off to them, because it spells one word by the middle of the semester: STRESS.

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About the middle of the semester the students are reporting on the home assignments that have been assigned. Really hard assignments, such as take an aromatherapy bath using Lavender essential oil, take
an aromatherapy shower using Eucalyptus essential oil, and do aromatherapy environmental fragrancing using Bergamot essential oil. They report on how they were feeling before the exercise, during, and after, both positive and negative. 


Not surprisingly, given their school, home and work commitments, they often report feeling overwhelmed, tired, depressed, irritated.

However, most of the reports from after the exercise are positive. “I was able to focus on my homework, I felt motivated to study, I got a great nights sleep, the first in ages” or “the Eucalyptus really cleared my sinuses and I was able to breathe.”

Many students report that they will continue to use these tools and share them with their friends.

Listed below is a small selection of essential oils, and how they can be utilized as tools to help you through the school year and beyond.

Use 8-10 drops of a single essential oil or synergy.

  • Put the drops into the water as it is running and make sure that it is well agitated. (The oils can burn the skin) or
  • Pre-mix the essential oil with an unscented foaming bath gel or dispersible bath oil.

Have the bathroom door closed to contain the vapours.

Stay in the bath for 10-15 minutes. Rest afterwards for twice as long as you were in the bath. Epsom salts can also be used.

Important: For children, use only 2-4 drops, for babies use one drop. Always pre-mix with foaming bath gel or dispersible oil.   

First running the shower a little hotter than normal to heat up the bathtub. After a minute or two, reduce the heat, cover the drain and put 7 or 8 drops of essential oil or synergy into the shower stream as it descends. The heat will cause evaporation of the essential oil and create an aromatic. Enter the shower and inhale deeply for a minute or two, and then remove the plug and allow the water to drain. Alternately, do the above at the end of the shower.

Steam Inhalation
Pour hot, almost boiling water in a large bowl.

Add 2-3 drops of a single essential oil or synergy.

Partially cover the bowl with a folded hand towel to control the amount of steam being released. Lean over the bowl slightly and use a thick towel or blanket to cover your head and bowl.  Breathe slowly for as long as is comfortable, up to five minutes.

Wipe your face with a cool cloth.

Rest for twice as long as you were inhaling. (Very important)

Environmental Fragrancing
Scentball/Car Diffuser. This quick-and-easy method entails placing drops of essential oil on a pad which is then placed in the specialized unit and gently heated, either in a wall socket or lighter socket of a car or boat.

Simmer pots. Smaller areas, can use oils that are difficult to use in electronic nebulisers, such as sandalwood. Heats the essential oil and caused evaporation. Office or home use.
Lightbulb rings. Scents one room. Lightbulb heats the essential oil and causes evaporation. Living room or bedroom use.

Sprays. Available pre-packaged, but can easily be made.
Use 1 per cent dilution for skin applications or 3 per cent dilution for environmental fragrancing. Use spring water as the carrier.  As essential oils do not dissolve in water, shake the spray bottle before use. Alternately, try a hydrosol.

• Uses: This method is effective for sick rooms. When colds and flus are going around, using eucalyptus in the spray will reduce airborne bacteria, thus cutting down on transmission.

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