Yoga in Bury St Edmunds

aromatherapy oils & their benefits for stress relief


Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils, extracted from the flowers, fruits, leaves, stems and roots of flowers, shrubs and trees. The oils are usually obtained by steam distillation.

What’s it used for?

Research has shown aromatherapy to be effective for stress-related conditions, insomnia and emotional problems.

How to use oils

They should be used sparingly and never applied undiluted to the skin (except in the case of lavender on burns and tea tree on stings or small cuts) or used near the eyes. For the best results, buy the best quality, pure, organic oils. The oils should be stored in a cool, dry place, out of the reach of children.

How to use individual Essential Oils

Inhalation – place 1 to 5 drops on a handkerchief, in a vaporiser or diffuser, or on a light-bulb ring & inhale aroma.

Baths – add 4-6 drops of essential oil to 1 tsp. (5ml) of carrier oil (sweet almond or wheatgerm), stir in bathwater.

Massage – add 1 – 5 drops of essential oil to 1 teaspoon (5ml) of carrier oil & massage into the affected area. Carrier oils include sweet almond, wheatgerm, olive oil, apricot kernel, avocado or other plant or vegetable oils. Warming the oil increases absorption.

Compresses – add 3-5 drops of essential oil to 300ml of hot/warm water. Soak a clean flannel or soft cloth in the water, wring out and apply to affected part of the body (cold for bruises, sprains, headaches; warm for abscesses, boils, period pains, cystitis). Repeat two to three times a day until the condition improves.

Steam treatments – add 1-2 drops of essential oil to a medium-sized bowl of freshly boiled water. Cover head with cloth, lean over the water and inhale the steam, taking care to keep the bowl steady and to not get too close to the water to prevent scalding.

Gargles and mouthwashes – add one to three drops to a tumbler of water and stir vigorously before gargling or rinsing round the mouth. Spit out – don’t swallow.

Essential oils shouldn’t be taken internally. Dosages should be halved for children; professional advice should be sought for babies. Some oils shouldn’t be used if you’re epileptic, asthmatic, hypertensive or pregnant.


Geranium Pelargonium graveolens

Properties: a mild sedative, so can be useful in treating emotional and stress-related conditions such as anxiety, mood swings and general apathy. Also anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic and is commonly used as a skincare oil.

Usage What it’s good for

Diluted and applied to skin Congested pores, oily complexions, acne, dermatitis, eczema, burns, nappy rash, blisters and wound healing. It can also be used to discourage mosquitoes, head lice and the spread of ringworm.

In massage, added to bathwater and in a vaporiser/burner

Easing PMS (especially fluid retention and swollen breasts) and menopausal symptoms (especially hot flushes), postnatal depression, cellulite, poor circulation, cystitis, arthritis, sore throats, bruises, broken capillaries and hemorrhoids.

Caution: may irritate very sensitive skin. Shouldn’t be used in the first three months of pregnancy and not at all if there’s a history of miscarriage.

Jasmine Jasminum officinale

Properties: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic, antispasmodic, tonic and

expectorant. Also a powerful natural antidepressant and can produce feelings of

optimism and euphoria.

Usage What it’s good for

In a vaporiser or

added to


Easing catarrh, coughs and sore throats and relieving menstrual

problems, uterine disorders, muscular spasms and sprains. Also

lifts apathy, restores confidence, reduces stress and is an


Diluted and

applied to skin

Dry, irritated, sensitive or inflamed skin.

Caution: may cause skin irritation and gives some people a headache. Should also be

avoided during pregnancy.NB: because pure jasmine oil (jasmine absolute) is very

expensive, many over-the-counter jasmine oils are adulterated and diluted with

carrier oils. For the pure oil, it’s best to order direct from an essential oil supplier.

Lavender Lavandula officinalis

Properties: relaxant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antidepressant, decongestant,

detoxifying, diuretic and restorative. One of the most popular oils with a multitude of


Usage What it’s good for

Added to bathwater Soothing tension and headaches, relieving stress

and lifting depression.

In a vaporiser/burner Nervous system disorders, such as anxiety and

insomnia and also shock, vertigo, hypertension and


One to two drops of the neat, or

diluted, oil rubbed into the skin

or applied as a compress

Acne, boils, sores, spots, psoriasis, bruises, burns

(including sunburn), dermatitis, eczema, athlete’s

foot, ringworm, scabies, insect bites and stings. It

carole baker ~ health & wellness adviser ~ yoga teacher


e: w:

please ensure you seek professional advice from a fully qualified complementary therapist &

advise your GP beforehand if you are taking pharmaceutical drugs

can also be used as insect repellent.

Massage (diluted in a carrier oil) Easing digestive symptoms such as colic, flatulence,

abdominal cramps and indigestion, menstrual pain,

cystitis, aches and pains, and stimulating


A few drops added to shampoo Treating dandruff and warding off head lice.

Steam inhalation Easing coughs, colds and congestion.

Caution: may cause skin irritation through repeated use, especially if used undiluted

or in highly concentrated form. Avoid in early pregnancy if there’s a history of

miscarriage. Those who suffer with hay fever or asthma may be allergic.

Peppermint Mentha piperita

Properties: astringent, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antiseptic and an expectorant.

Usage What it’s good for

Added to a vaporiser/burner

or diluted and rubbed into


Bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma, spasmodic

coughs and sore throats. Eases mental fatigue,

nervous stress and palpitations. Also an insect


Massage or added to


Nausea, diarrhea, neuralgia, indigestion, colic, stomach

cramp, dyspepsia, flatulence and travel sickness.

Applied to skin (diluted) or as

a compress

Oily skin, acne and dermatitis, ringworm, scabies,

toothache, headache and muscle fatigue.

As a mouthwash (diluted) Bad breath.

Caution: not to be used during first three months of pregnancy. Can irritate skin, so

dilute well; don’t swallow when using as a mouthwash. Don’t use while taking

homeopathic remedies.

carole baker ~ health & wellness adviser ~ yoga teacher


e: w:

please ensure you seek professional advice from a fully qualified complementary therapist &

advise your GP beforehand if you are taking pharmaceutical drugs

Rosemary Rosemarinus officinalis

Properties: antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, diuretic, astringent and a relaxant.

Has a stimulating effect on the circulation.

Usage What it’s good for

Steam inhalation or

few drops on a


Colds, catarrh and nasal congestion.

Diluted and applied

to skin

Skin conditions, such as dermatitis and eczema.

Massage (diluted

with a carrier oil)

Into the temples to ease headaches, into the chest to clear

phlegm and into the joints and muscles for sprains, strains

and pain, into the abdomen to ease indigestion, flatulence,

irritable bowel, constipation and menstrual cramps.

Added to bathwater Relieving exhaustion and stress.

In a burner Insect repellent.

Few drops added to


Cleansing hair and preventing head lice.

Few drops diluted

and rubbed into


Encouraging hair growth and alleviating dandruff and greasy


Caution: shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or by those with epilepsy, high blood

pressure or insomnia. May irritate sensitive skin

carole baker ~ health & wellness adviser ~ yoga teacher


e: w:

please ensure you seek professional advice from a fully qualified complementary therapist &

advise your GP beforehand if you are taking pharmaceutical drugs

Sandalwood Santalum album

Properties: antiseptic, antibacterial, expectorant, antidepressant, sedative, tonic and

an aphrodisiac.

Usage What it’s good for

Steam inhalation Dry, persistent coughs, catarrh, bronchitis and sore throats.

In a vaporiser/burner Easing nervous tension, stress, depression and insomnia.

Added to bathwater

or basin water

Alleviating itching, inflamed and sensitive skin, dry, cracked

and chapped skin, acne, greasy skin, psoriasis, eczema and

shaving rash and can help ease urinary infections such as

cystitis and urethritis.

Caution: may occasionally cause irritation for those with sensitive skin.

Ylang-ylang Cananga odorata

Properties: sedative (to the nervous system) and stimulant (to the circulatory

system), antidepressant and an aphrodisiac.

Usage What it’s good for

Added to bathwater, or in a


Relieving stress-related disorders, such as insomnia,

depression, anxiety and nervous tension, high blood

pressure and palpitations.

Massage Easing skin complaints such as acne, irritated, dry or oily

skin, insect bites and stings.

Scalp tonic Promoting hair growth and regulating a dry or greasy


Caution: can cause nausea or headache if not diluted enough; is best used in


Please consult a medical practitioner if you are have a long suffering

condition or are taking medication, before you use essential oils.