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The essences or “oils” as they are commonly called, are present within the root, bark, leaf or flower of an aromatic plant. Contained in the form of tiny odoriferous droplets, these droplets change their chemical composition constantly within the plant according to the time of day or the season and will therefore readily evaporate. An essential oil is a very volatile substance. The amount of essential oil within a plant varies between 0.01% to over 10%.
There are several hundred aromatic plants, but only some are used for therapeutic purposes. They can be used in foods, medicines or beauty aids, although frequently these are based on synthetic equivalents. For the purposes of aromatherapy in the UK, essential oils are not used internally.

Don’t feel oily.
Don’t have any lubricating properties.
Don’t mix with water.
Do mix with alcohol.
Do mix with vegetable and mineral oils.
Penetrate the skin.
Stimulate white cell production.
Either stimulating or sedative.
Most are cell renewing.

For simplicity’s sake essences may be classified into three types:

The most volatile.
Often obtained from citrus fruits, eg. bergamot, lemon, orange, lime, mandarin.
Evaporate most quickly (1-14)*
Sharp smell
Quickly absorbed
Short lasting

Usually obtained from flowers and herbs, eg. geranium, lavender, marjoram.
Evaporate moderately (15-80)*
Affect body organs
Produced from flowers and herbs
Last 2-3 hours before evaporating

Known as fixatives as they “hold back”
Fast evaporation from the top notes.
Have the lowest volatility.
Usually obtained from woods and resins, eg. sandalwood, myrrh, rosewood, frankincense.
Evaporate very slowly (81-100)*
Absorbs slowly
Heavy woody aroma
Long lasting


Aromatherapy massage has been found to be the most effective way of using the essential oils. For the purposes of massage the oils are blended in a base oil.

Massage of the hands and feet is an excellent way to keep in good health. All the reflex or zone points for the body are stimulated by this method. This helps balance the body’s energy flow.

Bathing is the next most effective way of using the oils. There are two methods:
Diffusing up to 5 drops of essential oils
Diffusing up to 5mls of a blend.
This method is good for sensitive or dry skin, and preserving a suntan.

a) Run a bath of warm water, ( not hot or the oils will evaporate
too quickly).
b) Add up to 5 drops of essential oil or 5mls of a blend.
c) Agitate the water.
d) Relax for 10 - 15 minutes minimum.
e) Avoid splashing in the eyes.

It is safe to use the bathing method everyday. The warm water assists the absorption of the oils. One of the first benefits of an aromatherapy treatment is improved quality of sleep.
As changes in the clients condition occurs vary the oils according to new indications.
If the condition doesn’t begin to change after a reasonable amount of time, the blend should be changed and medical attention sought, if necessary.

Foot and hand baths
Place 8-10 drops of essential oil in a bowl of warm water and bathe the hands or feet for 10-15 minutes.
Make up a blend with the same essence(s) and after drying the area massage the oil in to complete the treatment.
Indicated: Rheumatism, arthritis, dermatitis, dry skin.

Inhalation is very useful for relieving congestion, easing catarrh and soothing the respiratory tract. The age old method of covering the head with a towel, and inhaling the vapour from Eucalyptus and Camphor, still holds good today.

a) Boil 2 pints of water and pour into a bowl.
b) Add 10 drops in total of essential oil(s).
c) Agitate the water.
d) Put a towel over the head.Inhale the vapours for a few minutes at a time, for up to 10 minutes or as long as is comfortable.

Repeat several times a day if required.
A facial steamer may be used instead of a bowl, with 3 - 5 drops of essential oils.

Follow first aid instructions for the use of compresses. If a compress pad is not available disperse 1 - 2 drops of essential oil into the water. Use a large, clean, white handkerchief folded in eight. The material should be gently laid on the surface of the water to attract a film of essential oil. The compress can then be placed on the affected area in the normal way. This is particularly good for young children and babies when teething.

Scalp Treatments
A range of scalp conditions, including dandruff, respond well to the use of an essential oil blend.
This method can also be used to assist in clearing lice from the scalp, and has the advantage of being pleasant to use.
a) Ensure that the eyes are well protected.
b) Prepare the chosen blend (proportionally less for children)
and massage into the scalp.
c) Leave the mixture on the head for half an hour up to two
A plastic cap or cover will help absorption. Always supervise
children as they may pull a loose fitting cap down over their
face. Bathtime is a good time for a scalp treatment as the
heat will help absorption of the essences.
d) To remove the blend: massage in NEAT SHAMPOO initially, then
add water and shampoo in the normal way.

Room Fragrancers
There are several ways of using essential oils to produce a wonderful fragrant atmosphere in a room.

Essential Oil Burners
Essential oil Burners are obtainable from many health food shops and from some suppliers of the oils.
A small reservoir at the top of the burner is filled with water. This is heated by the flame from a nightlight placed inside the burner. Up to 5 drops of neat essential oil may be sprinkled on the water. This gradually evaporates, filling the room with the fragrant aroma.

Lavender produces a relaxing atmosphere which can help with insomnia.
Rosewood is soothing for tired grumpy children who don’t want to go to bed.

During illness the use of a room fragrancer can help to protect the health of the rest of the family. The “aroma” inhibits infection by airborne bacteria such as cold and flu viruses. This has been put to good test in several hospitals and clinics. This method can also ease breathing in many chest conditions, and help asthmatics reduce their need for inhalants.

Light Fittings
Put a few drops of neat essential oil on a cold light bulb or use a special attachment for the bulb. The fragrance will gradually permeate the room as the warmth of the bulb vaporises the essential oil.

A saucer of water with a few drops of neat essential oil, placed on top of a radiator, will act as a vaporiser and humidifier at the same time.

Handkerchief or Tissue
Put one or two drops of neat essential oil onto a handkerchief or tissue, and inhale when required. This method is useful for sinus congestion, travelling and when other methods are not convenient.

Make up a blend as directed and use as you would a perfume. Frankincense and/or Sandalwood make excellent fixatives for your blend.

For more information about our aromatherapy oils and products please ring 0161 881 3863 or 0845 1661 646 (local call rate)

Massage Therapy Treatments at Manchester Therapy Centre UK. Qualified Massage Therapists.
More about essential oils
Carrier oils

Allergic Reactions
People with allergies, including allergies to perfume may be helped by Professional Aromatherapy. The aromatherapist should recommend the essential oils for home use to complement the treatment.

Occasionally a person’s skin may be sensitive to a particular oil (usually the more stimulating ones) causing irritation. It will usually disappear within the hour. Plain sweet almond oil, smoothed on the affected part, will assist the irritation to subside. Women may find skin sensitivity increases just before their period, or at ovulation. This is due to hormonal changes in the body. If sensitivity occurs refrain from using the particular oil for 10 days. Then, dilute to one quarter of the original amountmade up in a blend and test on a small area of the skin. If no reaction occurs continue to use the oil in the diluted amount.
Some of the essential oils are phototoxic e.g. Bergamot and should not be used if the person will be in the sun within a few hours of treatment.

Ylang Ylang should not be used on anyone prone to headaches.

Certain oils are best administered by a qualified Aromatherapist:- eg. Cinnamon, Clove, Hyssop and Sage.
Contra-indications for High Blood Pressure: Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.
Contra-indications for Epilepsy: Sage, Fennel, Hyssop.


Babies, Infants and Children
Babies and infants should only be treated with the oils recommended in the paragraph immediately below. They, and to a lesser extent children, require much smaller amounts of the oils than adults to obtain effective results.

Babies 0 - 12 months One drop of Lavender or Roman Chamomile
may be used as compress
Dilute one drop in 15mls of Sweet Almond oil for massage.
Bathing Infants 1 - 6 years, One - three drops of Tea Tree, Lavender or Roman Chamomile used as above.
Children 7 -12 years, Use as adults but half the number of drops of essential oils
Children 12+ years Use as directed for adults.
Room Fragrancers are very effective for all ages.


Stimulating essential oils and those which have an emmenagogic effect, i.e. help bring on periods, should not be used during pregnancy.

Aniseed, Basil, Camphor, Cedarwood, Clove, Cinnamon, Hyssop, Juniper, Marjoram, Myrrh, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme, should not be used during the nine months of pregnancy.

Fennel and Peppermint should be avoided during the first 4 months of pregnancy, because of their stimulating effect, but are however acceptable after this period.

The dilution recommended is 2.5%, using almond oil (or other organic virgin cold pressed vegetable oil) as a base.

There are 20 drops to every 1 ml
ie. 20 drops = 1 ml

This equates to one drop of essential oil to every 2 mls of vegetable oil.
For a dry skin, 5 -10% of wheatgerm oil (providing the client is not allergic to wheat) or avocado oil may be included.
The blend would normally contain 3 essences, although typically might range from 1 - 4 essences, depending on analysis of the client’s needs.
This Aromatherapy blend can be used for both facial and body massage.
Depending on the size of the person and amount of body hair,
15-25 mls would be sufficient for a full body treatment.
Brown glass bottles can be obtained from chemists or bottle suppliers. The number of mls is shown on the bottom of the bottle.

The synergistic effect of more than one oil is more powerful than the oils individually used and forms a unique blend for the client.
A blend of 2, 3 or 4 oils gives a choice of 2,500 blends.
Fragrances which have similar top notes, eg Grapefruit and Bergamot, are not good used alone, as neither is long-lasting, unlike Sandalwood and Jasmine which have heavier, longer lasting aromas.
Always remember that essential oils are very concentrated, and should always be used with care. They are usually diluted in vegetable oil, or diffused in water eg for a bath or infusion.

In order to benefit from the healing properties of the oils, it is vital to purchase them from a reputable supplier, who takes care to ensure high standards. The word “natural” on a bottle’s label does not always guarantee purity.
Buy the oils in small quantities replacing them as required.
A pure oil is one that has not been adulterated with chemicals or synthetic compounds. An oil comes from a named botanical plant and is from a definite geographical location.
A pure essential oil should be distinguished from an ‘aromatherapy oil’. The latter description is often used to describe an essential oil added to a carrier oil. In some cases there may be only 4% of essential oil in an ‘aromatherapy oil’. In these cases the oil is already blended for massage use.

Increasing numbers of oils are being tested for companies by The Natural Oils Research Association. This is actively working to promote pure oils with a distinctive definition giving the name of the oil, its scientific name, its origin, its batch number and the ‘best before’ date. The oil is then known as an ‘AROMARK OIL. Suppliers are provided with a ‘Certificate of Purity’ and the whole process is controlled by an independent Analytical Committee based at Universities or Research Establishments. Each batch is tested by specialists in essential oils and the method of testing is known as Gas Liquid Chromatography. It reveals a ‘chemical fingerprint of the oil - each oil being unique.

There are over 3,000 essential oils and about 300 are available to therapists. Around 100 of these oils are commercially available from the Fragrance, Flavour and Pharmaceutical Industries. Some oils such as Lavender, Geranium, or Ylang Ylang are very popular whilst others are less well known. Many suppliers help both the public and therapists by indicating the origin of the oil. This is important because Geranium Oil from China, Egypt or Reunion has its own distinctive personality.

In general the price tends to reflect the yield of oil in the plant. Roses produce very little oil, whereas Eucalyptus gives a high yield and is relatively inexpensive. Although price can suggest a more expensive oil it does not always indicate either quality or genuineness. You have to establish a personal formula to achieve the best quality and price.

More about essential oils
Carrier oils

click here or on the links below for therapy treatments at Manchester Therapy Centre
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The Manchester Therapy Centre is centrally located with free car parking and easy access by bus or train.

We are situated opposite the BUPA hospital in South Manchester near Chorlton. 

manchester school of massage location map
for a map of the area click here

This is the perfect present for birthdays and Christmas. Treat someone you know to a massage treatment. Other treatments available include indian head massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, shiatsu and more. We also have an introduction to massage course voucher for a fun weekend learning massage.

gift vouchers for massage, Indian head massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and other holistic therapies

for more details click here

To make it easier to find your way around we have provided an index and site map.


We sell a full range of healthcare and personal care products including aromatherapy oils, skincare, hair nutrition, dental care and pet care products through our sister company Newcare.

aromatherapy oils, healthcare products and personal care products
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77 Russell Road, Manchester, M16 8AR Tel: 0161 862 9752