Sunday, March 13, 2011
Using Flower Essences with Essential Oils: Double the Flower Power!
By Kelly Holland Azzaro, RA, CCAP, CBFP, LMT
I am often asked by clients and students what the difference is between flower essences and essential oils (which some also call 'essences'). The difference between the two 'essences' is also what makes them a perfect match, especially when creating a blend for emotional balance and support.
The basic difference is that essential oils are derived from the actual plant material, i.e., flowers, leaves, seeds, roots and bark by distillation or with citrus oils by cold expression method. These methods are used to create the essential oil found in colored bottles used in different aromatherapy applications. Flower Essences, on the other hand, are prepared by infusing the energy of the actual plant material into pure spring water preserved with brandy or an organic vegetable glycerin via the action of sun or moon light. The flower essences can be taken internally, either under the tongue or in water. They can also be applied topically or mixed with a lotion, as in the Bach 'Rescue' cream. Another difference between flower essences and essential oils is that flower essences do not posses the actual scent of the plant.
I believe that in capturing the essential oil from a plant's material, you are also capturing its 'life essence'. To me this is why the word 'essence' is often used when explaining essential oils -- the connection to their vital essence in addition to their lovely aroma.
Understanding homeopathy and how homeopathic remedies are prepared creates the ability to see how the flower essences can be very effective when balancing and shifting negative emotional blockages to the positive. Flower essences can be combined with essential oils in an actual aromatherapy blend for topical application, mist sprays and with compresses.
In my work, both people and their animal friends often times have an issue we are creating an aromatherapy blend for that is also shouting out-loud for flower essences. A powerful example of when the two kinds of 'essences' can be combined is when helping to support the body/mind/spirit when going through fear issues such as anxiety.
If the client is receptive to trying the flower essences we move forward with doing a flower essence consultation. This helps to narrow down the choices in essences and allows the client to be a part of the flower essence selection which empowers them to be active in the healing process.
A flower essence consultation is very similar to an aromatherapy consultation, yet also uniquely different. Honing in on the underlying cause of the anxiety reveals the appropriate flower essence(s) and oil(s). For example, if the anxiety is caused by a known fear, the key flower essence is 'Mimulus', but if caused by an unknown fear, 'Aspen' is the flower essence to use.
Next choose the essential oils that are useful for stress-based anxiety and work with the client in narrowing down the choices. Fill a bottle with the appropriate amount of essential oil drops followed by drops of the flower essences and topped off with a base carrier oil or water/hydrosol for a mist spray.
Here is a blend* that I have found useful for mild anxiety. Combine the following in a 2 ounce aroma-bottle with jojoba, or mix with 4 ounces of hydrosol/water mixture:
Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) 10 drops
Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara) 10 drops
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 6 drops
Melissa (Melissa officinalis) 8-10 drops
4-7 drops of Mimulus or the Bach Flower Remedy called Rescue Remedyâ.
Shake well before each use. This blend is for topical use only and if irritation occurs discontinue use. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
(*Note: even one drop of Melissa on a tissue for inhalation is effective for anxiety relief.)
Note that when working with issues such as anxiety you will want to take into account if hormones are playing a part in the anxious sensations and overwhelming feelings. If so, considering using essential oils that support hormonal balance along with other flower essences that balance a feeling of being overwhelmed. When working with flower essences and essential oils for use with animals, especially dogs and horses, you will want to know if the anxiety is manifesting during a particular activity or due to a past trauma or if it is caused by an imbalance in their diet. This will help guide you and the client in making 'effective essence' choices. Also note that essential oils should not be used with birds, cats, fish or reptiles.
Kelly Holland Azzaro RA, CCAP, CBFP, LMT is a Registered Aromatherapist, Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner, Certified Bach Flower Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner. Kelly is also President of NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy). She has over 20 years training and professional experience in Canine/Equine Acupressure-Massage, Intuitive Animal Communication, Crystal-Gemstone Therapy, Reiki, Aromatherapy and Flower Essence Therapy for people and their animal friends. Kelly and her husband Marco a Licensed Acupuncturist and Qigong Practitioner- Instructor have a Holistic Healing Center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Kelly offers online courses in Animal Aromatherapy and Bach Flowers for Pets. Kelly is approved by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider. Provider Number 451233-10
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