I want to introduce Mary-Anne O'Brien, she is a Certified Aromatherapy Health Professional from Canada. She uses essential oils to create customized blends for family, friends, and clients for a variety of aliments. She founded Balance + Harmony Aromatherapy. Here she highlights her favorite oils to use in her custom blends. Mary-Ann also shares her personal journey with essential oils and aromatherapy.
Using essential oils for wellness is all about supporting you naturally to helping you feel better overall and live a healthy, pain free life.
Aromatherapy uses 100% pure essential oils to provide natural relief. They are plant based and usually steam distilled.Essential oils can be used in several different ways:
- Diffuse by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a diffuser filled with water
- Apply a few drops topically to the skin
- Receive a therapeutic massage using a layering of essential oils
- Inhale the aroma directly
- Add to a salve or cream
Health issues involving respiratory, insomnia, skin ailments or outbreaks, mood swings, arthritic and joint pain, muscle soreness, lack of energy and fatigue will benefit from aromatherapy treatment.
Essential Oils for Wellness
Here are my six favorite essential oils, plus treatment and precautions for each:
1. Eucalyptus Radiata (Eucalyptus radiata)
- Used for diffusing into a room when someone may be suffering from cold, cough or any upper respiratory illness. It’s antiviral properties also appear to reduce the severity of cold/flu symptoms.
- The cautionary notes for my clients are to avoid if diabetic as it can raise the blood sugar level. I am also cautious when a client’s history and profile show an asthmatic condition for there may be a negative reaction if this oil is used.
2. Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- I diffuse this myself to calm my mind and find that special inner peace before meeting with clients or facing a challenging day. As it has antiseptic and carminative properties, I’ve also used it to treat laryngitis and congestion.
- Precaution: Do not use if pregnant.
3. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- This essential oil is my ‘go to’ for any type of ingestion of stomach ache. I also use it in blends for migraines and skin conditions because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Precaution: Do not use if pregnant.
4. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Used for minor burns, making bath salts and adding it to a carrier oil for a nighttime blend to help relax the breathing and help the client enjoy a peaceful sleep.
- Precautions: As with any essential oil, do not overuse as an allergic reaction may occur over time. Do not use this oil when driving or operating machinery.
5. Lemon (Citrus limonum)
- I love the crisp clean smell from this essential oil. It is a favorite addition to laundry and diffusing in the kitchen.
- Of special cautionary note, lemon essential oil is phototoxic, so do not apply to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight.
6. Sandalwood (Santalum album)
- This essential oil is pricey due to over harvesting but used sparingly, it goes a long way. I use it for treating my clients that have multiple skin issues such as eczema and dry, chapped or aging skin. It is an amazing oil that has a deep woodsy fragrance that when diffused can help relieve dry coughs and mucus.
- Precautions: This essential oil is safe to use with few precautions. Reminder to always do a skin test and do not use if pregnant or for children under the age of six.
The above six essential oils are only a few of my favorites. I also use Basil, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Clove, Copaiba, Geranium, Marjoram, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang in many treatments and blends for clients.
I personally do not use any essential oils for clients that may be pregnant or breast feeding.
Education is the number one key to using essential oils properly. Secondly, the quality of the oils is very important in avoiding adverse reactions.
An indicator that the essential oil may not be 100% pure is the price. If the price is too good, be wary of what the actual components and the country of origin are as they may not be 100% essential oil but blended with other components. Another way is to smell the oil, you will know right away with a little experience.
The Story of Balance + Harmony Aromatherapy
My name is Mary-Anne O'Brien. Twenty years ago, my husband passed quite suddenly from a heart attack following a triple bi-pass at the age of forty-seven. We were high school sweethearts and were married for 26 years. My two children and my family stood by my side but unless you have been through it yourself, the grief and heartbreak of loss can be overwhelming. My faith and the love of my family and friends helped support me.
I performed all my tasks that first year in a complete and enveloping fog. I did not admit it at the time but looking back, I wonder how I went through the motions of living but not feeling anything. I convinced myself that I was strong enough to go on but there were always questions – why him and why so young. This started me on my journey to learn about other health modalities.
I took classes in Therapeutic Touch and discovered the energy that circles our bodies and this healing, done properly, is amazing. I loved the Reflexology classes and was amazed by the fact that health issues, such as liver problems, can be felt by the practitioner in our feet. Through massage and proper application of pressure, body issues can be smoothed out. Then I found Aromatherapy using Essential Oils.
Fast forward fifteen years. My two children are married to wonderful partners and I have five amazing, gifted grandchildren whom I love and adore.
I received my Aromatherapy Certification in 2015 following three years of hard study, tough exams and over thirty practicum cases. I am as proud of that certification, as I am of my Master of Business Administration (MBA) and perhaps more. I am helping clients every day. As a qualified and Certified Aromatherapy Health Practitioner (CAHP), I took a leap of faith and founded ‘Balance + Harmony Aromatherapy’.
Balance + Harmony’s client’s range in age (6 to 85) and their health concerns are numerous and vary from anxiety, grief, menstrual pain, arthritic pain, seasonal affective disorder, hemorrhoids, multiple skin disorders such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, colds, bronchitis, to name a few.
The initial consultation includes a Patient Information form which the client completes with a description of all past surgeries, health issues and medications. Therapeutic massages using Essential Oils may be one of the treatments or a blend may be prepared for the client to apply topically. Diffusers used in the home will also benefit the members of the family to ward off infections and viruses.
This is not a career that will make me a millionaire, but the giving of my heart felt compassion to help relieve discomfort and pain, to teach and share my knowledge of essential oils and see wondrous results, tells me I am on the right path.
Blessings to everyone and may your journey be as satisfying and fulfilling as mine has been and will continue to be for years to come.