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Properties and Uses of Carrier Oils

by Doreen Wallace(more info)

listed in aromatherapy, originally published in issue 104 - October 2004

Active Carriers

Although usually regarded as little more than dilutants for the aromatic oils that are put into them, carrier oils have much more important roles than that, especially when full of valuable nutrients. This aspect tends to be sadly overlooked when tending to use nothing but the grapeseed, because of fear that the heavier oils might lead to weight gain, even if only used once a day. There can also be the belief that its lack of substance gives it a more 'spiritual' quality than any of the others, and this can also influence its choice.

What isn't always understood is that the carriers embody the essential oils in much the same way as our bodies do our spirits and it's they that give them the power to act. This means we can have a plethora of operational choices that range virtually from a two-stroke motor bike to something like a JCB.

From that aspect, it's easy to appreciate that, though the lighter oils have their advantages when treating spotty skin, or wanting a light carrier for middle or high note oils to counteract depression etc, they just don't have enough power in them to trigger much action in the striped muscles that have to bear weight or are designed for active service.

Blends for Problem Skins

When the skin is so dry that it tends to flake, the best carrier seems to be a fifty-fifty blend of sweet almond and corn oil with 10 per cent of organic wheatgerm oil to provide more of the revitalizing and restorative vitamin E.

If some of the skin is raw, a better blend would be 25 per cent of sesame, jojoba, corn and organic wheat germ oils, as these complement each other beautifully and give badly damaged skin all the nutrients it needs for self-repair.

Although almond is a more or less standard base for face and baby creams, it has quite a lot of acid in it, so the sweet variety is better for babies as, like all the nut oils, it has quite a lot of nutrients in it and the extra carbohydrate supplies more energy for the healing of rough, or otherwise damaged, skin.

If there is severe inflammation, however, as in cystitis, or even nappy rash, the alkaline sweet almond is usually helpful, blended equally with the silky grapeseed and 10 per cent of liquid paraffin to put a protective film over the damaged skin.

As even small babies can have the occasional emotional upset, this aspect should be explored if there doesn't seem to be much sign of improvement after a couple of weeks continuous treatment. Helpful oils in these cases can be cold-pressed sunflower blended with equal parts of corn oil, as these complement each other beautifully and give small babies a feeling of calmness and security.

In all these cases, the mother's emotional state should be considered too for, until they are about six months or so, babies are still very much part of their mothers and even share their mental and emotional frequencies. This is why they are so quick to sense when they are upset or even just out of sorts.

In which cases both would benefit if the mothers had a back massage with some appropriate essential oils in a base of cold-pressed sunflower and corn oil to calm them down as well. If going through a bad patch, it would help to apply it over their neck and shoulders every hour or so until they felt a lot more balanced and better able to cope with whatever is bothering them.

Psychological Problems

Old people who are inclined to be bad tempered can often be soothed by massaging their necks and shoulders with a blend of soothing soya and cold-pressed sunflower to which up to 15 per cent of organic wheatgerm oil is added to give more of the revitalizing vitamin E. If they tend to be restless there can be a deep fear of dying. In these cases, 20 per cent of corn oil can be added to give a feeling of inner peace that nothing else can.

When so upset that they are hard to live with, the best blend is usually equal parts of virgin olive, corn oil and cold-pressed sunflower, to which up to 15 per cent of the rather unusual walnut oil is added. This seems to give a deep stability and reassurance to anyone who has reached the point of distraction and doesn't seem able to cope with, or even come to terms with, whatever is upsetting them.

Apart from this periodic emergency treatment, these people can also benefit from a daily all-over massage with a blend of corn, sweet almond, and sunflower oils just to help them to become less tense and have the feeling that someone cares about them enough to give up some of their time to come and give them helpful treatment. This can help up-tight teenagers too, if they can be persuaded to consent to it; there is a lot more chance if they are allowed to sniff a range of helpful essential oils and choose the ones they would like to be included.

When toddlers are so tired and obstreperous that they are driving their parents to distraction they can be calmed by giving them a quick neck and shoulder massage with a blend of safflower, grapeseed, or other light oil to balance their mental energies with equal quantities of soya or even corn oil, to help to calm them down.

Blends for the Back

Although we tend to think of the back as one unit, it is actually three quite different ones, each of which needs a slightly different blend of carriers to suit its different needs.

When all that's needed is a quick treatment to tone or ease the aches that result from overexertion, any carrier oil will do as long as it has enough power in it to drive whichever essential oils are going to be put into it.

If people are getting on in years, and/or tend to be a bit flabby or overweight, a blend of soya and olive and sunflower or other light oil can be more than helpful as it has enough power to combat lethargy and can still carry any middle note oils that might be needed to overcome the feeling of despair that results from not being able to do as much as they used to, and/or feel that they should.

Blends for the Neck and Shoulders.

As the muscles in this area aren't very bulky we tend to overlook just how much strain they have to bear even in supporting and allowing the full range of movement of the head. They seem to benefit most from an equal blend of almond, or sweet almond, virgin olive and safflower or even sunflower oil, to help to boost brain power.

Those who spend most of their day hunched over computers can become quite round shouldered and tend to suffer from headaches or depression. The periodic application of a blend consisting of the above with up to 10 per cent of organic wheatgerm oil in it, can often counteract these problems, or if applied in time, even prevent their occurrence. If the shoulders are almost rock solid, the only carrier blend that seems to help is equal quantities of soya and virgin olive, with up to 20 per cent of organic wheatgerm to boost the resilience of the overtense muscles.

Treatment Blends for the Lower Back

Although more or less the same as those given for the neck and shoulders, blends for this area really need the inclusion of 25 per cent of hazel or up to 15 per cent of walnut oil, as any more of it can stain the skin.

The nut oils can be more than helpful in alleviating the deeper forms of depression that result from, for example, redundancy or such a dearth of self- esteem that nothing seems to be worth bothering about any more. The best antidote for this sorry state of affairs is often a three-times daily application of one or other of the following blends of oils:

When Flabby or Heavily Built

The most helpful blend seems to be more or less equal parts of cold-pressed olive, hazelnut and either corn oil or soya to give a sense of comfort and inner wellbeing which can be healing in itself.

As far as the essential oils are concerned, Frankincense, Patchouli and Tea Tree seem to be the basic ones, especially when people tend to suffer from very sweaty feet.

When There is a Constant Ache

The above blend can still be helpful but it really does need the inclusion of a few drops of either a good quality Sandalwood, or top quality Neroli if the pain is quite severe, as this oil seems to be the only one that not only gives almost instant relief but helps to boost spirits too.

In more cases than not, these oils have to be used at least four-times a day and sometimes even two-hourly, or even oftener, to alleviate stiffness or keep severe pain at bay. Despite the seeming claims, none of these blends are pain killers in the usual sense as they achieve their often remarkable results simply by strengthening weak muscles and easing the tension on strong ones so that harmony is restored between them and they are able to balance each others` pull.


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About Doreen Wallace

Doreen Wallace is a retired teacher who has always had an interest in alternative medicines and therapies, having grown up with a family interest in homeopathy. She became interested in the Bach flower essences, studied radionics with David Tansley. She can be contacted on Tel: 01382 461165;


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