THE REAL essence and fun of aromatherapy lies in creating blends of essential oils where we quickly learn that a blend is so much more than just a collection of essential oils mixed together.
Blending essential oils is an art that involves the intuitive, creative process and primarily the acuity of the nose that knows best.
Synergy is the working together of two things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects.
In aromatherapy, if we blend for example three essential oils, we are gifted with more than three times the benefits of just the individual oils.
The roots of the word synergy are ‘syn’ meaning together and ‘ergon’ which means work.
Synergy reflects the way that the oils interact with each other, how they subtly change over time and how the blender responds to the blend. A blend of essential oils is a living, evolving organic process rather than a static inert object.
Blending two or more essential oils together creates harmony and a higher, more vibrant energy.
A good blend is harmonious, balanced and well rounded and most importantly, really appealing to the person who will be using it.
Liking the smell of the blend can achieve better synergistic effects than a blend that is not liked, although sometimes even an unappealing, medicinal smelling blend will still work better than individual oils. The synergy of the blend must also work synergistically with our own personal chemical makeup.
More powerful therapeutic results are often obtained when essential oils are blended together than when used individually. This blending of two or more essential oils results in completely new chemical compounds being formed when certain volatile constituents are conjoined.
Synergistic medicinal properties are created and made available that were previously not present and furthermore, the individual chemical constituents can have a mutually enhancing effect on the others.
It is not necessary to know the exact chemical make up of any individual essential oil to successfully craft delightful, healing and potent synergistic blends; however if we learn the key properties that they possess, we are able to create more efficacious blends.
It is helpful to have a theme in mind, to promote specific benefits when creating a synergistic blend of essential oils; such as for relaxation, focus, enhancing breath, spirituality or perhaps applications for pain-relieving or regenerative skin care.
It may simply be to attain a special type of scent, reminiscent of exotic locations or happy times; there are countless combinations to create whatever the heart desires or the body and mind needs for healing.
Essential oils that have some similar constituents from similar families of oils - such as the florals, herbs, roots, citrus or base, middle or top notes - will often blend together harmoniously. Blending these can result in quite agreeable aromas that will have enhanced synergistic effects.
A particular example of an oil blend that works harmoniously together is chamomile, lavender and geranium.
The anti-inflammatory effects of chamomile are augmented when combined with cooling, analgesic lavender and made even more effective with mediating geranium oil, which has a regulating and replenishing effect on all the endocrine functions. We realise that all the different systems of the body are also connected and must work harmoniously in synergy together to maintain optimal homeostasis and essential oils blends thoroughly support this fundamental healing principle.
Of course this also applies to the energetic subtle bodies upon which the essential oils are positively exerting their influence.
Occasionally, we might want to make a blend sweeter, spicier, drier, lighter or richer than the prescribed therapeutic mixture and we certainly have multiple options in the essential oil toolbox to achieve this.
The ‘spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down’ analogy also applies to blending oils.
Many of the harsher, camphoraceous notes typical of respiratory type essential oils are quite strident and penetrating and may be mellowed out with the inclusion of more palatable, softening oils such as amyris, orange or geranium bourbon for instance.
Perhaps a sesquiterpenes rich and medicinal smelling blend that is anti-inflammatory for pain relief needs some uplifting.
Elevating, naturally antidepressant type oils such as bergamot, clary-sage, neroli, or rose can be integrated to make the blend more compelling to use and serve as additional psychotherapeutic support.