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Astrid Brown (Author)
Find all the books, read about the author, and more.


This website is purely dedicated to my books and writing, so you will excerpts here of my books and poetry and where you can purchase them. I write under the genres of the Paranormal/Psychic, Romantic fiction and Poetry. I do hope you enjoy the excerpts here and you'll stop by again.

Astrid Brown is an Author and a Professional Medium/Psychic who writes vastly on her experiences, some of which are in her books and others on her blogs and personal web pages. She is an experienced College Lecturer in Holistic Studies and Reiki Master. She resides in the UK.
my read shelf:
Astrid Brown's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)



“It was a very special moment for John's spirit was awakening and he was opening up, I had touched and resonated with his soul. It was more than just cyber sex, more than making love with someone you loved, it was blending souls as soul mates do and it was an incredible moment for the two of us. We both cried beautiful happy tears”
Astrid Brown, A Psychic Affair: A Romantic Novel
"I don't know what you have done, my mind is not my own
For you have magicked me for my feelings for you have grown
I did not set to fall in love, for you must have cast a spell
For you have bewitched me and all my doubts dispel
What spell have you cast to enchant me like this?
To make me fall in love and ache for your kiss”

“I heard your whispered fantasies so clear
Softly told in my ear
I opened my eyes you weren't there
So real my dream, I was so aware
But we'll meet again so certainly
In our whispered fantasy”
Astrid Brown, Whispered Fantasies



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  THIS IS NOT MY IMAGINATION I heard your name in the breeze Carried and talked about by the trees And every footstep I walked The echoes me...

Saturday 24 November 2007

And so creates a broken heart

Betrayal oh so intimate
The executer of trust
So slays a love so great
And so creates a festering wound

The blade so sharp of wounding tongue
That twists and turns so deep
That causes the heart to bleed
And so creates a scar upon the soul

The deception of lies stung as they cut
deep into the soul of love's trust
And used and thrown away
And so creates a broken heart

MPB (c)

Hey I've done it guys my first full book




Friday 23 November 2007


Christi walked up the stairs to her first floor apartment, carrying her groceries from her car. She’d been living there for about six months now and it was a very quiet neighbourhood. The rental payments were kind of expensive but she thought.

“What the heck, I deserve it, when I think of all those horrible apartments and crazy neighbourhoods I stayed in before”.

But it was a bit too quiet for her liking. Oh there was a right sweetie in the apartment below her, a darling old dear called Cathie. Cathie was lovely, she took in deliveries for anyone who wasn’t at home and always had a kind word, she had this big golden retriever she called Mitch, he was her best friend and companion and as she climbed the stairs to her door, Mitch lazily opened one eye gave her a knowing look and promptly shut it again and then stretched out his front paws on the door mat of Cathie’s apartment.

No there was hardly anyone around, apart from Cathie, no one was around to speak to, but she had seen the guy from the apartment on the floor above her quite a few times, though not to speak to. In a little dazed daydream, she thought of him, he was hot, in fact hot in giant capital, letters, sizzling hot. Cathie had noticed her peering at him one day and gave a grin and said,

“He’s Mike”. “He doesn’t date anyone regular as far as I know”, she stated. “But he has been round the block a few times”, Cathie laughed.

In fact for an old dear it was a wicked laugh. “Oh girl I was young myself once, he’s hot”

Christie had blushed and in fact, was blushing now just thinking about him. As she reached into her purse to get the keys for her apartment the bunch of bananas toppled and fell on to the landing floor. As she turned around, horror or horror, who at that moment was passing but Mike.

“Oh my God, oh my God”, she screamed inside her head, it would just have to happen when he was passing. As she thought this, she heard his soft but warm accent.

“ I like bananas too, can I help you there honey?” he questioned her sympathetically.

Dying a little death of embarrassment as she tried to scoop up the bananas, the dozen eggs flew from the bags and ended their little flying trip all over Mike, splattering him from his hair all the way down to his flip-flops. Christi didn’t know what to do next, run into the apartment, cry or dig a hole right there and now and climb right in it. She surprised herself by breaking out into a giggle. Mike stood up and a warm smile grew on his lips. Christi noticed his dark warm brown eyes twinkled and sparkled and kind of creased and wrinkled at the corners.

“Hey I best help you clean up this mess, you must be Christie, Cathie told me who you were”, he said tilting his head to one side. “I’ve watched you for some time and wanted to ask you out to dinner, but I guess we’ve got your dinner all over me”, he smiled and his brown eyes met Christi’s green ones.

Mike took the keys from Christi’s hand and his hand kind of lingered with hers for a moment before unlocking the door.

“Please do come inside, it’s my fault let me clean you up”, Cathie stated, trying her best not to laugh out loud. Unfortunately or maybe it was fortunately, the stifled laugh escaped. Mike looked so funny with egg yolk all over his dark brown wavy hair. She watched it drip down his t-shirt and all over his jeans.

“I can’t sponge that off it will just make scrambled egg”, she laughed. “I’ll pop them in the washing machine Mike”. “You run up and get some more clothes”, she said giggling.

“Hmmm I have a slight problem there Christie, I’ve run out”, he stated trying not to laugh at himself. “Cathie said she had organised the repair man to fix my washing machine, but he’s not turned up, like he should have done”, he grinned. “I’ve got shorts on, I’ll just take my jeans off and t-shirt and we can throw them in the machine”

“Ok, yes and I’ll fix you a coffee whilst you’re waiting”, Christi smiled.

Christi couldn’t help but notice Mike’s firm tanned thighs, the kind of thighs that have been honed to ideal man’s perfection, and the tiny soft dark brown hair that grew upwards to slide underneath his shorts. Her eyes lingered on his shorts, “Mmmm not only is he hot he’s got quite a package in there”.

As he pulled the heavily egg stained t-shirt over his head Christi noticed his pecs and his brown nipples, she also noticed her panties were becoming slightly damp and damper still the more her eyes lingered. “Yes he was real hot”, she stared for a moment before throwing Mike a towel. If she was alone now, she knew what she would go and do and it wasn’t making a coffee.


Thursday 22 November 2007

Two Poems~'Of Love' and 'Pleasures token was in the giving'

OF LOVE magnify
Seldom has such an emotion
Tortured souls and led to temptation
And brought such highs of exaltation
Took away such nourishment of life
Or led on a soul and cut like a knife
Through the heart and bled it dry
And yet we can only wonder why
Of passions kept
And life bereft
Who are we to say
Of why it has to be this way

MPB (c)

Pleasures token was in the giving
Pleasures token was in the giving magnify
Betrayal of trust comes in many forms
Like the love from a parent that flounders and fails
Or from family members those whom once trust
From the dearest friends you thought once had
From whom you thought were there in times of sad
When you gave your all and then some more
Yet happy you were to give to those whom you adore
For that is love and all its gifts
Pleasures token was in the giving but now there's rifts
And how it came to pass, to be this way
You know not how you thought they'd always stay
And yet you love so unconditionally
For that is how you chose to live
Having so much love inside to share, to give
For that is me and how I am I cannot change
And for some people that may sound so strange
For me the pleasures of the living
Is opening my heart and purely giving

MPB (c)

Monday 19 November 2007

Tarot its not as creepy as you might think

Tarot an explanation to this Mantic Tool
Click here to learn more and have a Tarot reading by the ONE AND ONLY FAMOUS KASHY (world famous Psychic and bestest Tarot reader in the Universe lol)

HEY KASHY IS THAT ADVERT FOR YOU GOOD OR WHAT LOL? He is so going to kill me when he sees this lol

The cards above featured are the "Mythic Tarot" these are the ones I prefer I resonate with the illustrations, though there are many different decks available, these are my favourites. They are laid out in the 'Celtic Cross' spread. The illustrations are very beautiful don't you think and are based on Greek Mythology. What I like about this deck is every card including the minor arcana, which are equivalent to the numbered cards in a pack of ordinary playing cards, is beautifully illustrated. The illustrations help me work psychically. Not that I need cards or anything to do a reading with, but rather speeds connection with the person I am reading.

Much has been written about this mantic tool some associate it with the dark side, well let me enlighten you. How many of you use playing cards? whether its to play bridge, poker or whatever. Do you know the origins of these cards come from Tarot. In the Minor Arcana the 'Cups' are associated with 'Hearts', the 'Pentacles' with 'Diamonds', 'Wands' with 'Clubs' and 'Swords' with 'Spades' In fact its quite easy to use ordinary playing cards just as you would with Tarot.

Firstly let me explain what a Mantic tool is, well it is an object or objects a psychic uses to tap into psychic energy to expand a reading and link with the person they are reading's Aura. This can be their palm. a crystal ball, a bowl of sand, runes, cards, candle flames, crystals, you name it its been tried and Sylvester Stallone's mum reads Butts, and no I've never tried it, but if anybody wants me to have a go let me know lol.

So each card in the Minor Arcana Tarot deck is numbered just like ordinary playing cards, there are kings, queens, etc just the same. The difference is within Tarot we have the Major Arcana, these are more powerful cards and depending on where they are placed within a reading they have an important significance depending or where they are placed.

Now if anyone has ever had a tarot reading you may come across two cards which strike fear in those who know little about Tarot one is the 'Death' card the other is the 'Tower', neither of those are to be feared, with the Death card, this simply means a break with what was once familiar, a total change of surroundings and important change or re-birth. With the Tower again the illustration shows a tower falling down and depending on the clients circumstances, it can mean whole different lifestyles collapsing and something new to follow. it doesnt necessarily mean the negative.

Other things to be remembered about Tarot cards can either be the right way up or reversed (upside down), this can water down teh meaning or pose a more negative situation depending on the other cards. Readings can be given using just the Major Arcana alone or the full deck. I prefer to use the full deck. There are many ways in which to do readings the traditional one depicted above shows the Celtic Cross Spread, this is often used in general readings. But when you really get into it you find you make your own spreads whatever works for you.

I can only speak for myself and not for other readers and the Tarot cards do all have traditional meanings, many books have been written about Tarot and for the beginner that is sometimes helpful, but for the very psychic I would urge you to throw away the book that comes with the deck and be guided what your intuition tells you. The traditional meaning of the cards is merely a guide only, they are designed to be used as a mantic tool

Thursday 15 November 2007

Just know how much (a poem)

Just know how much

If I could take you in my arms
If I could only hold you
If I could gaze into your eyes
Perhaps then you'd realise
Just how much I care

If I could touch your cheek softly
If I could only stroke your hair
If I could your lips only kiss
Perhaps then you'd know its you I miss
Just how much I adore you

If I could lie beside you
If I could be so entwined
If I had just one night to stay
Perhaps you'd have never have gone away
Just know how much I still love you

MPB (c)

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Aromatherapy a guide

I thought I would post an article on one of the therapies I have taught magnify
Aromatherapy is a vast subject but one that is particuarly valuable in the treatment of stressful lifestyles we lead today
This article is for interest as a guide only and it is advised that anyone contemplating treatment should consult an insured and qualified Aromatherapist


It is the systematic use of essential oils in Holistic treatments to improve physical and Emotional well being.
Essential Oils are extracted from plants and possess distinctive therapeutic properties, which can be used to improve health and prevent disease.
Both their physiological and psychological effects combine well to promote positive health.
Essential Oils can be applied in a variety of ways such as in massage, baths and inhalations.
They are readily absorbed into the skin and have gentle physiological effects and Aromatherapy is an especially effective therapy for stress-related disorders and a variety of chronic ailment
Aromatherapy has its roots in ancient civilisations i.e. the Ancient Egyptians and the Romans used plants and herbs and oils extracted from these for religious, medical and cosmetic purposes and in the Ancient Egyptians used Essential Oils for Embalming and Preserving.

Ancient Egyptians

The Egyptians are known to have used plant resins and essences in embalming, Cedar and Myrrh were used for this purpose and jars of Frankincense and Styrax have been found by archaeologists in tombs dating from 3000 BC. The antiseptic and antibacterial qualities of these oils and essences helped prevent cadavers from rotting so that when the ‘Mummies’ were discovered thousands of years later they were perfectly preserved.
Some of the prescriptions and formulae were inscribed onto stone tablets, which is why we know so much about them today.

Ancient Greeks

The Ancient Greeks gained much of their knowledge of plant resins and essences from travelling to the Nile Valley and taking the information home with them. Hippocrates c. 460 BC wrote on the subject and helped others understand the uses of plants and herbs.
The Romans
Oils and essences were an important part of the Roman Culture e.g. they were used at the public baths, in the water and in massage. The public baths were a great meeting place.
Ancient China & India
Both China and India have a long history of using plants and herbs and their extracts for medical purposes. In India Ayurvedic medicine dates from thousands of years ago and is aimed at treating the whole person, physically, mentally and spiritually, as does Oriental medicine.
Europe learnt about the benefits of plants and herbs through the travels of knights and soldiers, especially after the Crusades (from the 11th to the 13th centuries). Gradually through experimentation Europeans begun to use herbs and plants to make their own medicines e.g. Sage, Lavender and Rosemary.
In the Middle Ages, especially at the time of the great Plague, people protected themselves against infection by carrying plants, wearing herbal bouquets and throwing both over the floor. Interestingly enough it was discovered that Apothecaries and Perfumers were thought to be immune from the disease.


The development of chemistry and printing in the 19th century helped herbal and plant medicine in two ways. New chemical processes made it easier to extract oils and the invention of printing meant that lots of books on the subject, called ‘Herbals’ were published.
However science helped both to develop the use of plants and herbs in medicines and to destroy it. It became easier and cheaper to discover some of the elements of plant oils, and their qualities, and attempt to produce synthetic versions of them, so commercial, mass-produced products and remedies using artificial ingredients replaced the natural formulas created for the individual person and problem. Herbal medicine, using ancient and tested traditions was no longer taken seriously and was even considered ‘Quackery’ compared to ‘real scientific medicine’.


A French chemist called Rene Maurice Gattefosse in the 1920’s coined the term ‘Aromatherapy’. He was a Chemist and Perfumer who worked in his family perfumery business.
One day he burnt his hand and plunged it into a vat of Lavender oil to cool it down, as he had no water available, to his surprise he discovered that the Lavender oil helped his burns to heal and prevented scaring.
During the First World War, he used essential oils on soldier’s wounds and discovered they healed much faster, he then went on to research the therapeutic properties of Essential Oils and first coined the phrase Aromatherapie, in a scientific research paper he wrote in t 928.
Several other French scientists, including Or Jean Valnet, continued the research into the effect of Essential Oils on physical burns and wounds as well as psychological disorders. Valnet also used oils on soldier’s wounds, this time during the Second World War because of their antiseptic qualities.
But it was Marguerite Maury, an Austrian biochemist and follower of the work of Valnet that brought Aromatherapy to Britain. She had discovered that when she used Essential Oils in massage the skin absorbed the oils very well. In the t 940s she brought her ideas for massage treatments using Essential Oils to the U.K. and with the help of several people including; Micheline Arcier, Or. W.E. Arnould-Taylor. Eve Taylor and Dr. Jean Valnet; she set up Aromatherapy practices.
Her Students then set up their own practices and the interest in this method of treatment has been growing ever since, although first established as a beauty therapy, Robert Tisserand developed Aromatherapy as a clinical therapy

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are aromatic, volatile substances extracted from a single botanical source by distillation or expression. They are found in leaves, the hairs on leaves, in flowers, in tree bark or roots, in fruit pulp and peel. Similar to animal hormones, they are sometimes referred to as the plants’ ‘Life force’.
The cells containing essential oils are generally close to the surface but they can only be seen with the help of a microscope. The essence is either stored in the cell where it is made or, as is the case with citrus fruits, moved to special storage sacs.

Essential Oils are:

* Aromatic, have a distinctive and often fragrant smell
* Volatile, evaporate quickly in the air and to varying degrees depending on the oil
* Very powerful when neat, are usually blended with a carrier oil for massage purposes
* Flammable, must be kept in a cool place away from heat and/or naked flames
* Soluble in oil and alcohol, (in water they will form a suspension)
* Liquid, exceptions include Rose Otto and Benzoin, which are semi-solid Non-greasy, despite their name, the oils are generally light and not oily Expensive, producing the plants and extracting the oil is labour intensive and thus not cheap


Essential Oils come from various parts of the plants. Some plants only produce one oil e.g.
• Basil oil from Basil leaves
• Carrot from Carrot seeds
• Pine from the needles and sometimes the cones of Pine trees

Other plants produce several oils from different parts e.g. each Sweet Orange
tree produces three essential oils
• Petitgrain from the leaves and branches
• Neroli from the blossom
• Sweet Orange from the peel


How do the oils get from the plant to the bottle?

Well the first stage is growing the plants, the essential oil industry is very labour intensive and therefore expensive, this is because the plants must be looked after carefully and sometimes have to be harvested by hand as they can be easily damaged by machinery. After harvesting the plants need to be processed in order to extract the essential oils.
There are seven methods of extraction:
• Steam Distillation
• Expression
• Solvent Extraction
• Carbon dioxide Extraction
• Hydro-diffusion/percolation
• Enfleurage
• Maceration (an old method rarely used today)

Steam Distillation

This is the most common and economical method of extraction.

1. Plant material is placed in the first part of a still, it is then mixed with water, which is then heated to produce steam, or steam under pressure is passed through the plant material. The heat and steam cause the essential oil in the plant material to break down and evaporate into the steam.
2. The mix of steam and oil vapour passes into a cooled pipe and condenses and collected into another vessel. Because the essential oil and the water from the condensation are of different densities this makes them easily to separate (the essential oil floats on the surface of the condensed water.)
3. There are five stages to distillation:
4. Plant preparation. Flowers and leaves and any non-woody parts can be put in the still as they are but if from a wood or seed then the raw material needs to be prepared i.e. grated or crushed to break the plant’s oil cells to release the essential oil
5. Heat. In steam distillation the raw material is placed on a grid over water, which is then heated, and steam passed through the plant. In direct distillation the raw material is placed in water, which is then brought to boiling point.
6. Evaporation. The heat makes the oil cells release their essence and the oil evaporates into the steam.
7. Condensation. The steam and the vapour it contains collect in a pipe and are transported to a condenser (a coiled pipe which is immersed in a tank of cold water). As soon as the hot steam and vapour come into contact with the cold pipe they condense.
8. Collection. The steam condenses and becomes very lightly scented water (known as Hydrolats) whereas the plant’s oil because of the different density floats to the top of the liquefied steam or sinks to the bottom (depending on the oil). The essential oil can now be collected


The oils of citrus fruits are contained in tiny sacs in the peel. These oils are extracted by the application of pressure. The fruits pulp and pith are removed and the peel is squeezed to release its oil. This used to be done by hand, but now due to the enormous demand it is now down by machinery.

Solvent Extraction

1. Solvent extraction is the method used when the aromatic essence is difficult to obtain by distillation e.g. the resinoids, or the process of distillation might damage the delicate fragrance of the plant e.g. Rose and Jasmine. There are three types:
Resinoid e.g. Benzoin, Myrrh. When the bark of a tree or bush is cut it seems to bleed, a liquid escapes from the cut, which solidifies when it comes into contact with the air, this is known as resin. There are three stages for extracting a resinoid:

Preparation the raw material is chopped and cut and then placed on a rack in a clean vessel and covered with solvents such as Hydrocarbons.
Heat the mixture is gently heated and the oils contained in the woody plant material dissolve in the solvent.
Filtration the solvent is evaporated off and the solid residue is called a resinoid.

2. Concrete. When a plant’s essential oil is damaged by hot water or steam used in distillation e.g. Jasmine flowers; solvent extraction is used instead to obtain a solid substance known as a concrete i.e. a mixture of natural waxes and a plant’s aromatic essence. They are highly concentrated and more ‘stable’ than pure essential oils. Similar to resin extraction, this process uses Hydrocarbon solvents and has three stages.

Preparation, the raw material is put on racks in clean sealed vessels and covered with solvent
Heat, the mixture is gently heated and the solvent dissolves the essences contained in the plant material
Filtration, the liquid that remains is filtered to remove the solvent. The semi-solid paste that remains is the concrete.

3. Absolutes. After extraction concretes are usually treated further to obtain what is known as an absolute. Absolutes are obtained by mixing a concrete (or pomade from enfleurage) with alcohol. The aromatic plant essence transfers from the solid waxy substance to the alcohol and the wax which is not soluble in alcohol is left as residue, this process has two stages.

Mixing, the concrete is mixed with alcohol and then chilled. The plant essence in the concrete dissolves in the alcohol and a waxy residue remains.
Filtration, the solution is filtered to separate the waxy residue from the liquid. Then the alcohol is evaporated off, leaving the absolute, the plant’s essence.

An Absolute, what is it?
This is a liquid that is much thicker and more concentrated than an essential oil. Some are solids or semi-solids e.g. Rose Absolute. They are generally used in small amounts not only because they are so highly concentrated but also because they may still contain a residue of the extraction solvent and this can cause allergic reactions.
Carbon dioxide extraction
This is a new process that dates from the 1980s and it is used mostly for oils destined for the food industry because the end product is unstable and not useful for aromatherapy, it is similar to solvent extraction. The process is quite complicated and therefore expensive.

This is an old extraction process that produces a waxy substance, similar to a concrete, known as a pomade. It is very labour intensive and rarely used except when the highest quality oil is required. It only works with flowers, which carry on producing essential oils after they have been harvested. The process involves four stages:

1. Extraction, flowers and petals are placed on trays, which have been coated with animal fat. They are then left for several days and the fat absorbs the plant essence. Faded Petals are replaced with fresh ones until the fat is completely saturated with the essence.
2. Collection, the fat is removed from the trays and any remaining petals taken out. The aromatic fat is known as a ‘Pomade’.
3. Separation, the pomade is mixed in alcohol and agitated constantly for a day so that the essential oil can separate from the fat. The fat is removed.
4. Evaporation, the alcohol is evaporated off from the mixture leaving the enfleurage absolute.

Like other absolutes those from enfleurage are highly concentrated and are either thick liquids or solids
Rarely used today, maceration is similar to enfleurage because fat is used to extract the essences from the flowers. However it is only used for flowers, which stop producing oils once harvested. It involves four stages.

1. Flowers and petals are mixed with hot fat absorbs the plants essence.
2. The first batch or flowers is filtered off and the whole process is repeated until the fat is saturated with aromatic essence.
3. Petals and flowers are filtered from the final batch and the rat is left to cool.
4. The aromatic fat is known as a pomade and is treated with alcohol, as before to produce an absolute


Percolation uses boiling water in a similar way to distillation but the water passes down through the plant material instead of up. When cooled the oil either floats or sinks, depending on the density and is easily separated. Percolation’s main advantage is that it is faster than distillation, which results in less damage to the oil because the essence is heated for a shorter period of time.


How should oils be stored?
Essential oils are delicate and expensive; it is therefore wise to look after them. They should be stored:

* Away from extremes of temperature, heat will evaporate them and cold can affect their composition
* In dark, amber/blue glass bottles, essential oils are sensitive to ultraviolet light, they should not be stored, or bought in plastic because it affects the molecular structure of the oil
* In tightly sealed bottles, to protect them from evaporating in the air and to stop contact with the air from changing their composition
* Out of the reach of children.

Are Essential Oils Safe?
Used correctly essential oils are very safe, mainly because they are used in such tiny amounts. When used in the wrong dilutions and in the wrong conditions they can produce adverse effects. Certain oils should never be used, under any circumstances and some should not be used for specific conditions.
N.B. Essential oils are very strong and should not be swallowed. If oil gets into the eye rinse it immediately with lots of water. If necessary seek medical advice.
When should oils not be used?
The effects of certain oils can be positive for some conditions and not for others. Problems can be avoided in three ways:

Consulting with clients to find out as much about their medical history and any contra-indications

Knowing the properties and effects of all oils used
Using the oils in their correct and safe dilutions.

Specific Conditions/Pregnancy
Avoid oils, which have the following properties:
Emmenagoguic (stimulate uterus)
Oestrogen stimulating
Hyper-tensors (raise BP)
Induce Epileptiform fits (capable of inducing seizures)
Phototoxic (reacts with UV light)

Potential Drug inter-actions

Nutmeg potentates Pethidine

Geranium has anticoagulant effects therefore avoid with anti-coagulant drugs such as Warfarin

Cinnamon interacts with paracetamol & anti-coagulants

N.B. Essential oils should never be used in the first three months of pregnancy. For the rest of the term, Mandarin is the only oil, which may be used. N.B. & ONLY USE THAT IF AN EXPERIENCED, QUALIFIED & INSURED AROMATHERAPIST

Never use Sweet Fennel or Rosemary, Hyssop and Sage
Avoid Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage & Thyme
Most oils are safe but Angelica should be avoided at all times and permission sought from their G. P.
Homeopathy is not compatible with aromatherapy as homeopathic medicines are extremely fragile, massage may still be given without the addition of essential oils.
General Skin Irritants
The following oils can irritate the skin so are not recommended for those with sensitive skin or anyone prone to skin allergies. It is also useful to remember that solvent-extracted oils will contain traces of the solvent used and may cause irritations.

Basil Lemon Peppermint
Black pepper Lemongrass Thyme
Clove Melissa Tea-tree
Ginger Orange

Certain oils make the skin more sensitive to Ultraviolet Light and should be avoided before exposure to sunlight or before using a sunbed:

Bergamot Lemon Patchouli
Grapefruit Mandarin Sweet-Orange

For anyone who is allergic or suspects an allergy to a particular oil, a skin test is recommended. Rub one drop of diluted oil into the crook of the arm or behind the ear and leave for 24 hours. If there is no reaction, the oil is probably safe to use once diluted as necessary.

The following is a list of toxic Oils. They should never be used, under any circumstances.
Aniseed Horseradish Savory
Arnica Hyssop Southernwood
Bitter-Almond Mustard Tansy
Bitter-Fennel Origanum Thuja
Camphor Pennyroyal Wintergreen
Cassia Rue Wormseed
Cinnamon-Bark Sage Wormwood
Dwarf-Pine Sassafras
Elecampane Savin

What are the specific effects of Aromatherapy?
Using Essential Oils affects the Human Body

Pharmacologically, essential oils are chemical and so are humans. Once essential oils have been absorbed into the body, either through the skin or inhalation, the chemicals in the oils enter the blood and other body fluids and interact with the chemistry of our bodies e.g. hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters are all chemicals and the presence of another chemical (the essential oil) can affect the way they work.

Physiologically: physiology is the way our body works. Essential oils can affect this by changing the chemical messages and impulses sent around the body and thus changing the way the systems of the human body function e.g. if an oil has relaxing and de-stressing properties, it may help to relieve the symptoms of stress displayed by our bodies e.g. slowing heart rate and breathing rate or encouraging tense muscles to relax.

Psychologically: the way essential oils affect our mind is more difficult to describe, mainly because everyone’s mind id different. However, our sense of smell is closely linked to our memory so that particular smells can cause particular responses: e.g. if you dislike the smell of Roses, Rose oil is unlikely to relax you; if Jasmine reminds you of a good holiday then its smell will bring back happy memories and provoke a positive response.

General effects of Aromatherapy

There are certain effects from using essential oils which result from most treatments, especially since relaxing and/or hands-on application methods like massage and baths are very common in aromatherapy. General effects include:

Reduction in Stress & Tension
Feeling of Well-being, Balance and Calm
Antibacterial effects of oil help the body to heal and support the immune system.

How do Essential Oils Penetrate the Body?
There are two ways that oil can safely penetrate the body:
1. Smell/Inhalation
2. Absorption via the skin

Ingestion, i.e. swallowing them is not safe.
Smelling & Inhaling Essential Oils The Nose & Olfactory Tract

Smell is the fastest way for Essential Oils to penetrate the body. The molecules travel up the nose and there are two results: they send a message to the brain and nerves which respond to the new smell and they pass into the blood stream via the lungs and the respiratory system. In order to understand how this works, it helps to understand the structure of the Olfactory Tract.
Most of the nose is concerned with breathing: inhaling air into the body and exhaling it out, however it is the organ of smell and thus very important in a therapy based on the power of aromas!
At the top of the nose there are two areas of pigmented tissue known as Olfactory Membranes. They contain the olfactory, or smell-sensing cells, which have fine hair-like protrusions called cilia. The olfactory cells connect to nerves in an area known as the Olfactory Plexus. Once triggered, these nerves send messages along the olfactory Nerves to the Brain, particularly the Limbic System.
This is the area of the brain that deals with Memory, Emotions, Our Basic Instincts and Mechanical Functions.
When essential oil molecules pass over the olfactory cells, it is thought that these cells trigger receptor areas, which send an impulse via the olfactory plexus and nerves to the brain. Here the information is processed and interpretated (with either positive or negative associations).
Depending on the interpretation, the brain sends messages to other parts of the body to elicit a response e.g. Grimace! The brain may also react to different chemicals in an essential oil and produce particular effects e.g. a relaxing or sedative substance may cause the brain to send out a message of relaxation either to the whole body or a particular part.

How do Oils Penetrate the Skin?

Essential oils are absorbed through the skin. In order to understand this, it helps to understand the skin’s structure.

Being the largest human organ it is water resistant, but extremely minute substances, such as the molecules of an essential oil, can enter the tiny pores of the Epidermis, as well as penetrating through the hair follicles and the sweat glands. From here they enter the blood capillaries in the dermis. Once the oil reaches the blood and the circulation it is transported around the whole body.

Essential Oils are almost always used in a blend. They are blended with Carrier oils for use in massage and in some cases, baths.
The correct blend is very important because essential oils are potentially toxic if used undiluted. They are also highly concentrated and will therefore not go very far in a massage on their own!

What is a Carrier Oil?
Carrier oils are known as fixed oils because unlike essential oils, they do not evaporate when heated. They are extracted from plants, flowers, nuts and seeds and those generally used in aromatherapy do not have a strong smell as it might interfere with that of the essential oil.
Some carrier oils contain fat-soluble vitamins e.g. A, D, E and K, minerals and proteins in differing amounts, so have healthy benefits of their own.
Carrier Oils Used in Aromatherapy are:
• Of vegetable, nut or seed origin
• Refined preferably cold-pressed
• Stable, not volatile
• Used neat
• Non sticky
• Lubricants for aromatherapist’s hands thus giving a smooth massage.

There are several suitable carrier oils, which can be used alone or in a blend with other carriers. Some are lighter than others and often the thicker denser oils, which are more expensive and may be used, mixed with a lighter oil to make them go further.
Lighter oils are better for a full body massage because they allow smoother movements whereas the thicker oils are more useful for massage on a small area.
Recommended carrier oils are:

Grapeseed Evening Primrose Calendula
Sweet-Almond Avocado Macadamia
Wheatgerm Jojoba Peach-Kernel

What are the correct dilutions?
Dilutions depend on two factors i.e. the treatment and the scale of the treatment. The following are just guidelines and the more experienced Aromatherapist will adapt them according to circumstances.
Treat dilutions and blends like a medical treatment i.e. a prescription must provide the right drug and dosage for the condition and patient. The same care should be used to create blends i.e. use the right oils for the problem in the appropriate amounts. For a treatment to work, just like a prescription, the quantities and qualities of both essential oil and carrier oil must remain constant.

How much Essential Oil should be mixed with Carrier Oil?
Usually from 1 % to 2%, the maximum dilution should be 2.5% of Essential Oil.

How do I work out & measure these percentage?

1 % equals one-drop essential oil to 100 drops carrier and 2% blend equals two drops essential oil to 100 drops carrier.

Does that mean I have to count out 1OO drops of carrier oil? – No, 100 drops of oil is equivalent to 5mls or one teaspoon, therefore 1 % dilution would be one drop of essential oil per 5mls and 2% would be two drops per 5mls.
Are there any instances when these dilutions are wrong or need changing?
Use a maximum 1 % dilution when treating:
• Clients with sensitive skin
• The elderly
• Children
• The weak/convalescent

How much oil is needed for different treatments?
Full body massages require about 20-25mls carrier oil i.e. 8 drops essential oil per 20mls.
For face massage only about 5mls of carrier is required i.e. 1-2 drops of essential oil per 5mls.
Absolutes may contain traces of solvents so a weaker solution i.e. 1 % blend should be used.
Baths essential oils float or sink so drops should not be added directly to the bath water but should be mixed with a small quantity of an emulsifier such as a fragrance-free shampoo, bath gel, liquid soap or even full cream milk before adding to the bath. Those with sensitive skin should use a lower concentration and take care with those oils known to cause skin irritations.
Burners use two drops of the chosen oil in water
Compresses soak the cloth in 100mls of water and add two drops of the chosen oil.
Steam inhalations use one drop of essential oil to a bowl of hot water, two for a stronger effect.
N.B. When using essential oils, always be very careful if in doubt, don’t.
How Long do Blends Last?
The average shelf life of a blend lasts approximately 3 months however by adding 10% Wheatgerm oil this can be extended to approx. 6 months.
Can oils be used undiluted?
Only in specific circumstances i.e. Lavender or Tea Tree, though some may be sensitive to the latter.
Oils that blend well
Oils that are in the same botanical family to which they belong blend well i.e. the citrus e.g. Grapefruit & Lemon etc.

Botanical Families & Examples
Woody Cedarwood & Pine
Herbaceous Marjoram & Clary Sage
Citrus Bergamot & Lemon
Floral Geranium & Rose
Resinous Galbanum & Frankincense
Spicy Ginger and Black Pepper

A general guide to blending can be gained by looking at the ‘Note’ of the individual oil. The Note is a measure of the volatility of the oil, of which there are three main categories.

Top Notes

• Fresh & light in aroma
• The fastest acting
• The quickest to evaporate
• The most stimulating & uplifting to both mind and body

Middle Notes

* Moderately volatile
* Primarily affect the functions of the body systems e.g. the digestive system etc.
* Affect the general metabolism

Base Notes

* Are rich & Heavy
* Slower to evaporate and therefore mixed with top notes, help to ‘hold back’ the volatility of that oilThe most sedating & relaxing

A Frenchman named ‘Piesse’ developed the categorisation of oil notes during the 19th century. He classified aromas according to their harmony with other oils and based their grade on the musical scale; each aroma forming perfectly balanced chords or harmonics when combined with other oils.
The simplest ratio being 3:2:1 i.e. Three drops top note, two drops middle and one drop base.
Contra-indications for aromatherapy are the same for any massage with the proviso that certain oils will not be suitable depending on the client’s condition.

I hope this will give you a taste and interest into the facinating subject and therapy known as 'Aromatherapy'. I haven't gone into explaining the all the complexities of the essential oils and would urge you to read widely on the subject as it is so vast.

This article is designed as a guide only and any self treatment is at your own risk and if contemplating treatment please consult a qualified and insured Aromatherapist

All material is copyright

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