Essential Oil Synergy Blends - Magical Aromatherapy
Essential oil effects are complex. A particular essential oil can have multiple properties and build a reputation as being helpful for a diverse range of conditions. For example, Lavender oil is known for its incredible effects on the mind, helping individuals feel more calm, balanced, uplifted, and relaxed. At the same time, it is a popular household cleaning ingredient due to its pleasant, deodorizing aroma and antibacterial properties. Many people also rely on Lavender oil to remedy a variety of skin and hair conditions. How can a single essential oil hold so many benefits? The answer lies within the somewhat mysterious world of the chemistry of essential oils. Essential oils themselves are powerful, volatile compounds that play a critical supporting role for the plants they originate from. These oils can vary widely in their chemical compositions, and in fact are made up of an impressive assortment of organic components that are typically categorized into overarching chemical families such as terpenes, alcohols, aldehydes, esters, and phenols. The chemical specification of each essential oil influences the various effects and benefits that are eventually observed. The terms ‘synergy’ and ‘synergistic blending’ refer to one of the most fascinating concepts within aromatherapy – one that underscores the complex relationship between the chemical composition of essential oils and the wide-ranging effects they produce.
THE CONCEPT OF 'SYNERGY' IN AROMATHERAPY The word ‘synergy’ originates from the Greek phrase ‘sunergos’, which translates to ‘working together’. The process of synergy is where multiple components of a system come together to produce an overarching effect that cannot be reduced to the simple adding up of each individual effect. In other words, synergy is present when something is created that is greater than simply the sum of its parts. When different essential oils are blended or mixed together, the interaction between its various constituents can also give rise to these incredible synergistic effects. For example, it has been shown that the antifungal properties of Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) are potentiated when mixed together. The resulting power is not just additive – it supersedes that to reach synergy. Just like how single essential oil effects can be complex, so can these multiple interaction effects. When two specific oils are blended together, they may not necessarily produce a synergy, and can in fact impede on each other’s effects instead (a related concept known as ‘antagonism’). The ratios at which they are blended can also make a difference; one ratio can produce a synergistic effect while another can produce an antagonistic effect even though the same essential oils are used! This is why the choice of essential oils, along with their proportions, can make or break the positive properties of any particular blend. This is why it is so important to buy blends from an Aromatherapist trained in chemical composition. WHAT ARE SYNERGY BLENDS? HOW DO THEY WORK? Synergy blends are carefully concocted mixtures that are designed to optimize the synergistic effects of complementary essential oils. They typically serve a very specific purpose, such as supporting immunity, promoting mental clarity, soothing pain, encouraging relaxation, or reducing the appearance of cellulite. Some aromatherapists may also choose to apply synergy blends in a more holistic way, taking into account the individual’s entire physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. HOW ARE SYNERGY BLENDS CREATED? Making an effective synergy blend is not an easy process. It requires a theoretical understanding of what synergy is and how it can be applied in a practical sense to provide therapeutic value. It also requires an in-depth knowledge of essential oils and their effects, an understanding of what the target condition is and the avenues through which it can be addressed via essential oils, solid experience in blending, and a lot of experimentation. Creating synergy blends is both a precise, data-driven, research-directed process, as well as a highly creative and artistic venture. Aromatherapy practitioners, chemists, lab technicians, and other R&D professionals are well-equipped to make synergy blends. The first stage involves doing a comprehensive survey of the literature, along with a reflect