A blend is so much more than just a bunch of essential oils mixed together.
A true blend is a mixture of oils specifically chosen to synergize together for a specific purpose.
Just as the lighting in a room can completely change the room’s atmosphere, a well-mixed essential oil blend can change a room, a mind, or a mood—especially if you know how to use it right!
But it’s not as simple as throwing a blend (even if it is a good blend) into a diffuser! The truth is, there are just a few hard-and-fast known rules for how to get the most out of your essential oils blends.
And we’re here to help you learn them!
So pick a favorite blend to start with, sit down, and keep reading! Your enhanced experience with essential oil blends is just around the corner!
Step 1: Nail Down a Purpose.
Essential oil blends, just like single oils, are best used intentionally, that is, with a specific purpose in mind.
Many times this purpose of a blend is clearly stated (or at least hinted at) in its title: Get It Done, Deep Rest, Clean N’ Fresh, etc. [links to recipes]
And, to that end, you may choose to buy premixed blends with specific, purpose-laden labels OR you may choose to create your own custom blends!
Either way, knowing what YOUR purpose is for this blend will help you chart the course for how and when to use it and maximize its efficiency.
We’ll get into how in just a moment.
First, for those who are still struggling to nail down a specific purpose for your blend, try looking at the table below!
Step 2: Choose a Pairing Stimulus
Why choose a pairing stimulus?
Well, our bodies, minds, and especially the mind-nose connection are highly adaptive.
What you smell isn’t always just “what you smell”—it can be a trigger for certain memories, moods, physiological states, your emotional sense of “where”, and more!
Choosing a stimulus is all about forging a connection between your blend and your chosen purpose for that blend.
Forging this connection to the point of maximum usefulness takes time and diligence, but the rewards are powerful, personalized, and worth the effort!
To choose the best stimulus to pair with a blend, consider the purpose of the blend and then choose a stimulus that matches with that same purpose.
(i.e. Inner Peace Blend paired with Mindfulness Meditation, PlayTime Blend paired with family board games, etc)
For helpful stimulus ideas, see the table below:
When starting with any blend, choose just one stimulus to start with.
You may be able to branch out later, but at the beginning you’ll want to keep the relationship between your blend and the chosen stimulus exclusive.
Step 3: Be Diligent
Forging a connection between a scent, an activity, and a mood takes time and diligence.
Set a goal to regularly inhale or otherwise absorb your blend while engaging in the activity/stimulus you have chosen (i.e. weight-lifting twice a week with blend X, journaling once a day with blend Y, Arts and crafts every Thursday with blend Z, etc).
In time, this will have several effects:
- It will become easier to engage in the stimulus activity, especially when the blend is present.
- You will feel the emotional benefits of the activity and the oil more powerfully as they combine synergistically to support your purpose. This comes about because of the “the mind-nose connection” mentioned earlier.
- And eventually—the smell of the blend itself will trigger in you the emotions, and perhaps the memories, associated with the stimulus activity. (i.e. you can feel some of the peacefulness from your meditation by simply smelling the Inner Peace blend)
Why does this work? Blends are patterns.
The nose picks up individual scent molecules. But the brain focuses on patterns, not on individual molecules or fragrance ingredients.
A blend, or really any individual oil, is made up of a fairly consistent mixture— a pattern that the brain can recognize. You sniff, and your brain recognizes the pattern of molecules that means thyme oil, bergamot oil, freshly fallen rain, or your grandma’s special recipe for pasta sauce.
And this habit of picking up on patterns allows the brain to do its job!
This job, in part, is to take note of significant (and especially recurring) sensory patterns and connect them to other internal and external patterns (events, images, feelings, etc).
This allows the brain to take helpful shortcuts in taking care of you, saving time and energy by preparing your body to react as it normally does in this sensory situation—to relax when you hear a lullaby, to run if you see an attacker, or to feel a certain way and do certain things when you smell a particular EO blend is in the air!
The body and brain do this naturally with all of your senses. However, because your sense of smell is the sense most closely tied to the emotion-processing parts of your brain, essential oils and blends are powerful tools for training your brain to feel certain things and complete certain tasks!
What if I Skip the Stimulus? The Blend in Isolation
Using the blend in isolation can still be somewhat helpful. Smells bring you to the present moment, which can help relieve stress. They can help either sedate or arouse your nervous system, helping you relax, rest, and digest, or to get up and get moving.
However, if you use the blend in isolation, you’re not taking full advantage of your brain’s smell-and-emotion circuitry! And so, the effects of the blend on your wellbeing will be drastically reduced compared to what you could have had.
After all, wellness isn’t just about the things we take in or experience! We don’t just deliver wellness to our bodies like a FedEx package.
True and lasting wellness comes as we train our bodies to be well! And that includes how we train them to respond to and recover from stress. And how we teach them to engage with the world on a daily basis.
It’s about the habits we create. And the great benefits that those habits bring us over decades!
Of course, wellness habits, like almost any habit, can be tricky to establish. But using essential oils can help us hijack our brains (in a good way) to make the process easier!
Pro tip: Start small and very simple. Establish habits one step at a time. Steady diligence is usually worth more than trying to take things by leaps and bounds.
Most blend recipes are fairly simple. So, really, anyone can open a pre-mixed bottle or whip up a homemade blend.
But not everyone will experience the full benefit of blends and aromatherapy. Many will sniff, roll, and carry on with their day.
However, those who approach their blend-use with purpose, stimulus-pairing, and diligence will get enormous value out of their essential oil blends and regularly enjoy increased wellness!
With just a little planning and a little determination—you can use your favorite blends to conquer all sorts of wellness challenges and improve your quality of life!