I've been a lover of essential oils now for over 20 years and by now you must know that I'm very passionate about them.

I strongly believe that they are our medicine of the future. Most times, pain can be quickly and easily relieved naturally, cuts and scratches can be treated, including minor burns and fluid and inflammation can be reduced.  I feel strongly that aromatherapy will become first choice as people realise their safety and the many benefits they have over pharmaceuticals that always carry a risk of an adverse drug reaction.

Because of their vast complexity and human individuality, modern science is just now beginning to realize we have only scratched the surface in understanding how essential oils work and interact within the human body.

Their analgesic properties are well documented and for those of you with arthritis this and their anti-inflammatory nature gives great relief and allows for more movement in your joints. Added to this some essential oils such as bergamot and neroli are antidepressant whilst sweet orange is helps uplift your spirit when you are feeling down.

Essential oils increase circulation

When essential oils are introduced to the blood stream, they increase circulation, thereby increasing oxygenation. Due to their high oxygen content, essential oils are natures most effective catalyst and delivery agent for feeding cells. Rich in oxygen, they pass through the thickest cell walls with the greatest of ease (to maintain or begin a restorative process).

Essential oils that are stimulating include lemon, lavender, geranium, bergamot, sandalwood and lavender (one of the most versatile as it can be either stimulating or calming depending on the other oils that it is blended with).

How does this benefit us?

Stimulating essential oils that increase circulation make us warmer. During sleep, circulation is decreased in the body - which means there is less blood flow to keep us warm. The best thing to do is to use essentials oils that are blended in carrier oils such as sweet almond, wheatgerm and macadamia as most essential oils need to be diluted when used topically.

Just apply them as you would a moisturiser (all over the body is best) adding a little massage if you have time which doubles the benefit and helps prevent dry skin. Twice a day is best - mornings use a stimulating blend and at night to help you sleep use a calming blend. Essential oils are also of great benefit for anyone with an impaired peripheral circulation and especially for those with diabetes. This can make a great difference for the feet and toes and in some cases can help prevent gangrene and removal of a toe.

Can they be used in the bath?

Yes. And what a lovely way to warm and soften the skin. Hint: to soften the water add 1-2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda.