Category Archives: Aromatherapy

The Art of Perfumery

I visited a very interesting exhibition last month. It was a collective project created by TASKO inc. (Japan) in collaboration with Invisible Designer Lab, Yamamoto Seisakusho Co. Ltd, and also the perfumer Yoshitake Toshifume. The exhibit was a perfumery organ, which was inspired by the “Gamut of Odors”, a description method for fragrances devised by the British chemist and perfumer George William Septimus PIESSE in the 19th century. This was the first instrument in the world which played odours and music together.

The classic method of blending perfume is based on the theory of Top, Middle and Base notes. This method was devised by PIESSE, and was based on an analogy with the musical scale. He claimed that scents, like sounds, appeared to influence the olfactory nerves and positioned the odours in correspondence with musical notes according to the scent’s effect on his olfactory sense. Choosing the odours that chord together and your perfume will be harmonious and will steer away from discord.

Above chart came from the book tilted: The Magical and Ritual Use of Perfumes by Richard Alan Miller and Iona Miller published in 1990.

Top notes in such a chord are sharp and penetrating and usually very volatile (i.e. they evaporate very quickly). When you smell a commercial perfume, or an essential oil blend, the top note is what you will notice first. Some typical top notes are Bergamot, Lemon, Thyme and Rosemary.

Middle notes tend to be softer and mellower in character and less volatile than top notes and account for the overall character of a perfume or blend. They are usually used in larger proportion than either the top notes or the base notes, and may account for between 50% – 80% of the blend. Some typical middle notes are the Chamomiles, Lavender and Marjoram Sweet.

Base notes are the deep, often exotic aromas such as Sandalwood, Myrrh, Frankincense which are very slow to evaporate. They are very long lasting on the skin and acts as fixatives for top and middle notes: that means by combining with the more volatile oils they slow down their rate of evaporation and make them last longer.

One of the problems with this theory is that the experts cannot agree with each other as to what constitutes a top, middle or base note. In my professional practice when I formulate an individual therapeutic blend, while I take into consideration of top / middle / base notes I will choose a fragrance that corresponds to the physical, emotional and mental state of the client. One way to heal our mind, body and spirit holistically is through the study of our birth chart, identify the planetary strengths and weaknesses as God gifted us when we were born, and apply the corresponding essential oils to achieve an equilibrium state. How to do this? Let’s talk about this over a cuppa (which comes with a proper astrological consultation).

By the way I have been in love with this brand of essential oils. Their oils do not contain artificial ingredients that would dilute their active qualities and are free of chemical residues. One reason is they work closely with growers to select botanicals of the correct species that are grown in ideal environments and carefully harvested at the right time (planetary hours). Am totally in love with them. You can find more information here, or talk to me. Be well and until next time.

My Signature Scent

Last year when I travelled to India my friend’s wife bought me a bottle of infused attar that I loved so much and used it till the last drop.  Contained inside was so much love of course, and also the essential oil of Champaka (Michelia champaca).  Since then I was entranced by her scent.  My little secret – I always carry a bottle of Champaka EO inside my bag.  It is undiluted hence very powerful and strong.  Whenever I feel not myself, upset and the like, I will apply one drop neat which is enough for the wrists, temples, 3rd eye and heart chakra.  As an aromatherapist I do not advise neat application of any essential oils onto our skin, except a limited few and on special circumstances.  I use Champaka 1 drop neat for energy raising, and also as a stimulating perfume.

Another secret.  All my aromatherapy products have a hint of Champaka.  I put 1 drop of Champaka to 100 ml of my carrier oil as a product base.  When I use the carrier oil to make beauty products, ointments or for therapeutic massage, there is always a very subtle scent of Champaka.  This is my signature scent.  Unless you live in India, good Champaka oil is hard to find.  It is not inexpensive but a 5 ml bottle can last for a very long time use.  If you are living in Hong Kong you can find excellent grade Champaka here.


Champaka is of the same plant family as Magnolia, the botanical name is Magnoliaceae. The scent is intense floral, it is a middle-to-light yellow-reddish oil.  Good qualities one come from steam distillation of blooms.  The main growing areas are India and part of Southern Asia.  Champaka is aphrodisiac, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, wound healing, calming and febrifuge.

The sweet floral fragrance has calming effect to the nerves, at the same time able to restore our energy and increase our confidence.  Ruled by the Sun and Venus, it is valuable remedy for depression, anxiety, stress and grief-related disorders.  If someone has sexual difficulties, particularly frigidity and impotence, massage it (after proper dilution of 2%) onto lower abdomen, sacral and base chakras.  Or put a few diluted drops and run a bath.  It is good for all skin types and particularly good for mature, dry and sensitive skin.  Champaka is regenerative in nature and can help heal wounds, scars and stretch marks.  I use it for meditation and otherwise as a parfum.  You can also blend Champaka in your face moisturiser.  I have been gifting them to friends lately and they all love it.  Here is a formula for a 100ml bottle.  You will be making a little extra and with that amount you can split them into 3 smaller jars if you wish.  Enjoy!

My Fat Journal

Truth is I am obsessed with my weight.  I don’t look very fat (at least that’s what I thought!) but constantly I am thinking about whether I will put on an extra pound by having those delicious chewy chococolate chip cookies, perhaps just another little piece?  I couldn’t stop myself from snacking expecially when I am under stress.  My work is stressful, so is everybody.  Okay, I can make up 100 excuses to justify that extra piece of cookie.  I have heard that stress will increase cortisol level, and when more cortisol releases our body’s fat receptors will open widely.  This will allow us to absorb 4 times more fat than normal.  That’s totally not helping!   Being stress and tired will make you fat.

Few weeks ago I felt the urgent need to conjure the fairies for help.  My lovely essential oils!  How adorable they are.  Here was what I did and I found the methods effective.  I have become more conscious of what I eat, I feel less obssessed with snacking all the time.  Would you like to have a go?  Of course, if you are not like me then just enjoy the poster images below.  Or you may share with your loved ones.

In the morning I use this blend on diffuser, which I called it the no nonsense determination blend to strengthen my willpower – to eat and live a healthy day.  I use Saturn oil (Veitver) for grounding, the Sun oils Sweet Orange and Sweet Basil to keep myself strong and bright.


Once a week (twice if I am good) I use 10 mil Sweet Almond oil to blend with the following essential oils for abdominal massage.  Dill is particularly good for digestion problem.  To me it has a nice Fillet O Fish smell that fulfills my craving.  Ginger is great for her burning sensation, I love my Ginger using CO2 extraction rather than steam distillation.  Cypress is used for firming.  Rose essential oil can isolate lipids in the blood that turn into enzymes that in turn make us fat.  Lavender is added for skincare really.  The direction of the massage stroke has to be clockwise.


Just to ensure I am very determined to eat well rather than eat junk, I have a little aroma pendent with me.  The blend makes me very awake so I use it only in the day.  It has to be taken off at night time.  I need a good 7 hour sleep as research said that below 7 hour sleep will kick up the cortisol again, which will activate four times as many fat receptors…oh dear.  I found this formula from a research article a few years ago that I now use for my pendant.  Thanks to the aromatherapist who invented this.  


Thank you my fairies, and thank you my lovely essential oils.  I still do my snacking some times, but more sensible.  Every day is getting better and better.  I wish you a healthy and happy day.    


  

Workshop Announcement

This month I will be teaching in a workshop on aromatherapy and astrology.  I am very happy with this opportunity that I am going to meet lots of new friends who share similar interests.  It is going to be an interactive workshop where I will give a presentation on an introduction to astrology with focus on the Sun sign, the signature oil of each sign and the safety use of essential oils.  After that I will comment on individual participant’s birth chart, recommend a blend of essential oil that they can DIY during the workshop and take back to their home.

The workshop will take place on Friday evening, 17th March in JGO Holistic Aromatherapy and Heath School.  Registration can be done here.  If you are living in Hong Kong, I very much look forward to seeing you!

Introduction to Astrology and Aromatherapy

A 3-hour Workshop

“The therapeutic function of the signature oil is to bring a person back to the self.”

Patricia Davis, Author of the best-selling aromatherapy book Aromatherapy An A-Z.

Content:

A basic understanding on astrology

Knowing your Sun Sign

Aromatherapy: the principal methods of use

Your signature oils

Bonus: A quick look at your Ascendant and Moon signs, and their appropriate essential oils

Recommended preparation before class:

1 week before the start of the class please provide your birth data: time, date and place of birth.  If you do not know the exact time please make a sensible estimate.

Teacher’s Profile:

Parkson Kwok

Astrologer, Tarot Reader and Aromatherapist (IFA)

BBA (HKU), MA (HKBU), MCIL, Member of AFA (American Federation of Astrologers), Certified Angel Card Reader

Parkson has a lot of passion in the magical world, he has been studying metaphysical arts for over 15 years.  After his busy day job he enjoys giving spiritual consultation for clients of different walk of life.  His current interest is in blending aromatherapy with other forms of metaphysical arts such as astrology, tarot, reiki and crystal therapy.  More stories about Parkson can be found in his occasional blog: http://www.oraclesenboku.com/.

Thyme on violet wooden table

Bunch of fresh thyme on violet wooden table

 

My Aromatic Medicine Chest

At home I have over 100 bottles of essential oils. I like to collect them just like how I collect my tarot decks.  They can last for very long time if they are stored properly. Each time only a few drops will be used.  The quickest one that goes out of stock is true lavender.  I replace her probably once every three months.  The slowest are many.  I have a bottle of benzoin I hardly use because she is so thick to drop and not willing to leave the bottle at all!  Gorgeous vanilla scent though.

Some people ask me for the most useful esssential oils.  I recommend 5 of them, those are invaluable oils to keep in the home medicine chest, or to take with you when traveling.

Lavender – ruled by Mercury, she is a great help for balancing nervous system, especially for stress-related issues.  Use in a vapourizer or with 5 to 6 drops in a running bath. Just enjoy the scent and allow your mind to rest.  Also very useful when there is a cut wound.  Direct neat application onto the wound speeds up healing. A drop on the pillow promotes sleep.

Tea Tree – he is good for skin acne.  Also invaluable for its antiseptic, fungicidal, antiviral and immune-stimulant properties.  Ruled by Saturn he is so powerful I will dilute tea tree with carrier oil before application.  

Rosemary – ruled by the Sun she has stimulant properties on our mental and nervous systems.  A protective essential oil that I use for cleansing in my spiritual rituals.  She is strengthening, restorative, purifying, reviving and refreshing.  I also vapourise it together with lemon essential oil to boost memory. 

Roman Chamomile – ruled by the Moon she is the best children’s remedy. A mild relaxant and anti-inflammatory agent.  This oil smells lovely, very mild and encourages sleep and relaxation.  Excellent for treating insomnia and nervous tension.

Peppermint – I love everything peppermint!  Ruled by Mercury not only it is good for digestive complaints such as nausea or indigestion, it is also indispensable for problems in our respiratory system.  And if you have fever, try drink some peppermint tea to reduce the heat.

Oral prescription however is not advised.  It should only be practiced by suitably trained medical doctors, who, like qualified herbalists, have undergone many years of training. 

Hope you will have an opportunity to try them out. These 5 oils are generally safe and good for home remedies.