Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali: Essential oils, and everything you need to know about them.

Dear all,

In this Blog Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali wants to inform you about  essential oils, ways of extraction, how to use them and how to explain the huge price differences.

1.) What are essential oils?

I would say, that essential oils is a term that most people have heard about. And especially for those who are working in the Spa industries or who maybe run their own Spa, it is part of our daily work. And of course here in our Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali we are using essential oils as well in massage oils, as fragrant in Aromatherapy or as Insect repellant. But what exactly is an essential oil?

As a definition we could say, that an essential oil is a volatile oil, usually having the characteristic odor or flavor of the plant from which it is obtained. So the oil is “essential” in the sense that it carries certain characteristics(scent, odor, essence) of a plant.

Essential oils do not form distinctive categories, for medical, pharmacological, culinary or any other imaginable purpose.

But even though essential oils do not form distinctive medical categories, they have been used for medical reasons and of course further for massage oils, in cosmetic products, soaps and of course for adding scent to incense.

2. ) How are essential oils produced?

Of Course Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali wants to provide you as well with interesting information about the production of essential oils. The extraction methods for essential oils are: Enfleurage, Expression, Steam Distilling, Solvent extraction, Super Critical Fluid Extraction and the Phytonic Process.

The Super Critical Fluid Extraction and the Phytonic Process( as well called Florasolextraction) are very new methods of essential oil production. The equipment for the Super Critical Fluid Extraction is still very expensive and so it is not yet used so much, but Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali still wants to explain it here with a few words. 

The Super Critical Fluid Extraction is a method of essential oil extraction, which uses Carbon Dioxid in a special form. Carbon Dioxid usually is a gas, or a solid when frozen and well known as the so called dry ice. If you go the opposite way and you increase the temperature and the pressure over the so called STP(standard temperature and pressure) you get something new, what has properties somewhere midway between a gas and a liquid ; a so called supercritical fluid.

This liquid can now be pressed through plant material, where it acts as a solvent. The advantage of this method is that the CO2 can be easily completely removed and that of course produces a very pure essential oil and will be maybe later make it an alternative to the classical solvent extraction, which is described later on. I think that the Spa industry or the industry in general looks very interested to this new method, and as well we here at Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali hope to hear news about this new method.

The Phtonic Process/Florasol Extraction  is a very new method that uses “non-chloroflurocarbons” who are as well referred to as phytols. The quality of the produced oils is close to nature, but it has to be said that the process uses fluro-hydrocarbons, which can be potentially harmful and are definitely not good for the environment.

Next Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali wants to explain about the Enfleurage and Steam Distillation.

Both of these are opposite to the two methods mentioned before very old techniques, but still in use for the production of essential oils.

The Enfleurage  is one of the oldest forms of producing essential oils and fragrance. It can be done as a “cold enfleurage” or as a “hot enfleurage”. In both methods normally animal fat from pork or beef, so called lard or tallow is used. In the cold enfleurage a thin layer of this fat is first spread onto a framed plate of glass and then for example Jasmine flowers are placed on it. Now the volatile oil of these flowers is allowed to diffuse into the fat for 1-3 days, producing the so called “enfleurage pomade”. In hot enfleurage the fat would be heated and the flowers stirred into the fat. The product at this point would be as well a so called “enfleurage pomade”.

If we wash it now with ethyl alcohol to move the violate oil into the alcohol and allow the alcohol later to evaporate it will leave behind the “essence”.

Enfleurage was a long time the only possibility to extract so delicate essential oils like Jasmin. Now let’s come to the Steam Distillation.

 In Steam Distillation the raw plant material is put into a so called alembic, over water and as the water is heated, the steam passes through the plant material, vaporizing the essential oil. The vapor now has to flow through a coil where it can condense and is then collected in a vessel. Today most common essential oils- such as lavender, peppermint and so on are produced in this way.

The Expression now is one of the mentioned essential oil extractions left. It is simply mechanically pressed. This method is for example used for citrus peel because of the relatively high amounts of essential oil citrus peel contains. These essential oils are produced as byproducts and relatively cheap.

Last but not least Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali wants to introduce you to the solvent extraction.

The Solvent Extraction uses chemicals such as hexane, acetone, di-methylene chloride and others to extract essential oils. Using this method the plant is actually immersed into the solvent to become a thick substance called “concrete”. Often now another solvent, such as ethyl alcohol is used to extract the fragrant or essential oil from the concrete. Allowing the alcohol to evaporate it leaves behind the so called “absolute” or essential oil. Of course we don’t prefer this method, because of the use of chemicals, but at this point simply has to be mentioned that vegetable oils are produced in the same way, still delivering a product that can be eaten!!!

Knowing now the amounts of essential oils that might be used in massage oil we are talking about extreme small amounts of solvents that might remain!

But of course Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali and probably many others would be happy about alternatives and maybe the Supercritical Fluid Extraction will offer that one day.

3.) Why are there so huge differences in the price of essential oils?

Here in our Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali we are often asked why prices of essential oils offered in Supermarkets differ so much prices of the essential oils we and other high class Spa offer.

There has to be first mentioned, that in general there are big differences in the the production prices of essential oils in general. So we already know that one factor is definitely the extraction method that is used. But there are other criteria as well, like for example the availability of raw material and that makes for example Sandelwood essential oil(what needs ages until it can be harvested ) compared to clove essential oil(what can be distilled out of the leaves) an expensive essential oil. And last but not least don’t forget that cheap essential oils are very often synthetic products ( and should then be called fragrance) or simply not pure!

4.) What should be considered when using essential oils?

When handling different essential oils please be aware that the potential danger of essential oil is generally relative to its level or grade of purity. That means the higher the level of purity; the more careful we have to handle them. In general you have to say that essential oils have to be diluted before they should come into contact with the body. Doesn’t matter in which way you want to use them, as a Perfume, a Mist or for massage, we first have to mix them! In case of an massage oil we normally mix the essential oil with a so called carrier/base oil. Example for that could be Olive oil more info, Sunflower oil more info, Grapeseed oil more info, Sweet Almond oil more info, Jojoba oil more info, Apricot Kernel oil more info, Soy Bean oil, Coconut oil and many more. In our Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali we follow the following guidelines when blending massage oils:

Body massage-50 drops essential oil/100ml base oil

Facial massage-25 drops essential oil/100ml base oil

Children 1 year to 12 years-25drops essential oil/100ml base oil

Elderly people-25drops essential oil/100ml base oil

Babies up to 1 year- No! essential oils!! Pure Sunflower oil is perfect for infant massage

Pregnant woman- No essential oils

If not diluted and directly applied to the skin some essential oils can cause severe irritation, provocatean allergic reaction and, over time even be hepatotoxic (that means to damage the liver!).

Please be as well aware that other essential oils, like for example many of the citrus peel oils increase the skins vulnerability to sunlight. Apart from that it is suggested to not use essential oils internal!

I mean just the fact that many of them can attack plastic bottles, should make clear that the stomach isn’t the right place for essential oils. Some of them can have as well certain toxicity if taken orally.

In the end we would like to recommend doing a bit of a research before using a new essential oil. And there will be soon Article published in our Blog concentrating on the different essential oils.

5.) What are essential oils mainly used for?

Essential oils have a very wide range of use and so of course the main usage in the Spa and Beauty industry is the usage in massage oils, creams, perfume, body mist and many more. They are as well the key ingredient of Aromatherapy an alternative healing method, and here in our Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali we use them as well frequently as insect repellant, or as fragrance for face towel( for example lavender).

Outside of the Spa essential oils are used as well, for example for flavoring food(but just certain, in certain amounts and quality’s!!!! Pls. don’t experiment with that!!!), Household Cleaner, and even today still in medicine. So is for example juniper valued for his diuretic effects and Thymol well known for its antiseptic effects.(By the way a Tea made of Thyme leaves helps very well with colds and diseases of the respiratory system).

In the end Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali wants to show you a list of essential oils we are using in our Spa and which will be soon subject of further article.

Lemongrass essential oil read more

Citronella essential oil

Tea Tree essential oil

Clove essential oil read more

Rose essential oil

Jasmine essential oil

Lavender essential oil

Peppermint essential oil read more

Sandalwood essential oil

Ylang – Ylang essential oil

Frangipany essential oil read more

Cempaka essential oil

Cinnamon essential oil

Patchouli essential oil

Spiral Spa @ Bloo, Padang Bai, Bali hopes you enjoyed reading.

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