What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the use of the essential, volatile plant essential oils for physical and psychological well-being. It’s worth mentioning that plant essential oils don’t just smell good – various plant oils have myriad therapeutic properties. Almost all essential oils have antiseptic qualities, and various others have anti-inflammatory, antifungal, or decongestant effects, just to name a few. Various essential oils also have an effect on emotions, by having calming, uplifting, or energizing properties.
Why homemade soap?
The main difference between homemade soap and commercial soap is that homemade soap uses just oils and sodium hydroxide or lye (which turns the oils into soap), while commercial soaps user cheaper ingredients and chemicals to produce soap.
One of the main benefits of homemade soap is that it contains glycerin. Glycerin is a byproduct of the saponification process, and it is an incredible moisturizer. Commercial soap manufacturers remove glycerin from their soap during the manufacturing process because they can sell it to make more money, and because removing it extends the shelf life of the soap so that it can sit in warehouses or on store shelves for years and years. When people first use homemade soap, they notice that it moisturizing without being greasy. This is because of the glycerin that is present in homemade soap. Homemade soap is not drying like commercial soap.
Do you have to use lye?
Yes. People are always flummoxed by this one. They seem to remember some type of goat’s milk or glycerin soap that didn’t use lye. The truth is, all soap uses lye to create soap. However, the lye serves as a catalyst, changing the oils into soap, and is not present in the finished bar (given the soap is made properly). Soapmaking that requires no lye is usually of the melt and pour variety – meaning that soap that was previously made using lye is being remelted to make new soap creations.
Why bath salts?
Bath salts are therapeutic for a number of reasons: they soften the water, help remove body oils and perspiration, clean the pores, relax the muscles, and help to detoxify the body. The addition of essential oils to the bath salts enhances these benefits, and can provide emotional benefits as well. Bath salts have also been found to help with psoriasis, eczema and other dry skin conditions.
Sea salts also contain many minerals that are beneficial to the body. Dead Sea Salt, which I use in my bath salts, contains 10 times more minerals than ordinary sea salt, minerals which assist in cleansing, detoxifying and restoring a healthy balance to the body, especially the skin and muscles. These naturally occurring minerals include: Sulfur, Chlorine, Iodine, Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Bromine.
An additional benefit of bath salts is that they make the water softer. Most of the water in the US is hard, which when used for washing creates soap scum in your bathtub, and leaves a fine film on skin and hair, leaving them dull and rough. Adding salt to bath water makes the water feel silky and smooth, and helps to make soap work better, preventing it from leaving a residue.