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What Are Custom Blends?

Custom blends are what I am all about.

I love helping people with their unique situations and problems. Although massage is the favored method of application because it combines the benefits of the essential oils with the power of therapeutic touch, that does not mean that the oils cannot be used in other ways, such as inhalation, roll-on perfume, sniffing from a handkerchief or in the bath.  Although I can make custom blends for physical wounds, acne,  burns or bruises, I am mainly talking here about the blends I create to help with psychological and emotional issues.  

When I meet with a client for the first time I run through a questionnaire and have a brief conversation about their current mental, emotional and physical state. I also establish when they last saw their doctor. From there I can choose the best oils to use in making up a blend that is then used during the massage. This is a pretty delicate decision. It involves really listening and picking up on the subtleties of what is truly going on for the client. 

Take head-ache, for example. I could have two different people who present with headache. Chances are they will not end up with the same ‘headache’ blend. Sure I can make a generic blend for headaches and it would be helpful with that headache, but having being trained in stress-management what I am always looking for is the “reason” . I am wanting to get to the root of why this headache, why now, what does it feel like in the client, are there any other little niggling symptoms in combination with this headache, what is this body trying to say about the emotional state of this person. 

Often people will mention in passing that something recently occurred. Other times, after a little delving, it emerges that this and a host of other symptoms began a few years ago and upon further questioning we realize that it was around that same time that something relevant happened to them.

A headache stemming from overwork is different from one stemming from depression. Deeper still is the ‘overwork” headache is different depending on whether it is from over stimulation, insufficient sleep, racing thoughts or from being overwhelmed or having feelings of not being valued. Likewise, a headache linked to depression – is it from grief and loss?  sadness from trauma? or an imbalance that is already under medical supervision? 

It's the same process for stomach ache, back ache, insomnia and any other issue.

Creating a custom blend is unique to the individual. It is made for a specific ailment using pure essential oils and carrier oils. It may only be one or two drops different from another person’s blend – either in the quantity of drops or choice of oils. Every aromatherapy massage is with a custom blend, as are blends created upon request, following a telephone consultation. 

At the next session that person’s blend could remain the same, slightly altered or a complete new set of oils chosen.  

An off-the-shelf or ready made, blend is different to a custom blend in that it is formulated for general use, usually therapeutically for common conditions, as a mood scent or as a perfume. When making a blend for the general public there are different safety considerations. An off-the-shelf blend has to take into account the scope of illness, conditions, allergies, pregnancy etc in the general population…known as contra-indications. Also, the blend has to be lower in potency to avoid the risk of adverse reactions, because there is no control over who might buy the blend. 

When doing a one-on-one session it is stressed that the blend is for that person only, any contra-indications are uncovered during the questionnaire and certain oils can be avoided if necessary. Once the safety and oil choice is established then the potency of the blend is considered through the knowledge of the oils and their properties, and from experience. Often it is about sitting with an oil and ‘feeling’ it, while being mindful of the information that the client has just provided. Sometimes I can hit on two oils for the blend but am torn between 2 other oils for my third choice. It often comes down to holding a bottle of each oil in my hand,  sniffing each one, or asking the client to smell and choose. The client’s preference is also an indication as to what is going on for them. 

As you can imagine, it can take time for a client to ‘open up’ and trust me with personal information. Having a conversation and making a small quantity of a blend allows for this relationship to  evolve and the blend can be changed at each session. For a client, the whole experience of providing  information allows mental processing and emotional expression to take place. This brings about a degree of empowerment and healing within the client, in a safe, supporting and nurturing place. 

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