Blending Essential Oils: Enhancing Synergy

By Jessica North-O’Connell

When I was first introduced to the idea of aromatherapy, images of beautiful bottles in a crowded apothecary filled with exotic essential oils immediately filled my imagination. I could envision myself as an eager Alchemist, entranced by myriads of plant spirits and essences, creating magnificent blends to ease the suffering of my fellow humans and add to their delight in living.

The truth of my experience is far more prosaic, however, though undoubtedly much more practical!

I was trained to create blends, usually consisting of four essential oils in a carrier, mostly for use in full body massage. At each client session, I would choose a selection from those essential oils most appropriate to the condition(s) we were addressing, then the client would choose four according to which scents appealed to them.

Image by Jennifer C.

After a very short while, though, I found I would pretty much know which essential oils would be chosen as soon as the client came through the door. I continued using the method I’d been taught, however, and enjoyed my intuition in secret, while appreciating the confirmation.

The spa where I worked part-time also followed the same blending formula of four essential oils in varying amounts in their signature blends. The ratios varied but consisted of a combination of top notes, middle notes, and base notes, the practice with which aromatherapists are familiar from our basic training in blending.

One day I was at a workshop where the facilitator, Dr. Vivian Lumby, introduced us to the idea of blending essential oils in odd number combinations, 3-5-7, etc. This practice, she explained, enhanced the synergy* of the blend itself and I have used this method ever since, with good results. However, the only way to know if it’s right for you is to try it for yourself.

Happy blending!

*Synergy occurs when the elements combined enhance one another’s effects; what happens when “the sum is greater than the parts.”

Jessica North-O’Connell is founding Priestess of Faerie Mound Mystery School and Great Goddess Alive! Alchemical Arts & Services. She has been a practicing aromatherapist for 20 years, a Reiki and Soul Realignment practitioner, as well as a Tarot and Rune reader. She offers classes and programs and has aspirations of opening a Retreat center for creative recovery. Find her at and