By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist
One of the aspects I find amazing about aromatherapy is its core concept of synergy. Derived from the Greek “synergos,” synergy essentially distills down to “working together.” In practice, it is “the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements.”  Or, as we still commonly quote Aristotle today “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
To me, this is the true beauty of aromatherapy — “working together” for an even greater outcome. It is amazing to me that aromatherapy works in synergy on so many levels. What an awe-inspiring concept forming the foundation of this holistic healing art, not just between essential oil and concern, but also nature and our whole being.
Aromatherapy works in synergy with our minds, bodies, and spirits. The aromatic essences themselves don’t cure or fix anything. They support our beings coming back into balance so that all the aspects of our existence can restore and renew in our natural healing state.
Nature also creates synergy within the essential oils themselves. We can reduce each essential oil to its few primary constituents. But, as a whole, each aromatic essence may also have hundreds of minor constituents that in their entirety create its own synergy working together in a unique signature.
In our Essential Education blog, “Beginning Blending 1, 2, 3,” we also discussed the concept of synergy. This is the proper name of undiluted essential oils blended together to create a therapeutic outcome greater than that of a single essential oil alone.
Within all these simultaneous levels of synergy in aromatherapy, you will also find what I refer to as “Dynamic Duos.” This is when certain paired essential oils can work exceptionally well together with an especially dynamic effect. Your salt and pepper or peanut butter and jelly of the aromatherapy world if you will.
I have outlined below three notable examples of Dynamic Duos I have learned about along the way and especially like to use. There are many more, of course, and you may find your own. These are just a few to illustrate this effect and get you started.
Lavender and Peppermint
Lavandula angustifolia and Mentha x piperita
This pairing is an old standby for good reason. This synergy of Lavender and Peppermint makes a marvelous massage blend for issues in the tissues. It is especially soothing for nervous tension of the mind, accompanied by discomfort in the body from head to toe. The combined effects are relieving and releasing to knots, tightness, and stiffness and for sore, tired, overworked muscles and joints.
Suggested Usage: Mix in a 2% dilution with Marvelous Massage ™ Carrier Oil Blend, Jojoba Carrier Oil, or Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil. Use for all over body massage, foot massage, or tightness from tension around the head and neck.
Enhancements: Choose any other complementary essential oils to help enhance the effect on concerns such as: Marjoram Sweet Origanum majorana or Chamomile Roman Chamaemelum nobile for calming nervous tension and reducing stiffness and knots.
Cautions: Peppermint is not KidSafe. Do not apply on or near the face of infants and children. We recommend a maximum dilution of 5% for topical applications.
Black Pepper and Helichrysum Italicum
Piper nigrum and Helichrysum italicum
Black Pepper is well known for its relieving action on discomfort in the body, especially for numbing the type that may be hot and throbbing. I use Black Pepper quite often in synergies especially for issues with my back and love the relief it brings. Along the way, I came across the suggestion to pair Helichrysum Italicum with Black Pepper for an even greater dynamic effect with this type of discomfort (I can’t recall the teacher, so if it was you please let me know)
Oh my goodness, what a difference! While the Black Pepper was soothing on its own, just a tad of the Helichrysum gave it a turbo boost in terms of the perception and duration of relief. Now, I always pair the two for these types of concerns. While Helichrysum can be pricey, you only need a small ratio in your synergy and if you suffer from these issues, the relief is priceless.
Enhancements: Because this type of discomfort in the tissues may also create tightness and knots, you might add another warming, relieving, and releasing essence such as Ginger Root CO2 Zingiber officinale.
Cautions: If adding Ginger CO2: It is not KidSafe. We recommend a maximum dilution of 1% for topical applications.
Rosemary 1,8-Cineole and Peppermint
Rosmarinus officinalis and Mentha x piperita
Rosemary 1, 8 Cineole and Peppermint create a perfect pairing for supporting the mind. Each provides its own unique and some similar benefits, but together these benefits become boosted. This duo can help with feeling alert and focused while helping to clear your mind; it can support concentration and memory; and, it can be invigorating and stimulating when dealing with mental fatigue.
They also make a dynamic duo in supporting the respiratory system from seasonal threats whether they are on board or if you have been exposed.
Suggested Usage: For the supporting the mind or respiratory system, the best approach is inhalation with diffuser or aromatherapy inhaler. For the body, or to tackle all three issues with an invigorating massage, create a 2% blend with Marvelous Massage ™ Carrier Oil Blend, Jojoba Carrier Oil, or Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil .
Enhancements: Lemon Citrus x limon makes a nice addition for its clarifying, clearing, refreshing, uplifting, and energizing effects.
Cautions: Rosemary 1, 8 Cineole is not KidSafe. Do not apply to or near the face of infants or children. We recommend a maximum dilution of 4% for topical applications.
Peppermint is not KidSafe. Do not apply on or near the face of infants and children. We recommend a maximum dilution of 5% for topical applications.
If including Lemon in a massage or other topical blend, we recommend a maximum dilution of 2% to avoid photosensitivity. You can also use Lemon Steam Distilled to be safe in the sun.
 “Synergy.” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, www.dictionary.com/browse/synergy.
Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Aromatic Medicine Making. Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.
Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-being. London: HarperThorsons, 2014. Print.
Worwood, Valerie Ann. Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant … Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home an. Place of Publication Not Identified: New World Library, 2016. Print.