The word “aroma” means fragrance, or sweet smell, and “therapy” means a treatment designed to aid, help, or cure. Using the essence of plant tissues, including stems, leaves, seeds, needles, roots and bark, obtained through steam or water distillation, Aromatherapy uses fragrant smelling essential oils to heal the body and soothe the mind. An ancient healing practice that has been in use since 2000 B.C., these fragrant oils are most commonly applied to the skin or inhaled.
- Repair cellular structure
- Enhance muscular structure
- Improve circulation
- Balance electrical forces in the body
- Promote a peaceful mind & subconscious self
- FocusingEssential oils from:
- Flower petals/blooms act on the spirit and are used to treat lethargy or lack of interest, for instance, orange blossom or neroli.
- Leaves generally act upon the metabolism to balance and tone, such as lemon verbena or eucalyptus.
- Roots and barks act on mucous membranes and are used to treat persistent, long term conditions.
Direct inhalation of “scents” generally affect the mind psychologically, although inhalation can also have a direct physical effect on the limbic system through the brain and blood circulation.
How are Essential Oils created? Essential oils are the essence of the plant. They are created either by pushing steam or boiling water through at least 20 pounds of plant material. The essential oil that was within the cellular substance of the plant, including the petal, leaf, seed, root, or bark, is then released.
How do you apply Essential Oils? There are numerous applications:
- Inhalations – add oils into a pan of boiling water and inhale
- Aromatic baths – drops can be used in bath water to beautify the skin and heal skin issues
- Hot compresses – soak oil in cloth
- Massage – dilute oils and rub on skin
- Direct palm inhalation – only with oils that can be safely applied to skin. Rub palms together & inhale
- Vaporization/diffusers – create a fine mist of micro-droplets
- Mouthwash – diluted and not swallowed
Sometimes it is confusing and very difficult to know which essential oil is best to use and how to apply it. It is best in these instances to consult your Aroma Therapist. Some methods may not be as cost effective as others, depending on the oils used. Perhaps the most efficient method is dispensing natural therapeutic oils into the room as a fine mist of micro-droplets through the use of an aromatic diffuser.
What should I know before buying Essential Oils? Essential oils are found in many pharmacies, health food stores, new age stores, department stores and natural food supermarkets. You can choose from a wide variety of brands. It is important to realize that all essential oils are not created in the same manner and are not of the same quality. Most essential oils available on the market today are not high quality products and often have little or no therapeutic value. They either have been cut with other substances, rectified, adulterated or are partly synthetic. Most essential oils lack information on their labels about their true content and have no guarantee about their origin and/or therapeutic value. For this reason, and to gain the most benefit from Aromatherapy, buying only certified HEBBD (Scientific Institute of Aromatology) essential oils and consulting an Aroma Therapist is advisable.
Can Aromatherapy be harmful? Yes and no. When used by an Aroma Therapist, Aromatherapy is a safe and effective healing tool. Like all medicines, plants and their essential oils may be harmful and dangerous if used improperly. For example, if they are taken internally when suggested for external use, if they are taken in excess, or if they are taken over too long a period of time. Allergic reactions and unpredictable sensitivities or illness may develop. The strength of wild herbs and various essential oils varies greatly, so knowledge of their growing conditions and distillation methods are helpful. It is important to find a reliable label which stresses the HEBBD (Scientific Institute of Aromatology) stamp of approval, and comes in tamper proof packaging. For these reasons it is advisable to consult an Aroma Therapist before using any essential oils. Two major warnings concerning essential oils:
- Keep essential oils away from eyes at all times!
- Always dilute essential oils before using.