Aromatherapy is a method of using the aromatic oils which have been distilled from plant sources to engender a feeling of well being both physically and psychologically. Safe and correct use has been shown to benefit the physical and mental well being.
There are many aromatherapy oils which are used in the art of aromatherapy and these are too lengthy to list here. However, there are many benefits to be had from aromatherapy oils but you need to understand that there can be some drawbacks for use in aromatherapy although many people say there are greater benefits.
The Science - When a person inhales an essential oil that scent is carried by olfactory nerve cells in the nose to the olfactory system which then sends the aroma to the brain, namely the limbic system, the house of emotions and emotional behaviour such as intimacy, passion and sex.
Remember that safety is of the utmost importance and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions as otherwise a reaction, possibly very severe can take place. It is important to remember to consult a trained specialist before using aromatherapy oils.
The other method of using aromatherapy oils in is by application to the skin. It is thought that when oil is applied to the skin it is absorbed into the blood-stream and is useful for many health, beauty and hygiene conditions.
The Science - Essential oils have high antioxidant properties as measured by the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), a test developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Tufts University to measure the antioxidant speed and power of free radical inhibition (which means the speed they clear up the cells).
Again, I must stress the safety aspect as aromatherapy oils are usually very strong and it is important that they are always diluted before you use them. To dilute them a carrier oil is needed and these are oils such as grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil and apricot kernel oil.
Another way that aromatherapy oils can be used is to act as an insect repellent. We are all familiar with the use of citronella in candles. I find these excellent as a way of keeping bugs at bay.
While you may find some that recommend ingesting oils, I do not recommend it. Again they are extremely concentrated and powerful.
Holistic Benefits (vs. Pharmaceuticals)
Aromatherapy oils can also be blended together and this can be done with a carrier base although there are some exceptions. Combination oils or oil blends, can have even more benefits in aromatherapy as they then offer a combination of uses. The Internet has many sites where you will be able to find recipes for blending together different oils with their uses listed as well.
The term aromatherapy is a fairly recent phrase first thought to have been used in the 20th century but the practice of aromatherapy has been around for well over 1000 years.
The Egyptians are thought to have developed a way of distilling oil from cedar wood and the Chinese have used plant and herbal incense from a very long time which they burned to give a feeling of well being. René-Maurice Gattefossé, A Frenchman, is first thought to have used the term aromatherapy after he supposedly treated a nasty burn with the nearest liquid to hand which turned out to be oil distilled from lavender. This wound healed quickly and it left no scaring. This started his in-depth research into essential oils.
We are now becoming more aware of natural products after we have relied on synthetic drugs for many years, and like other alternative healing methods, aromatherapy is growing in popularity. Most of us prefer to use natural products, such as aromatherapy oils, to sooth and heal our minds and bodies. Gattefossé would have said, Long Live Aromatherapy! Using essential oils for aromatherapy is natural and is an excellent way to help calm and sooth our troubled 21st century lives.
Buying Essential Oils
Before I go though, I feel like I'd not be doing any justice if I neglected to mention a word of caution before buying essential oils. Not all oils are created the same. Take the time to educate yourself on the proper use of oils and what the best brands are. Go with brands that are 100% pure, natural and safe. You'll also want a good blend (pun intended) of cost and quality.
While there may be some debate about who is absolutely the best, we have our list of favorites including, doTERRA Essential Oils, Young Living Essential Oils, Plant Therapy Essential Oils, and Rocky Mountain Oils.
Our best of the best is Rocky Mountain Oils, for being amongst the top of the line in quality at a great price.
For some more information related to Essential Oils and their use, try the Rocky Mountain Oil learning resource then see what I mean for yourself.