What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is derived from two words. aroma – meaning fragrance or smell and therapy – meaning treatment. it is the practice of using essential oils to maintain and promote physical and emotional well-being. essential oils have been around for centuries, used by many different cultures, in a variety of ways and as a form of holistic therapy. Research has shown essential oils to be some of the strongest metabolite agents; ridding the body of toxins and fighting infections. Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing fields in holistic medicine.
The current interest in the practice of aromatherapy seems to emphasize the fact that nature is continuing to offer us ways to heal ourselves while allowing us to enjoy the beauty that is before us. Classed as a holistic therapy, aromatherapy is now offered by many hospitals that employ aromatherapist to enhance their patient’s general well-being and optimize their quality of life. The aim of aromatherapy is centered on the healing of the body, mind and spirit.
The history of aromatherapy goes back thousands of years. Plant oils are mentioned several times in the Bible. Aromatic plants and essential oils were used in biblical times. Cleopatra was also known to use essential oils in her perfumery. The Egyptians used aromatic plant essences to treat both physical and mental health problems. In the East, Chinese doctors also knew the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
The science and practice of modern aromatherapy and concepts began with a French chemist named Rene-Maurice Gattefosse. Around the year 1910, Gattefosse discovered the healing properties of lavender oil after severely burning his hand in a laboratory explosion, and needing to cool it down, put his entire hand into a vat of pure lavender essential oil. The pain was gone almost instantly. Over the next few days his burn healed with no scars or infections. This led him into a lifetime of research and discovery on the subject of essential oils.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are found in different parts of the plant:
- flowering tops lavender.chamomile
- grass lemongrass.palmarosa.
- leaves peppermint.cinnamon
- peel lemon.bergamot.orange
- seed cardamon.fennel
- twig cypress.tea tree.eucalyptus
- wood rosewood.cedarwood
- gum frankincense
Because of their properties, essential oils are widely used in perfumes, flavorings and medicines. The main methods are steam distillation, by compression, dissolving the oils out (extraction) or absorbing them, and by pressure and maceration (to separate into constituents by soaking). The methods used to extract the essential oil are time consuming and expensive and require a high degree of expertise. To maintain all of the therapeutic qualities, it must be extracted by steam distillation using extremely low pressure and low heat as not to defile the quality of the oil. The name “essential” is derived from the Latin “quintessential”, meaning the fifth element. The fifth element was the vital element the alchemist sought to change base metals into gold.
Each oil renders valuable health benefits when properly used in aromatherapy. Essential oils do not need to pass through the digestive system and can enter through the skin by massage oils, by various methods of inhalation, compressesor vaporizers.
Essential oils interact with the body in three distinct ways: pharmacologically chemical change (through the blood stream), physiologically (effects the systems of the body) and psychologically (inhaled and a response is generated by the aroma). Given that it takes in excess of 220 pounds of rose petals to produce only 4 or 5 teaspoonfuls of oil, the chemical complexity and high concentration of essential oils makes every drop valuable and powerful. Once you understand the principles of essential oils, you will want them in your life forever.
Out top 7 Essential Oils
Lavender for everyday use is simply the most widely recommended oil for therapeutic benefits and for personal enjoyment. After a demanding day reach for the floral sweet smell that calms the nerves and relaxes the mind. This wonderful balancing oil will treat skin burns, soothe menstrual cramps and add to your overall sense of facing new challenges with anticipation and sensitivity. Can be used throughout the day to relieve stress and headaches.
Eucalyptus is commonly used in remedies to treat coughs and the common cold. Because it helps loosen phlegm many herbal practitioners recommend inhaling eucalyptus vapors to help treat bronchitis. Eucalyptus oil is rich in cineole (a potent antiseptic that kills bacteria responsible for bad breath). Also, its camphoraceous smell in combination with lemon is often used as
an insect repellent.
If you’re needing to feel a little more energetic and purposeful certainly try rosemary oil in your morning bath or shower. It is a warming and invigorating oil that improves circulation and enhances concentration and is recommended for use during exercise classes to prevent soreness. Also, many aromatherapist find it excellent for scalp and hair treatments. It is antiseptic and unfriendly to colds and flu, as well as a detoxifying oil.
Many world-class chefs find it indispensable as a culinary herb.
Tea Tree essential oil more than any other antiseptic oil is expected to do the therapeutic heavy lifting in aromatherapy. It is the most used first-aid oil in the practice of alternative medicine. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and used in the treatment of poor oral hygiene. Every home medicine cabinet should have a bottle. Tea tree tends to be extroverted and concentrated so be a little shy and careful with its application.
The scent of orange reduces anxiety and lightly lowers high blood pressure. Diffuse orange to help ease symptoms of bronchitis, colds, the flu, and to soothe stress and depression. A clockwise abdominal massage of orange may ease constipation and water retention. Orange makes an excellent body moisturizer, and when added to the bath has a calming effect. Orange has excellent de-greasing and cleaning properties.
Peppermint essential oil, as a massage oil over the abdomen relaxes the muscles to help in the digestion of heavy meals and relieves flatulence, cramping, nausea and specific disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint oil relieves the itching of ringworm, blisters, poison oak and ivy and stimulates oil production in dry skin and hair. Many bacterial and viral infections are destroyed by it.
Sounds exotic, mischievous and playful and scientific research on this unique flower native to Indonesia bears this out. Being produced in Madagascar this romantic mood setting oil is known to be a powerful aphrodisiac and sedates the nerves to give one a sense of well-being.
Restless nights are no longer tolerated as ylang ylang is now recognized as an alternative to lavender in helping to prevent insomnia.
Below, we’ve listed the essential oils that are most problematic for certain conditions.
Pregnancy: cedarwood, chamomile, lavender, peppermint, rose and rosemary
Photosensitizing: (reacts with sunlight) angelica, bergamot, lemon, orange, grapefruit and mandarin
Epilepsy: fennel (sweet), hyssop, rosemary and sage (all types)
Note:The information provided on this site is provided for
educational purposes only. Aromatherapy Thymes magazine and aromatherapythymes.com or the sponsor Erbaviva, cannot be
responsible for misuse of essential oils/alternative health remedies
or methods discussed.
Absolute not considered a pure essential oil because a solvent is used to extract the fragrance from the flower, but many perfumers prefer this method.
Aromatherapy the practice of using essential oils to maintain and promote
physiological and psychological
Adulteration a misleading practice that manufacturers may use to increase their profits by diluting concentrated essential oils.
Base notes indicates essential oils that evaporate extremely slow when applied to the skin, less volatile than their “top” or “middle” note counterparts.
Botanical names a name given in “latin” to distinguish species of similar origins.
Carrier oils natural based oils, such as in olive or avocado that enhance the absorption of essential oils.
Cold pressed the pressing of seeds, fruit peels and vegetables to release vital oils.
Diffuser aromatherapy accessory used to disperse essential oils into the air for olfactory benefit.
Enfleurage a process of extracting essential oil compounds from plant leaves and flowers.
Essential oils vital therapeutic materials found in plants, flowers, seeds or bark.
Extraction method by which essential oils are separated from the plant; methods include distillation, expression and solvent extraction.
Floral water better known as hydrosols, the true aroma essence of the flower faintly dissolved in water by distillation.
Infusion procedure of soaking plants in carrier oils to release their properties.
Photosensitizing any substance that increase the sensitivity to the sun.
Perfume oil synthetic substances made in the laboratory to approximate natural aromas, but have no therapeutic value.
Synergy a “wholeness of parts” concept that suggests that blended oils have a
therapeutic effect together than when applied apart.
Toxicity essentials oils that may cause serious injury or harm if used in large amounts or at all.
Volatile the degree of ease in which an essential oil will evaporate.
Essential Oil Safety Guide
Essential Oils Can Be Harmful If Not Used Carefully
Never use essential oils as a substitute for necessary medical care. Always consult a qualified health professional. Only the finest quality pure essential oils should be used in aromatherapy. Read and follow label instructions and warnings.
Do Not Use Essential Oils Directly On The Skin
Essential oils may cause skin irritation. Always use carrier oil such as jojoba oil. Undiluted essential oils can cause skin irritation and/or a systemic reaction. If skin irritation or an allergic reaction occurs from using any oil, stop using it.
Health Related Issues
People with asthma, epilepsy, and high blood pressure should avoid using essential oils. Please read the label for essential oil use during pregnancy or consult your physician.
Keep Essential Oils Out Of The Reach Of Infants and Children
If accidental ingestion takes place, seek immediate medical attention. Prevention is better than cure. Never allow children access to essential oils.
Do Not Take Essential Oils Internally
Several essential oils that are safe to use externally are toxic if taken internally.
Essential Oils Are Flammable
Keep essential oils clear of fire hazards.
Some Essential Oils Are Photosensitive
Citrus oils such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, mandarin, bergamot, angelica, etc., are photosensitive and may cause a rash or pigmentation problems. Avoid prolonged sun exposure after applying pure citrus oils to the skin.
Essential Oils to Avoid
The following essential oils can be harmful and toxic if used: Many are not available and some are on a government list of “Poison Oils.” Bitter almond, arnica, birch, sweet, camphor (brown and yellow), cassia cinnamon bark, costus, exotic basil, fig leaf, hyssop, mugwort, pennyroyal, sage, dalmation, sassafras, tansy, tarragon, thuja, verbena, wintergreen, wormseed, wormwood.
Note: The information provided on this site is provided for educational purposes only. Aromatherapy Thymes magazine and aromatherapythymes.com cannot be responsible for misuse of essential oils/alternative health remedies or methods discussed. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professionals.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professionals.