Aromatherapy is the inhalation and bodily application of essential oils from aromatic plants to relax, balance, rejuvenate, restore or enhance body, mind and spirit. Pure essential oils are extracted from many parts of the plant including the flower, leaf, resin, bark, root, twig, seed, berry, rind and rhizome.
A basic principle of Aromatherapy is to strengthen the self-healing processes by indirect stimulation of the immune system. The depth of use of essential oils is quite wide, ranging from deep and penetrating therapeutic uses to the extreme subtlety of a unique fragrance.
Aromatherapy is considered by some to be an ancient yet timely and modern approach to total well being that is in tune with nature. Aromatherapists, armed with a technical understanding of an oil`s constituents, artfully blend essential oils to produce new aromas.
The results of Aromatherapy are very individual. While there is general agreement about the actions of certain oils, Aromatherapy texts may vary in their descriptions of the properties and characteristics of an essential oil. In addition, no two people are affected by the same essential oil in exactly the same way. Even the same person can be affected differently by the same oil depending on surroundings, time of day or mood.
Today in the West, the popularity of Aromatherapy as an alternative or complementary therapy is growing rapidly. According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, in the U.S. Aromatherapy is a $300 million dollar business, and they project it to be a $1 billion dollar business by the year 2000. (Health Foods Business 12/98, p.26) Already, in areas of Europe it is common to find mainstream doctors who practice Aromatherapy and health insurance companies that reimburse for treatments.
What are the Different Types of Aromatherapy?
The different types of Aromatherapy are cosmetic, massage and olfactory. Regardless of which type of Aromatherapy you choose, essential oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil.
Cosmetic Aromatherapy combines essential oils with facial, skin, body and hair care products containing all natural ingredients.
Aromatherapy for Massage combines
the healing touch of massage therapy with
the aromatic benefits of essential oils..
Olfactory Aromatherapy releases essential oils into the environment around you either by inhaling or diffusion. For inhalation, you can either dispense the essential oil into a handkerchief or spray a mixture of essential oils and distilled water into the air and breathe in. Diffusion is the evaporation of the aromatic components of an oil into the atmosphere using Aromatherapy equipment.
Several different devises are used to fill the air space of a room. Some use heat as a means of "evaporating" the essential oils; this spreads the essential oil vapor throughout the room. Candle diffusers and ceramic or brass rings placed on light bulbs are commonly used. Other diffusers consist of an electrical air pump and glass nebulizer, which micro-ionizes the volatile oil, thus allowing for the most efficient form of inhalation treatment.
How Does Aromatherapy Work?
When inhaled, essential oils affect our bodies in several ways. The essential oil component molecules enter the nasal passages where they stimulate the olfactory nerve. This sends messages directly into the limbic system. The limbic system, located in the brain, is the seat of memory, learning and emotion. The inhalation of the essential oils triggers changes within the limbic system which in turn can stimulate physiological responses within the body via the nervous, endocrine or immune systems. Either stimulation or sedation of body systems or organs may occur.
Certain essential oils may have certain effects. For example, due to their effect on the brain and the subsequent sedating or stimulating of the nervous system, essential oils can also indirectly raise and lower blood pressure and possibly aid in normalization of hormonal secretion. The inhalation method can be useful for respiratory symptoms. Local application of diluted oils on various points (i.e. spinal nerves, chakras, and meridians) is effective for certain conditions. Massage Aromatherapy provides relaxation as well as a physiological action through the nervous system. In addition, when applied topically, essential oils can exhibit anti-microbial, antiseptic, anti-fungal, or anti-inflammatory properties. Although essential oils produce certain effects that can be counted on, they also adapt to the needs of different people
How Can I Learn More?
When learning something new, the amount of information can be very overwhelming. So to help those who want to dive in and learn more, Seeds for Change Wellness has published a beginners guide to help you get started with the basics- laying the foundation for safe use. This guide focuses on 5 starter essential oils that are helpful for personal and home care use.: Lavender, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Tea Tree and Peppermeint Essential Oils.
This guide is available on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback format.
Be sure to take a peek!