Aromatherapy 101

The growing popularity of holistic healing has created a new interest in alternative therapies. The art of Aromatherapy is beginning to be recognized as a safe, viable and effective form of Holistic Health Care. Thought by many to be a relatively new form of treatment, the use of aromatic oils actually goes back at least 2000 years before Christ. Egyptians used oils for cosmetics, and for embalming their dead. And the Chinese used them well before that for treatment of illness and for religious ceremony. Commonly used in European countries, Aromatherapy is even prescribed by physicians and covered by medical insurance. However most Americans view Aromatherapy as a buzzword being used by the perfume and toiletries industry to sell products such as candles, perfumery and bath products. Buyer beware The majority of these products give no consideration to the beneficial effects of the oils used. It is true that essential oils can be used in these ways, but it presents an extremely shallow view of what Aromatherapy truly is. Many products sold as “Aromatherapy” or “All Natural” actually do not contain essential oils, but synthetic fragrances. Advertising ploys easily lead you to believe that the product you are buying is 100% natural even though it contains synthetic ingredients and fragrance oils. These chemicals may smell nice, but contain absolutely no therapeutic benefits, and are commonly the cause of skin allergies and reactions. Even commercial products that contain real essential oils may contain oils of questionable quality and purity. Coupled with a lack of training and education, this can make a very dangerous combination. True Aromatherapy…
… is the use of essential oils for healing and wellness. These oils can be viewed as the soul, the life force of the plant from which they are obtained. They are the true extract of the plant’s life and strength, the “immune system” by which the plant lives and grows, protecting itself from damage by insect or bacteria. Essential oils are infinitely more potent than their dried herb counterparts. It would take over 500 cups of chamomile tea to register the same therapeutic benefits as a single drop of Chamomile oil.
Therapeutic properties of these oils can be found in the heart, lung and brain tissue within 10 seconds after inhalation or application and in every body cell within 20 minutes. For the most part, these oils also leave the body completely within 24 hours, leaving behind no harmful residue or chemical poison. Typical aromatherapeutic application is through inhalation. This method is by far the safest and fastest way to affect a physiological change. When inhaled, the essence attaches to the olfactory sensors, and is routed directly to the brain, where the change begins. The oils are also absorbed by the mucous membranes where they are quickly shuttled into the blood stream. Topical application is used in instances of serious illness or injury, burns or rash, for a more direct healing approach. Other methods of application are through compress, vaporization and massage. It is important to note that any topical application be diluted with a carrier substance, be it an oil, alcohol, or even water. There are instances where essential oils can be applied to the body without carrier, but should be carried out with instruction or supervision by a qualified therapist only. Pure essential oils provide for a gentle balancing, strengthening and healing of our body mind and soul. They are non invasive, and when used properly have few, if any, side effects. Studies have shown that due to their high anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, microorganisms have been relatively unsuccessful at forming resistance to the oils, proving very helpful in cases of antibiotic resistance or intolerance. They are useful in removing illness and disease from not only the body, but from surface and air as well. A dilution of less than 2% of Eucalyptus oil kills over 75% of airborne staph bacteria within moments. Most commonly used
Peppermint: Peppermint oil is very stimulating, antiseptic, cooling and anti-inflammatory. It is a wonderful digestive enhancement. It helps to reduce a fever, remove mucus, repel insects (vermifuge) and rodents. Due to it’s stimulating properties, it should not be used before bedtime as it may induce wakefulness.
Lavender: One of the most commonly accepted and popular oils, Lavender’s sweet scent provides relaxation, nerve tonic, and is soothing and balancing. It is anti-infectious, antiviral and stimulates cell regeneration. Very helpful as an antidepressant and for use in menopause. Tea Tree: Tea Tree oil has been oft overlooked by the cosmetic industry, due to it’s strong aroma. However, therapists revel in it’s healing properties. Antibacterial and antiviral in nature, it is also very useful as an antiseptic. Helpful for healing wounds, and in cell regeneration. It also acts as an immunostimulant. Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil, as mentioned before, has outstanding antibacterial properties. It is a febrifuge (reduces fever) and is a wonder for any type of respiratory ailment, including tuberculosis, asthma and colds. It is anti spasmodic and an excellent insect repellent. Remember that Essential oils always need to be diluted, and you should consult a qualified therapist before beginning any type of treatment.

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2 Comments

Filed under Aromatherapy, Essential Oils, Natural Health

2 responses to “Aromatherapy 101

  1. S Chathams

    This is really well researched and written…keep up the good work…am looking forward to more of the same…smile…

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