Aromatherapy is the use of natural pure essential oils extracted from aromatic plants to promote a balanced, healthy lifestyle. The oils are extracted from various flowers, herbs, fruits, leaves and resins normally via a process called steam distillation. Each natural essence has its own special characteristics and unique aroma.
The art of aromatherapy can be traced back some 6000 years to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Italy where essential oils were highly valued for their many uses.
It is said that the sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses we possess, with the average person being able to distinguish around ten thousand different scents.
When scents are inhaled, the aroma moves across the olfactory nerves inside the nose and then into an area of the brain called the limbic system. This controls our memories, moods and learning ability. And when stimulated, releases various "feel good" chemicals together with endorphins and neurotransmitters.
Vaporization of essential oils can create different moods as well as giving your home a fresh aroma. Oil burners, aroma stone vaporizers or light bulb rings are ideal methods of vaporizing essential oils.
Adding a few drops of essential oil to your bath is another delightful way to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. Depending on the choice of oils, you can create a relaxing or energizing bath. Even a bath that helps if you suffer from insomnia.
- Used as household and laundry cleaners
- Act as natural insect repellents and pesticides. E.G. Citronella used in candles to repel mosquitos
- Can be used to make facial toners and shampoos
- Can be used to prepare perfumes, shower gel, and natural soaps
Massage is one of the most popular methods of using essential oils and helps absorption of the oils into the skin. It also maximizes the healing power of the massage itself. By diluting a few drops of your favorite essential oil in carrier oil, a massage can have a powerful energizing or calming effect depending on the oil used.
While aromatherapy and essential oils do not cure any illness, they can be very effective in alleviating and relieving:
- Minor aches & joint pains
- Symptoms of menstrual cramps
- Headache-causing tension
- And can help improve sleep
Aromatherapy and essential oils are a fantastic and natural alternatives to other treatment options such as prescription medicines and caffeine. There are few side effects when used improperly. And any that do emerge are primarily related to a person’s sensitivity to certain ingredients. Most people are normally aware of which ingredients trigger allergic reactions or other type of sensitivity so they will avoid products containing those ingredients.
If you are new to the world of aromatherapy and essential oils, take a trip to your local health food store and experiment with the different scents. You will be certain to find a few that you love.