What Is Aromatherapy- An ultimate guide
To understand aromatherapy, you have to get past the scent. It’s what first entices and excites people who are just discovering the world of aromatherapy. They’re revitalized by the refreshing aroma of peppermint in a favorite shampoo, lured in by intoxicating ylang ylang and sandalwood essences in a luxurious lotion, or soothed by the smell of lavender traveling on a summer breeze.
But aromatherapy’s beauty is in more than just its lovely scents. Aromatic essential oils extracted from trees, flowers, grasses, herbs, fruits, leaves, roots, and shrubs have the power to alleviate disease, promote vibrant health, and soothe stress. Essential oils used in aromatherapy can be more effective than their modern-day chemical counterparts. Can your favorite commercial perfume also cut a cold short, boost your brainpower, or brighten your complexion? The essential oils used in aromatherapy do all this and more. It just so happens that they also smell lovely.
Aromatherapy unlocks the therapeutic power of nature, and small doses of essential oils extracted from a variety of plants worldwide are incredibly effective and pleasant ways to promote health without polluting our bodies, homes, or planet with synthetic substances.
How Does Aromatherapy Work?
All plants contain a wide range of chemicals, from water, to inorganic salts, sugars, and carbohydrates, and to very complex proteins and alkaloids. We will focus mainly on the chemical, which acts medicinally, with special emphasis involving aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential botanical oils to create a sense of wellbeing through a physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social balance. Essential oils are really not even oils at all. They are the volatile and fragrant parts of the plants that are kept in a sac on the surface of the leaves, or in the bark, flowers, seeds, and stems. These oils are also known as volatile oils.
Volatile oils, if collected and extracted correctly, contain some of nature’s most precious gifts. See, these oils are responsible for the antibiotic properties to protect the plant. These volatile oils also protect the plant by repelling insects. Some even stimulate blooming. So, in turn, imagine the strength and power of each volatile oil when extracted. It is now 75 to 100 times more powerful than say, dried herbs.
Volatile oils, or essential oils, are very easily transported and distributed throughout the entire body. Not only will they act locally, where applied, but they will also act on the whole body. Whether they are taken internally or applied externally, they will soon show up in the urinary system, the lungs, and possibly in the secretions of your sweat, tears, and saliva. Essential oils can even make their way through the placenta into the fetus. Essential oils, besides being antiseptic, also stimulate the production of white blood cells, thus increasing your body’s own natural defense system. Their ease of distribution is how they can affect the entire body once they enter it.
When essential oils are applied externally, part of their effect is from the nose. See, all essential oils, or volatile oils, are aromatic, meaning they have a smell. The nose is the only sense, which connects directly with the outside world. Ever noticed how you can smell something, somewhere, and your mood or body’s feeling can change almost instantaneously? This is because of the nerve endings in your nose, the olfactory nerves, pick up the scent molecules from the essential oils, and transport them directly to the brain. This is where the reaction begins.
The effects of the pure essential oils will depend on the particular essential oil. For example, lavender is an excellent aroma for relaxing. It is not really known for its antibiotic properties. The story goes during the Middle Ages; the town of Grasse in France was spared the hardships and misery of the plague because it was the center of the perfume industry. There were many acres of lavender fields, which surrounded the town. The distilleries filled the air with the lavender molecules, and the antiseptic, antibiotic, and antimicrobial properties of the lavender are what saved the people of the town of Grasse.
There are many different pure essential oils, all of which can affect your body’s reaction in some way. It is best to be very educated and do your research on what essential oil you would need for your condition. Aromatherapy can be very beneficial in one’s life for enhancement and improvement. Ensure you only buy top quality oils from reputable suppliers. You should easily be able to find out the following four details: what is the country of origin, botanical species, what part of the plant was distilled, and how was the oil produced? If you cannot find out the answers to these questions, go somewhere else. Aromatherapy works, but only if you have good oils and a little knowledge.
Aromatherapy and Healing
When was the last time that your doctor told you to take an aromatherapy bath or to enjoy a scented massage? If you’ve spent time sniffling or coughing in a few doctors’ offices, you know that often you walk out with nothing more than a scribbled prescription and advice to come back in a few weeks.
But Hippocrates, the father of medicine itself, would have prescribed an aromatic bath and massage for your ailments – every day! That’s because even thousands of years ago, he understood aromatherapy’s ability to correct imbalances and illnesses within the body.
What Hippocrates knew back then still holds true for us today? Essential oils not only have a beautiful scent but very powerful therapeutic applications. In fact, the antiseptic properties of many essential oils are legendary. They’re also known to be antiviral, antidepressant, antifungal, and much more!
Today, interest in aromatherapy is flourishing as people seek out more natural, safe, and noninvasive alternatives – or complements – to conventional Western medicine. For instance, they’re discovering that eucalyptus can clear a cough, geranium eases the symptoms of menopause, and lavender is effective at healing burns. As people explore more holistic approaches to healthcare, they’re realizing that aromatherapy meets many of their common needs.
Science has proven that essential oils have valuable medicinal properties, and unlike synthetic drugs used in conventional Western medicine, they don’t encourage the body to build up a resistance to treatment.
Essential oils also do not linger in the body or leave behind toxins. If you are generally in good health, they will clear your system within three to six hours, making a clean exit through exhalation, perspiration, or urine. For instance, the essential oil of geranium leaves the body through sweat, sandalwood, and juniper through the urine and garlic – rather unfortunately – always exits via the breath.
The great thing about aromatherapy is that it’s noninvasive. In fact, it is most powerful when used externally through methods like massage, aromatic baths, and steam inhalation. In contrast, conventional drugs are often taken orally and come with user manuals detailing countless side effects. But as long as you use aromatherapy responsibly and purchase high-quality essential oil – not cheap or synthetic derivatives – you can avoid any unpleasant side effects.
Aromatherapy is a holistic approach to health and wellness, and it works with the whole person – not just isolated ailments. Aromatherapy can work wonders for body and soul when paired with healthy lifestyle habits and a dose of common sense. We invite you to explore our website and discover essential oils and aromatherapy products that both boost wellbeing and are a pleasure to use. Here’s to your health!