Aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from flowers, herbs, trees and plants to enhance health, harmony and well-being. 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. Essential oils have always been regarded as potent and precious substances having the tremendous ability to operate not only on the physical level but in the emotional, intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic areas of our lives without the use of chemicals. They provide a treatment which is in total biochemical harmony with the human body without being invasive. Essential oils do not need to pass through the digestive system coming into contact with food and bacteria with which it could chemically interact but can be applied through the skin by massage oils, osmosis in the bath, by various methods of inhalation, compresses, foot baths, hair rinses, lotions, mouth washes and vaporizers.
The practice of Aromatherapy is considered to be a holistic therapy. This means it takes into account the whole of our bodies and not just on specific area; this makes good sense as all the systems and organs of our body are dependant on one another to maintain homeostatis; aromatherapy seeks to optimize and maintain such a healthy balance. Classed as a complementary therapy aromatherapy is now offered by many hospitals and hospices who employ aromatherapists to enhance people’s general well-being and optimize their quality of life.
Essential oils are one of the great untapped resources of the world, a natural system that helps to maintain health and wellbeing. There are oils for sports, dance and work-outs. Typical oils used for these types of activities include BLACK PEPPER, LAVENDER, GINGER, EUCALYPTUS, ROSEMARY, CYPRESS, LEMON and GRAPEFRUIT. All these oils can help to release and relax overworked and stiff muscles post excertion.
In the work place problems concerning health can also occur; air-conditioning, VDU’s, mental, physical or environmental stress may all undermine good health. LAVENDER, CHAMOMILE, ROSEMARY, GERANIUM, BERGAMOT, SANDALWOOD, EUCALYPTUS, TEA TREE and all the CITRUS essential oils are just a few that are extremely useful in the working environment.
In the home essential oils can be used in many varied ways such as air-fresheners, in the laundry and in the kitchen. LAVENDER, LEMON and TEA TREE all have anti-bacterial qualities and BERGAMOT is uplifting whilst giving a lovely fresh aroma throughout. Head clearing TEA TREE, LAVENDER and EUCALYPTUS essential oils used in vaporizers may all help to combat stuffiness and optimize a healthy immune system.
Insect nasties can be deterred by using the following essential oils in the garden. PEPPERMINT, ROSEMARY, LAVENDER, LEMONGRASS, PATCHOULI and most CITRUS oils are the ones to look for here. Moulds and fungi can on occasions be successfully treated with anti-fungal TEA TREE, the main oil to use diluted in a spray.
How Does Aromatherapy Work?
Aromatherapy examines the effect of aromas on the mind via the Olfactory System (perception of smell) Smell is the only sense with direct access to the brain since all the other senses are first processed. Aromas work through the limbic part of the brain which controls our emotions, touch, smell, feel etc. and seeks to enhance mood. Inhalation is the quickest way for essential oils to enter the body. As we breathe in, moist, warm air carries tiny molecules of essential oils up the nose and via the Olfactory System to the brain, enabling them to immediately enhance mood and optimize a feeling of health and well-being. Inhalation of essential oils can thus bring about a positive approach to everyday stress, feeling down, jealousy or over-tiredness whilst also clearing a stuffy head.
Aromatherapy is a wonderful holistic experience incorporating the mind, body and spirit to help ease and relax on all levels.