Why should I be aware of this?
Aromatherapy is free of any side effects and suitable for people of all ages, even babies. It is said to be helpful in treating long term conditions, or a recurring illness. Therapists claim particular success in treating patients that orthodox medicines has been unable to help, or who are continually in and out of hospital, sometimes with extra problems caused by the side effects of drugs.
Hundreds of plants have been used to produce essential oils, but aroma therapists generally rely on a repertoire of about 30 to treat most conditions. The oils fall into three general groups-
Those which invigorate the body and raise the spirits- Basil, Bergamot, Jasmine, Orange Blossoms, Rosemary. Those which tone and regulate the main bodily functions- Hyssop, Fennel, Eucalyptus, Myrrh, Tea tree.Those which have a sedative, calming effect on body and mind- Cedarwood, lavender, Patchouli, Rose
How does this affect me?
Many nervous disorders like depression, anger, stress and other related symptoms such as headaches and insomnia are also are also said to be cured through Aromatherapy. When the oils have to penetrate the skin as well as being inhaled, the results may be slower like in the case of problems such as pain. Arthritis and cramp, eczema and Acne.
In addition, almost all the oils have proven antiseptic qualities and many, such as lavender, tea tree and geranium, are said to be highly effective against infections caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses. Apart from treating illnesses, the oils are valued for their gently stimulating or calming effects and their ability to bring about a sense of harmony and well-being.
All about aromatherapy
Nobody really knows when and where exactly the art of aromatherapy began. It has been around for thousands of years. The medicinal use of plant oils is recorded in some of the earliest Chinese writings. The ancient Persians also valued the use of flower water distilled from rose and orange blossoms and used them both as cosmetics and to cure ailments. In the 11th century the Persian philosopher Avicenna refined the distillation process and produced much purer essential oils.
Chinese knowledge of the medicinal oils is thought to have reached the west by way of the Greeks and Romans. The first recorded use of the oils in Britain was in the 13th century. The oils started being used as perfumes, antiseptics and medicines until the 19th century. The early 20th century saw a revival of interest in natural treatments. The pioneer of this movement was a French chemist called Prof. Rene Gattefosse who accidentally discovered the healing properties of lavender but it was Marguerite Maury, a French biochemist who developed techniques such as massage and various beauty and skin care treatments using essential oils.
How essential oils are produced?
Essential oils are produced by tiny glands in the petals, leaves, stems, bark and wood of many plants and trees. In nature, they are released slowly giving the plants and flowers its natural smell but when heated or crushed the oil glands the oil glands burst, releasing the plants fragrance more strongly. To extract pure essential oil, a distillation process is used, which involves vaporizing the plants essences in steam. It is then cooled down and separated into water and essential oil. If the oil is dissolved in alcohol or some other solvent, the product is called a resin or absolute. Though less pure than essential oil, since traces of the solvent remain, even after purification, many of these resins and absolutes also have valuable therapeutic properties.
How aroma therapy works
The therapist should first have a discussion about one’s general health and way of life, including diet, exercise and posture, appearance and sleeping habits. The therapist then selects the oils that are considered right for the person and, depending on the nature of the problem, mixes ingredients to create specific oils, to use later or through massage treatments.
Essential oils are used in a number of ways. In Massage treatments, as inhalers, added to baths or also used as compresses. Oils of guaranteed purity can also be swallowed. Inhaling is believed to work quickest, because smell has been shown to have an immediate effect on the brains. Research has also shown that the oils can also penetrate the skin- through sweat pores and hair follicles- and are absorbed into the body fluids and bloodstream to work internally.
What can I do?
- Buy only high quality oils. The label should say that the contents are pure and undiluted. If the label says that the oil can be applied directly on the skin, it has probably been diluted. Diluted oils are good for massage but only pure oils are suitable for other treatments.
- Don’t swallow any oils unless under the supervision of the aroma therapist.
- Avoid applying pure, undiluted oil on to the skin directly.
- It is safe to use more than one oil at a time.
- Concentrated oils and resins must be used with care as they sometimes cause an allergy or skin damage.
- Oils must be ingested only when prescribed by a qualified practitioner.
Aromatherapy at home
- Bath – Add 6 to 8 drops of essence to a hot bath, lie back and breath deeply. Soak it in for about 15 minutes. Bath treatments are good for insomnia, tension, sore muscles, even fluid retentions.
- Inhalation - Put 10 drops of the appropriate essential oil onto a paper towel and inhale. One can also do steam inhalation. This should be avoided if one has Asthma.
- Foot and Hand baths - Add 8 to 10 drops of suitable oils to a large bowl of hot water. Soak init for 15 minutes and then dry and apply aromatherapy massage oil post that.
- Compresses - Add about 10 drops of oil to half a cup of water. Soak a piece of cloth in it, remove and wring it and place it on the affected part and cover with a cling film. A warmed towel over the compress should make it more effective. It is used to cure sprains, bruising, burns and boils
- Essential oil teas – Do not take essential oils as a medicine except on the advice of a medically qualified practitioner but it is sage to drink two or tree drops of a suitable oil in a cup of black tea, hot or cold, twice a day for digestive problem, urinary problems and stress.
- Only pure essential oils give the benefits. Chemical or synthetic oils do not contribute towards healing.
- Pure Organically grown essential oils have far greater positive effects.
- There are approximately 40 million trillio molecules in one drop of essential oil
- Aromatherapy treatment can also be offered to our pets.
- Essential oils create an environment of clear communication between all cells and all systems.
- Studies have shown that they also can help create an environment detrimental to cancer growth.