The Art and Science of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has become so trendy now that it may be hard to imagine that it has its origins well over 3000 years ago. Ancient China, ancient Babylon and Egypt, the ancient Mideast, and the other ancients – Rome, Arabia, India, Greece, and Europe depended on essential oils for medical purposes, ceremonial events, embalming and beauty, and skincare. Over the years aromatherapy lost its prominence and it wasn’t until recently that the use of essential oils came back for a resurgence.
Essential oils were brought back into the United States in the 1940s and the term Aromatherapy was coined by Gattefosse in 1937 after a burn spurred his interest in the healing powers of essential oils. One of the definitions of essential oils is: they possess the power to relax the nervous system, stimulate circulation, lift depression, and ease aches and pains. For most oils, steam distillation is the primary means of extracting the oils from the plant material. The price for the oils is based on how much plant material must be used to distill enough oil to sell, the method of distillation or extraction and the availability of the plant material. It is important to know if oil houses are ethically sourcing their oils – meaning are they getting their oils from countries where the plant material is being grown I a sustainable way.
There are ‘Pathways of Essential Oils’ which are the means the oil enters the body.
Aesthetic: this pathway is all about skin and hair. The aesthetic pathway is used primarily in spas. However, the healing properties of the oils for skin diseases has proven to be very effective. For example – Acne vulgaris, Seborrhea, Psoriasis, burns, rashes, and topical allergic reactions have been treated with essential oil blends.
Olfactory/Psycho: This pathway uses the Olfactory system as a means of delivering the scent to the brain. The Olfactory system is actually part of the brain, so the scent has direct access. Behavioral issues, depression, and anxiety are among the many mental health and wellness applications that essential oils are found to bring relief.
Massage: The application of essential oils with a massage presents a couple of benefits. The molecules of the oils are small enough to be absorbed through the skin. They can impact a specific organ, muscle or joint within a few minutes. The scent of the oils is inhaled and provides a beneficial release of neurochemicals to maximize massage effectiveness.
Therapeutic: The oils are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and the list could go on. The oil, when used properly can stimulate our own healing process to kick into gear.
Now, let’s break down how aromatherapy affects the Body, Mind, and Spirit.
Supports optimal wellness
Lessens negative effects of chronic pain and discomfort
Inhalation of calming oils can provide much soothing relief
Peppermint, wintergreen, spruce
Essential oils release molecules into the air that interact with the nervous and endocrine system in such a way to dramatically alter the release of hormones and neurotransmitters involved in mood, memory, emotions, and cognition
These essential oils directly influence your mood and mindset
Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, Bergamot
Lemongrass, Citronella, White Verbena
Promote GABA (a calming neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety and encourages centering)
Clary Sage, Clove, Lemon
Produce endorphins (Endorphins are the neurochemicals responsible for producing an overall sense of happiness)
Aromatic essences have been used for centuries to create a more meaningful connection to something bigger than ourselves and may place us in a state more receptive to inspiration
Beyond the religious aspect of spirituality, it involves the ability to discover purpose and meaning in life, moral and ethical principles to abide by, and a deep relationship with something bigger than one’s self
For cleaning and purifying
For grounding, a sense of calm and inner focus
For enlightenment and meditation
For reconnecting to a sense of spirituality in any situation
Spirituality is a vital aspect of overall well-being that cannot be neglected for those who seek vitality
Finally, here are some of the application techniques that can be used for the essential oils:
Inhalation – add oils to a diffuser, tissue or cloth
Baths – oil and water do not mix, so you have to use an agent that would allow the oil to mix with the water. Baking Soda, Epson Salts, and Milk are some good choices. Add a few drops of essential oil to the one-fourth cup of the agent.
Showers – Splash a few drops of oil to the shower wall and enjoy an aromatic shower
Massage – the oils have to be diluted when applied directly to the skin: General formula – 1 drop of essential oil to 1 TBS of carrier oil
Carrier oil can be Vegetable oil, Canola oil, Almond oil, Grapeseed oil, Olive oil
No Mineral Oil – the molecules are too big and won’t allow absorption of the essential oils through the skin
If you want to learn more go to – National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy.
Peppermint, Sweet Fennel, Ginger
Lavender, Helichrysum, Rosemary
Cuts & Wounds:
Lavender, Elemi, Myrrh, Frankincense
Cedar Atlas, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Eucalyptus
Gums & Mouth:
Myrrh, Lemon, Tea Tree
Tea Tree, Myrrh, Lavender
Lavender, Neroli, Roman Chamomile, Marjoram, Jasmine, Rose
Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender, Cypress
Peppermint, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Lemon, Holy Basil, Ginger, Grapefruit
Immune System Strengtheners:
Lavender, Thyme satureloidess aka borneol, Bay Laurel, Eucalyptus
MARJORAM ESSENTIAL OIL, SWEET
Spicy, warm and a total body relaxant, a whiff of Sweet Marjoram helps ease your pains, relaxes
your body and allows your worries and anxiety to just melt away. Similar to the onset of spring,
when flowers are blooming and trees are awakening, Sweet Marjoram uplifts your spirits as it
calms your body, bringing you closer to nature and peace.
Nervous system: Nervous tension, stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, migraines, grief.
Musculoskeletal system: Muscular spasms, rheumatic pains, sprains and strains, tense muscles.
Digestive system: Constipation, colic, flatulence, indigestion.
Respiratory system: Colds, flus, congestion, whooping cough.
Circulatory system: High blood pressure, bruises, chilblains.
Reproductive system: Excessive sexual desire, menstrual cramps.
HOW TO USE
For Topical Application, dilute up to 5% in jojoba or hazelnut oil (unless otherwise indicated below), approximately 25 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil.
For Whole Body Massage, dilute up to 2% in jojoba or hazelnut oil, approximately 10 drops
per tablespoon of a carrier oil.
Anxiety attacks and nervous tension: Diffusion, Topical Application on heart and chest area.
Grief: Diffusion, Topical Application on heart and chest area, Aromatic Bath.
Headaches and migraines: Diffusion, Topical Application on forehead.
Tense muscles: Topical Application, Aromatic Bath.
Excessive sexual drive: Whole Body Massage, Aromatic Bath.
Congestion of sinuses and nose: Direct Inhalation from the diffuser, Steam Inhalation.
Digestion, flatulence, constipation and intestinal cramps: Topical Application, Compress.
High blood pressure: Diffusion, Whole Body Massage.
Menstrual cramps: Topical Application, Hot Compress, Massage of lower abdomen.
ROSEMARY ESSENTIAL OIL, BORNEOL
The distinctive and wonderfully fresh, herbal aroma of Rosemary refreshes the senses and provides a host of therapeutic benefits. Rosemary is known for its ability to wake up the body and spirit. Rosemary Borneol is known to help the circulatory system and increase muscular blood flow. It can be used as a heart tonic and is perfect for pre-workout massages.
Rosemary is commonly used in hair care products, as it is reputed to renew hair growth and prevent premature baldness. It is used in the treatment of dandruff and oily hair and scalp. It is also known to have a positive effect on the cephalic regions, clearing the mind as well as improving memory and overall brain function. Rosemary contains camphor, which can help improve circulation and respiratory function. Therapeutically, Rosemary Oil can be used to promote blood flow to the pelvic region and uterus and support the digestive system. It is a diuretic and an expectorant/decongestant. Rosemary is also a known analgesic.
HOW TO USE
Dandruff, lice, oily hair, insect repellent: Topical Application
Amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea: Whole Body Massage, Aromatic Bath, Topical Application.
Asthma, bronchitis, colds, cough, sinus problems, hysteria: Direct Inhalation, Steam Inhalation.
Colitis, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, flu, jaundice: Topical Application, Compress.
Fainting, nervous disorders, exhaustion: Diffusion, Whole Body Massage, Aromatic Bath.
Memory loss, mental fatigue, neuralgia, migraine: Diffusion
Muscle aches and pains, circulation, varicose veins, rheumatism, arthritis: Topical Application, Compress, Whole Body Massage, Aromatic Bath.
Peppermint Essential Oil
• THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS
The fresh, slightly spicy, mint aroma of Peppermint saturates a room with freshness, clarity and vitality. Refreshing and stimulating, Peppermint Essential Oil has remarkably immediate effects on mental functioning. It seems to produce clear thinking and the ability to focus. It also is an excellent pain reliever and is always useful to have around.
“Mint is one of the best known essential oils in aromatherapy. The oil belongs in every first-aid kit since it helps remedy acute dizzy spells, rapid heartbeat, tremors, shock and general weakness. A few drops inhaled from a tissue can bring quick relief. Mint oil is ideal for treating headaches, reactions to severe weather conditions, and tightness in the neck area….
“The oil helps people become clear-headed and refreshes spirits. Like Lemon, Lemongrass, Basil and Rosemary, Mint specifically stimulates the central hippocampus of the brain. It may be beneficial for people who are unable to concentrate or who have mental fatigue and memory lapses. This is an ideal oil to use in an aroma lamp in the office, in conference rooms, or in any situations in which a clean, uncluttered atmosphere is desired.” Complete Aromatherapy Handbook, Susanne Fischer-Rizzi.
• HOW TO USE
Weight loss: Create a lovely Aromatic Bath or dilute to 2% total and Massage the whole body.
Cellulite: Topical Application on affected areas, a total of 2-3% concentration, in jojoba or hazelnut oil, or add Fennel Essential Oil to your favorite body scrub.
Upset stomach, relief from fullness after overeating or to remove nausea: Diffusion
Clearing respiratory congestion: Diffusion
Gas (flatulence): Use 2–4 drops total with food.
Menopause: Diffusion or Topical Application, 2% total (Whole Body Massage), or 5% Local Application, in any carrier oil, or create an Aromatic Bath.
Menstrual symptoms: Dilute to 5% in jojoba or hazelnut oil and apply topically.
Ginger Essential Oil
• THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS
Ginger might not seem impressive on the outside, but this knobby root can get you moving in the right direction by pushing aside confusion and giving you inner strength. Spicy and warm, with a fresh top note, it reminds you of a Latin dance: sultry and fiery. Yet it balances this fire with a sweet, rich undertone. While the root is traditionally used for cooking in India and China, Ginger Essential Oil has many therapeutic benefits for the mind and body.
Below is a list of benefits that Ginger Essential Oil provides, by category:
Circulatory system: Simulates circulation, warms cold feet and hands and decreases cardiac fatigue.
Digestive system: Stimulates digestion while decreasing flatulence, morning sickness and nausea.
Respiratory system: Excellent for coughs, colds, bronchitis, sinusitis and sore throats.
Musculoskeletal system: Soothing for rheumatism, arthritis and sore muscles.
Boosts confidence, determination, personal drive and optimism.
• HOW TO USE
For use on the skin (Topical Application), dilute up to 1-2% in any carrier oil; 2% is approximately 1 teaspoon (5ml) of essential oil per 1 cup (250ml) of carrier oil, or about 10 drops essential oil to a tablespoon (15 ml) of carrier oil.
For Whole Body Massage, use essential oil up to 1% maximum in any carrier oil; 1% is about 5 drops essential oil to a tablespoon (15 ml) of carrier oil.
Cold hands and feet: Topical Application, massage on feet and hands.
Sluggish circulatory system: Whole Body Massage
Chest pain: Topical Massage, rub on chest in circular motion.
Digestive complaints such as flatulence, poor digestion, stomach ache: Massage on abdomen and stomach.
Morning sickness or nausea: Inhalation through diffuser, or when traveling inhale a few drops from a tissue, or take 1 drop on tongue.
Rheumatism, arthritis: Topical Application
Muscular pain: Topical Application
Respiratory problems such as cough, sore throat, bronchitis, sinusitis: Topical Application, Diffusion.
Lack of personal drive or clarity: Diffusion
Fennel Essential Oil, Sweet
• THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS
The fragrant and tasty Fennel seed is licorice-scented like Anise seed, but its aroma is more herbal and less sweet. The two essential oils have therapeutic properties in common, such as increasing breast milk production, soothing the respiratory system and helping with digestion. Fennel differs in that it also has slimming and diuretic effects, which make it helpful for reducing cellulite.
Digestive system: Reduces intestinal gas and soothes stomach problems, including nausea and symptoms of overeating.
Female reproductive system: Stimulates menstruation and helps make it regular. Eases menstrual discomfort and symptoms of menopause.
Respiratory system: Helps rid the breathing passages of mucous and also helps relax spasms.
Lymphatic system: Aids the lymphatic system in draining and eliminating toxins. It also helps reduce cellulite and obesity, helping draw excess water out of the body.
• HOW TO USE
For use on the skin (Topical Application), dilute up to 3-5% in jojoba or hazelnut oil. For Whole Body Massage, use no more than 2%; 2% is approximately 1 teaspoon (5ml) of essential oil per 1 cup (250ml) of carrier oil, or about 10 drops essential oil to a tablespoon (15 ml) of carrier oil.
Nausea, vomiting: Direct Inhalation from the diffuser, or when traveling, a few drops on a tissue, or 1 drop on tongue.
Mental fatigue: Diffusion or Topical Application on forehead, 3 – 5% in any carrier oil.
Migraines, headaches, fainting, vertigo and other nervous disorders: In the Diffusion or Topical Application on forehead, temples or wherever the headache resides, 3 – 5% in any carrier oil.
Colds, sore throat, flu and respiratory conditions: Direct Inhalation from the diffuser.
Excessive sweating: A total of 1-2% added to your unscented personal care product.
Contact me for an evaluation and recommendation,