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 1940’s 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’ that are the means the oil enters the body.

  1. 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.

  2. 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 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.

  3. Massage:  The application of essential oils with a massage presents a couple of benefits.  The molecules of the oils are small enough to be absorb through the skin.  They can impact a specific organ, muscle or joint within a few minutes.  The scent of the oils is inhaled and provide a beneficial release of neurochemicals to maximize the massage effectiveness.

  4. 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.

 Body

  • Supports optimal wellness

  • Lessens negative effects of chronic pain and discomfort

  • Inhalation of calming oils can provide much soothing relief

    • Peppermint, wintergreen, spruce

 

Mind

  • 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

      • Moderate cortisol

    • 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)

 

Spirit

  • 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 one-fourth cup of 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: www.NAHA.org – National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy

Medicine

Chest

Pain:

Birch, Bergamot, Marjoram, Rosemary

Nausea:

Peppermint, Sweet Fennel, Ginger

Bruises:

Lavender, Helichrysum, Rosemary

Burns:

Lavender, Helichrysum

Cuts & Wounds:

Lavender, Elemi, Myrrh, Frankincense

Respiratory:

Cedar Atlas, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Eucalyptus

Gums & Mouth:

Myrrh, Lemon, Tea Tree

Fungicides:

Tea Tree, Myrrh, Lavender

Nervous Temperament:

Lavender, Neroli, Roman Chamomile, Marjoram, Jasmine, Rose

PMS/Hormone Balancer:

Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender, Cypress

Mental Energy:

Peppermint, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Lemon, Holy Basil, Ginger, Grapefruit

Immune System Strengtheners:

Lavender, Thyme satureloidess aka borneol, Bay Laurel, Eucalyptus

Contact me for an evaluation and recommendation,

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    Patricia Faust MGS, CAt 

    © 2019 PCF CONSULTING