All About Aromatherapy

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All About Aromatherapy

Next time you spray your favourite perfume you might like to think about what is in it that creates that smell! The creams you put on your skin and the sprays you use to clean your home all have been created with an aroma of some kind, often deliberately. The bottle will tell you the bath salts will help with relaxation and the label says it contains rose and lavender, for example. However, most of these products are made using artificial scent – chemicals that replicate the smell of rose and lavender. They may smell similar but are they really the same?

If we look outside we see the natural world. Trees and flowers are everywhere. Most of them have special oils in their flowers or leaves, or under their bark. And all of these oils contain therapeutic properties. When we remember that these trees and flowering plants are healthy and calming to be around, we may consider that something of the parent plant is in the oil that is extracted!

There is more to an essential oil than how it smells!

The most obvious thing about an Essential Oil is its smell. Yet this is possibly the least important thing – it is the hand-shake, the greeting. The smell persuades the human mind that something wonderful is happening now. Yet it is not the smell alone that works the magic. The real substance is within. Each oil can be identified as having a distinct chemical composition and the various ingredients have different effects upon our mind and body.

All Essential Oils are highly concentrated so when they are applied to the body they are normally mixed in something. Carrier Oils and body butters make the perfect partner because they also are natural and easily absorbed. The trick is to only put on your body something that enhances well-being. This means finding products that are natural and not packed full of chemicals. Everything you put on your skin is going to be absorbed into your blood stream and your cells. So it should be obvious that you want to only absorb elements that assist your body in maintaining optimum health and well-being!

To extract a pure Essential Oil the flowers or leaves or bark of the plant are usually distilled with steam. Cheaper oils may have been extracted with the help of chemicals. They will not carry the pure energy of the plant, but will be blended with those chemical elements that were used in the process. It takes 220lbs of lavender flowers to create just one ounce of pure lavender oil (Note 1). This explains why the natural Essential Oils are more expensive than the synthetic ones.

To use Essential Oils safely on your body you must add some drops from the bottle to Carrier Oil. This will be an oil that has its own properties but is mild enough to be applied liberally to the body. The Carrier Oil will often have its own mild scent but once the Essential Oil drops are added, normally you will only smell the Essential Oil.

To know which oil you are buying it is important to note the botanical name of the plant. This will confirm the effects you will receive from the plant. For example, there are several Lavender plants and they produce different properties in their oils.

Here are the most common Lavender Oils:

Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia formerly known as L. officinalis) : It calms the nervous system, it is anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory – and can help relieve menstrual cramps

Lavender (Lavandula latifolia formerly known as L. spicata or L. spica): This Lavender oil is more stimulating for most people and has a stronger anti-bacterial action so it is less safe for children and pregnant women.

Lavender (Lavandula stoechas): This is not recommended without the guidance of a trained practitioner.

 

When using Essential Oils on your body you need to put some drops of your Essential Oil into a Carrier Oil or Base Oil. This is a list of some more commonly used Carrier Oils:

Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus amygdalis var. dulcis) and Apricot Kernel (Prunus armeniaca): Can relieve itchiness and dryness

Arnica Oil (Arnica montana): Indicated for bruises, varicose veins, burns, strains and sprains, arthritis and myalgia

Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera): Useful for dry skin

Sesame Oil (Sesamum indicum): Good for dry skin, great for hair and nails

 

It is also possible to make your own lotions and creams adding Essential Oils of your choice but it is best to follow recommended guidelines. You can find more information about how to do this safely at

https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/about-aromatherapy/methods-of-application/

Diffusers:

It is possible to add a few drops of your Essential Oil to an Electric Diffuser. The Essential Oil is then dispersed in the air to create a nice ambiance. Depending on the Essential Oil you use, this may help with relaxation or with focus. It is a natural way to freshen your room.

Inhalation:

Another way to experience your Essential Oil is to smell it direct from the bottle. To do this relax your body and let out your breath. Make sure to not breathe into your Oil bottle. Open the Essential Oil and inhale deeply, then close the bottle. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then breathe out. Now breathe naturally and notice the smell… It is still in your nose. Feel how it is affecting your body. This is good for emergency situations.

Some of the oils and their properties:

Lavender (Lavandula augustafolia) is calming.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is energising.

Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) I find, personally, that cedarwood is deeply grounding. It soothes my soul when I breathe it in, deepening my experience of my body.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) boosts immune system and fights infection

Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) is relaxing. Good for depression.

Frankincense (Boswellia serrata) is calming an agitated mind

 

If you are sensitive to smell or you don’t like the scent of one of the oils that is no reason not to benefit from it! You can hold the bottle against your heart and just breathe. After a few minutes the energy of the oil will be a part of your energy field. Alternatively you can hold the bottle in your hand for a few minutes. Notice how you feel…

 

Getting Started!

To soothe a headache:

You can add 15 drops of Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) oil per ounce of a Carrier Oil of your choice.

Pour a little of this mixed oil into your hands and warm it by rubbing your two hands together. And then you can apply a little to your temples to soothe a headache or rub on your wrists… The pulse point on your wrists will release the aroma for you. You might also apply a little over your heart for calming effect.

 

Ultimately, there are many ways to use Essential Oils and so many oils to choose from. You will find many companies supplying oils from around the world. Make sure that your supplier is able to provide the botanical name. If they do this you can be sure of how each oil will assist you. As we have seen with Lavender, one of the Lavender oils (Lavandula augustifolia) is relaxing and the other is energising (Lavandula latifolia). If the botanical name is not available you will not be able to discern its best use for you and it is also possible that the oil may be low quality or a blend or synthetic oil.

 

Click Here to read more about the research surrounding Essential Oils and Aromatherapy!

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