Aromatherapy, the practice of using natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.
The inhaled aroma from essential"oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. They can also be absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing.
Traditionally, it has been a form of alternative medicine, used for a variety of applications, including pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive function.
If you visit spas, no doubt you have tried, or had the opportunity, to have one or more treatments that uses essential oils. I have on occasion indulged in an aromatherapy bath or message and I'm sold on them from the aspect of relaxation. The wonderful scent of some of the oils used are capable of transporting me to a level of relaxation that is difficult to deny.
I for years have bought and used essential oils at home as well. Aching muscles? Add eucalptus oil to warm bathwater and relax for 15-20 minutes. Feeling stressed or anxious? Lavender or geranium oil should do the trick. Insomnia? Try chamomile, lemon or ylang ylang. And peppermint, one of my favorites, is very refreshing.
The list goes on and I have tried many sporadically over a long period of time.
I have a small collection of books on aromatherapy which I refer to for mixing directions and for targeting what I want to use the oil for. Included in this photo also is a book for healing through nutrition, another endeavour that interests me.
There are three traditional ways to use essential oils in aromatherapy: inhalation, topical application and ingestion. Most oils can be used undiluted in a diffuser or oil lamp, sometimes called a burner, safely. A diffuser passes a continuous stream of air over your oil source - often simply straight from the bottle - creating a fine evaporated mist without heating. A candle lamp incorporates a small bowl over a tea candle. The bowl is first filled with a small amount of water, into which a few drops of essential oils are placed. The oils are evaporated through the gentle heating of the water by the candle.
Topical application is the preferred method of use for many essential oils. However, most require significant dilution, as they can cause skin irritation. Research each oil's use before trying this method.
Ingestion is not recommended so we won't even discuss it. I have never tried this method.
A word of caution: If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breast feeding, it is critical you consult your physician before using any essential oil. And always read the cautions associated with each oil before using it.
I think aromatherapy is a fun thing. I love the smells of many of the oils and it adds a pleasing scent to you and to your rooms. Here are a few of the oils I have in my "collection."
If you haven't tried aromatherapy, check it out the next time you visit a spa. I think you'll be pleased!
Tell me about your experience, or not, with aromatherapy and essential oil use.