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What Is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is more than just smelling something to make you well. It is a beautiful art that is budding into a science as we look more closely at the subtle, yet profound effect that Essential Oils have on our mind and body.
Aromatherapy is the art and science of using Essential Oils to relax, balance and stimulate the body, mind and spirit. Essential Oils can be used in a wide variety of ways for many different purposes from the common cold to enlightenment and almost every point between! Aromatherapy is a way of treating mental and physical imbalances through inhalation and the external application of essential oils in massage, baths, etc.
Essential oils act on the olfactory nerves which lead from the nose to the brain. Essential oils contain antibacterial properties and also may contain antibiotic, antiviral, and other therapeutic properties. Aromatherapy is holistic therapy for your mind, body, and spirit. Essential oils are organic and act in harmony with the body, providing well-being and balance.
Aromatherapy consists of the use of pure essential oils obtained from a wide assortment of plants, which have been steam distilled or cold-pressed from flowers, fruit, bark and roots. Aromatherapy can help ease a wide assortment of ailments; easing aches, pains, and injuries, while relieving the discomforts of many health problems. Aromatherapy also acts on the central nervous system, relieving depression and anxiety, reducing stress, relaxing, uplifting, sedating or stimulating, restoring both physical and emotional wellbeing.
Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential and absolute oils
Essential oils which are the pure "essence" of a plant, have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefits when used correctly and safely. It is a branch of herbology and the study of "aromatherapy" may best be considered in these four areas of application:
Aesthetic - the effects essential oils have on the beauty of skin and hair.
Psycho - the effects aromas have on our moods and feeling; also known as aromachology.
Holistic - the integration of the divine into the body, mind and spirit.
Medical - the effects essential oils have in enhancing and maintaining a state of
The word therapy in and of itself implies the need for treatment of an illness or disability. While it is true that all four of the above mentioned areas of application could and oftentimes do manifest themselves as acute or chronic conditions that require treatment which the essential oils can be effective in treating, we would also like to encourage the use of aromatherapy for everyday pleasure and well-being.
What Does Aromatherapy Mean?
The word "Aromatherapy" was first coined by Rene Gattefosse in 1910 after he experienced the power of lavender oil to heal a burn he had suffered during a laboratory accident. The deliberate use of aromatic material is probably as old as the human race with references to its religious, medicinal and sensual use in many ancient texts. However, never before have so many different essential oils been so easily obtained. In today's age, the level of communication and transportation is able to assist in gathering essential oils from all over the globe and making them available to all who want to explore them.
The use of aromatherapy can be seen as part of a lifestyle choice -- a lifestyle that allows for pleasure because a moment of pleasure is healing. Pleasure is described as a source of enjoyment. Why deny yourself the pleasure and the benefits of a feminine fragrance such as Rose from Morocco or Bulgaria? Rose which assists by soothing dry and inflamed skin, uplifts one from states of sadness and despair, encourages intimacy in sexuality and helps to calm tension. Yes, rose oil can assist, although not always cure, but assist, with these conditions and others. By understanding how to apply aromatherapy in daily use you can enjoy the scents and help to maintain a system of preventative care for you and your family's long-term well being.
Essential oils nourish and stimulate your skin, enhance your immune system and delight the senses. It is simple -- the essential oils and products that contain essential oils can be used in your personal hygiene routine -- shampoos, body lotions, oils & sprays, perfumes, bath blends & salts, soaps, talcs, toothpaste, sport rubs & liniments. In the area of home and environmental fragrancing you can use essential oils in room mists & candles, clay & electric diffusers and air fresheners, as well as the simplicity of scenting a tissue and carrying it with you throughout the day. We believe that through the use of aromatherapy we are encouraged to touch ourselves and to touch others in a loving and nurturing way.
Learn About Aromatherapy
Intrigued? Want to try some of these wonderful oils for yourself? The first recommendation would be to educate yourself. Put yourself in the hands of someone knowledgeable in the field, either locally, if possible, or if not, through the library and the Internet. Read everything you can about the oils and their effects, and don't be afraid to experiment. To start with, many of us first tried Lavender. It is one of the few oils that can be used full strength on the skin without harmful effects, and is a virtual 'first aid' cabinet in and of itself. A touch of lavender essential oil on the temples and back of the neck can ease a headache. A drop of full strength (neat) lavender can soothe and help heal a minor burn.
It is a potent antiseptic, and a antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral agent. It's also one of the less expensive oils.
Lavender is lovely in the bath. As with most essentials, 6 to 10 drops is enough. Rather than adding the oil directly to the bathwater (because essentials don't blend with water) try diluting the lavender in a tablespoon or so of honey, a teaspoon of
unscented bath oil, or for a Cleopatra luxury bath, some cream.
Or you can make your own bath salts by mixing Epsom salts, sea salt or table salt,
and/or powdered milk, and adding a lavish amount of lavender. Bottle these and let
them stand for a week or ten days.
A lavender bath will relax tired muscles and a tired mind. It's a wonderful way to relax before bedtime. Ten to fifteen drops of lavender mixed into a tablespoon of your favorite carrier oil makes a wonderfully relaxing massage oil.
To induce restful sleep, put a drop or two of lavender on a cotton ball and tuck it into the corner of your pillow case. Or perfume a room by adding a few drops of lavender to either a lamp-ring or aromatherapy lamp. You can even add a few drops of essential oils to the melted wax in a burning candle.
If you are pleased with the results of the lavender, then experiment with some other oils, either alone, or in combination. Other good beginner oils are Orange or Mandarin, Geranium, Sandalwood, Rosemary,
Cypress, Peppermint or Eucalyptus. None are extremely expensive, and all are very useful.
Your nose is really your best guide to which oils will work best for you. I'm firmly convinced that we are drawn to the oils that our bodies need, either mentally/emotionally or physically. Trust your nose, but educate yourself on the safe and effective uses of the oils you select.
Aromatherapy & Pure Essential Oils
Pure essential oils carry an intelligence that communicates with a deep part of ourselves. The book of Genesis states, "And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life..." For those of you who hold to the Creation story, this account reveals the significance of breath taken in through the nostrils. This life force is also referred to as Prana. Aromatic molecules fit into our olfactory nerves in a very specific way and send impulses to the limbic system. The limbic system is thought to be the seat of memory and emotions. All of our life experiences may be coded by the aroma that was present during that experience. This is why it is common to recall memories, even distant childhood memories, when smelling essential oils. In this way, Aromatherapy may be used to
release emotions held in our bodies from past experiences.
It is challenging to describe an aroma. Aromas have stirred many poets to reach deep into their vocabulary to capture their essence. The process of describing an aroma is an exercise in what some call "whole-brain" thinking. In the brain, an aroma tends to stimulate the romantic, creative or right-hemisphere. Yet often our classic, rational, left-hemisphere is called on to describe and categorize an aroma. This process can create new connections or neural pathways which may also benefit other mental processes. It is not uncommon for those who develop a relationship with the oils to experience a heightened sense of subtle awareness. This can take the form of telepathy, serendipity and life changes.
The Power Of Aromatherapy
How many times have you smelled a particular aroma, or blend of aromas and instantly have a flood of memories wash over you because it triggered a long forgotten time in your life? Who amongst us hasn't smelled chocolate chip cookies baking and not been transported back in time to a place in our childhood when life was sweet and simple, and our only worry of the day was if that cute little curly haired boy in our
class liked us? (and in case you're wondering..... no..... I don't have chocolate chip cookie essential oil!! lol)
The power of aroma is something that cannot be denied, but a lot of the time it is something that many of us seem to not take notice of during the course of our busy lives. We're so wrapped up in all the worries and necessities of daily life that we quite literally forget to stop along the way and smell the roses. If we only knew the soothing properties that actually comes from the scent of a rose, perhaps we wouldn't walk past them in such a hurry.
Whether you are aware of it or not, or even if you just plain ol' don't believe, I want to help you see that certain smells have the ability to promote healing of our body, mind and spirit and also to help improve the general well being of our mental outlook on life. Not only do the scents themselves help promote healing of our minds, but certain oils applied to our skin have the powers to heal and improve it's appearance. Think about it....... what did our ancestors use before all of these chemical based products came onto the market? They used plants and trees. They used the leaves, bark, pulp and the oils that came from them. Why reach for a spray can of chemicals to soothe that sunburn when all natural lavender oil and aloe gel can do a better job? The lavender oil and aloe will actually HEAL the sunburn, and be honest, wouldn't the wonderful aroma of the lavender make you feel better while it's healing? In this case it serves a double purpose, because it heals the skin and relaxes our mind at the same time.
I would like to share with you some of the many wonderful properties I have learned about the wonderful art of aromatherapy. I will give you a basic working knowledge of which oils blend well with others, and which ones clash and cause an upheaval in our senses. I will share some of my own personal "recipes" for several blends of oils that can help in a myriad of daily uses, from anything such as deterring and banishing pesky head lice (yuck!) to other things like soothing a burn; uplifting depression; skin care; home environment and also a sexy blend of my own favorite "love potion". :) I'll give you a list of "must haves" that you should have on hand at all times for your own home emergency kit.
Aromatherapy has long been a passion of mine, and I am never without my trusty tried and true oils. I'm sure that at times I must sound like a broken record when someone asks me "What should I use for _______ ?" (fill in the blank) because a lot of the time my answer is "Lavender oil". I was pleasantly surprised that lavender has so many healing properties, not to mention that it just smells heavenly. Of course I absolutely love patchouli oil too, and a lot of people don't like the smell of it, so as with anything, it's all a matter of personal likes and dislikes. However, I hope that you won't avoid a certain oil just because you don't like the scent of it, because to do so would be to deny yourself something that can actually heal your body. If you are looking for scents that simply are pleasing to the nose, then of course stay away from the ones you find offensive. But, be informed... there is a big difference in essential oils and fragrance oils. Essential oils are made from the flowers, leaves, bark and resins of plants and trees. Fragrance oils usually contain little to no essential oils at all (and sometimes contain lots of chemicals), and won't give you the same benefits as pure essential oils . Rest assured though that any fragrance oils you purchase from The Celtic Connection are of the highest quality, and the same goes for our essential oils.
Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Info
An essential oil is extracted from certain species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, bark, resins, roots and trees. Do not be fooled by "perfume" or "fragrance" oils, as these are usually man-made and contain little to no actual oils of whatever it is supposed to smell like.
A method by which the use of certain essential oils are either combined or used alone to promote healing & well being by applying the oils directly to our body or by inhalation.
Combining two or more oils to bring about a more powerful effect than using just one oil. Mixing them together creates a chemical compound that is different from the lone oil itself. An increased potency can be attained with a synergistic blend without increasing the dosage.
CARRIER OIL or BASE OIL:
An oil that has basically no aroma and can be used to dilute the highly concentrated essential oils, so as to use them for massage. For example: You may only need one drop of a particular essential oil for a particular treatment. Obviously, one drop won't go very far, so it is mixed with a carrier (base) oil to cover a larger area. Base oils are vegetable, nut or seed, many of which have therapeutic properties of their own.
The following is a list of some oils that can be used as a carrier oil, and some of their uses, depending on which particular problem you are trying to address:
Sweet Almond: good for all skin types. Helps relieve itching, soreness dryness and inflammation.
Apricot kernel: all skins types, especially prematurely aged, sensitive, inflamed and dry
Carrot: premature aging, itching, dryness, psoriasis, eczema. Reduces scarring.
Corn: soothing on all skins
Evening Primrose: multiple sclerosis, menopausal problems, heart disease. Excellent for treating psoriasis and eczema. Helps prevent premature aging.
Grapeseed: all skins types
Hazelnut: slight astringent action; good for all skin types
Jojoba: inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema, acne, hair care, all skin types; highly penetrative
Olive: rheumatic conditions, hair care, cosmetics; soothing
Peanut: all skin types
Safflower: all skin types
Sesame: psoriasis, eczema, rheumatism, arthritis; all skin types
Sunflower: all skin types
Wheat germ: eczema, psoriasis, prematurely aging skin; all skin types
I realize that several of the oils I have listed above are useful for a lot of the same things, but not all oils are available in all places, so I wanted to make sure you had a lot to choose from. However, most of these shouldn't be too hard to find, with some of them being available in most grocery stores.
When shopping for essential oils, look for shops that cater to natural and health concerns like a health food store or a shop that deals strictly in essential oils. Stay away from stores that are only concerned with perfuming the air and body. Essential oils are PURE plant oils; perfume oils are primarily man-made and contain little to no natural oils at all.
Always make sure when you are buying oils, that you are getting the actual oil and not just a cheap imitation. Price is usually a good indicator............ REAL oils aren't cheap. However, don't let yourself be ripped off by some unscrupulous dealer who is only interested in one thing, which is parting you from large sums of your ca$h!
Familiarize yourself with your local vendors. Ask questions.... lots of them! Anyone who truly knows their oils will gladly answer them. Shop around. Buy several different brands and experiment to see which ones give you the best results.
There are different "grades" of oils. The finest quality being more expensive than a much lesser quality. The rarest oils will undoubtedly fetch a handsome price. Keep in mind that no reputable dealer will sell all essential oils for the same price. Unfortunately, I can't really give you a reliable price guide since prices fluctuate with the availability of the oils, but be sure to check our plentiful selection of oils here at The Celtic Connection for the most current market prices. We carry one of the best grades of essential oils that you can find.