What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the use of organic essences of aromatic plants for healing and the maintenance of vitality. The essential oils are extracted from a wide variety of plants and are very concentrated. For example, it takes the petals from about 30 specially cultivated roses to produce one drop of Rose essential oil and several kilos of lavender to produce a small bottle of essential oil.
Today there are around 150 essential oils used in aromatherapy, each oil has its own unique healing properties and fragrance. One essential oil may contain over one hundred different chemical constituents. These oils in their natural state have been found to possess a powerful ‘synergy’ i.e the therapeutic quality of the unadulterated natural oil is more effective than a synthetic, partially reconstructed equivalent. Essences are volatile and will evaporate without a trace if left open to the air, they will not dissolve in water.
Several oils are often used in combination to promote healing on different levels – physical, mental and emotional. There are several ways of using oils, all of them being very pleasant: massage, bathing, compress, inhalation, ointments and balms. The quickest way to absorb essential oils is by inhaling their aroma, which has a direct effect on the brain. Diluted oils can also be absorbed via the skin during massage, this being one of the most popular and relaxing ways to enjoy the therapeutic effects of essential oils.
Smell has always been one of the most powerful and perhaps one of the most instinctual of all our senses. Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Proper use of essential oils can help promote a more balanced lifestyle, there is less likelihood of succumbing to everyday illness and the effects of stress. A balanced state of mind promotes vitality and better ability to cope with potentially difficult and stressful times.
There are many benefits of aromatherapy, such as boosting the immune system, improve sleep quality, help alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and the menopause, reduce stress, agitation, anxiety, treat headaches, migraines and improve digestion.