Aromatherapy means something different to each person you meet. According to Aromatherapy.com, it is “the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.” But it is so much more than that. It’s smelling a rose bush in your garden and feeling at ease. It’s burning sugar cookie candles and relaxing at the fragrance. It’s inhaling the smell of a strawberry lotion as you rub it on your arms and feeling happy and calm.
However, the way this blog is going to approach Aromatherapy is as an alternative medicine. Specifically, the use of Essential Oils.
There is no right or wrong way to engage in Aromatherapy. Much like any medicine, what works for one person will not work for another. These are just suggestions. My personal experience and my bevvy of knowledge that I’m sharing with you.
Essential Oils are believed to affect the Mind, Body, and Spirit. The benefit of each oil varies slightly, but the general principle is the same. Essential Oils effect the area of the brain that enhances emotion. The olfactory nerve receptors (your nose) are triggered by the molecules in the oils. From the olfactory nerves, the impulse is sent to the limbic system which effects memories and emotions. This brings about a pleasure or disgust response depending on the scent. From the limbic system, the central nervous system is triggered causing noticeable physical reactions. When serotonin is released, anxiety is reduced. When endorphins are released, pain is reduced and sexual function is increased.
When it comes to your body, Essential Oils are easily absorbed into the skin and often need to be diluted to 2-3% when they are going to come in contact with your skin. They must also be in a base oil like vegetable, sweet almond, or jojoba oil; bath water or body care product like lotion. The oils enter the sebaceous glands under your skin and interact with the skins emollients. Depending on the essential oil, it can cleanse, deodorize, tone, or balance. Essential oils are crucial in massage therapy and spa treatments.