Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to uplift, balance or relax the body and mind. Essential oils are extracted pure essences that come from various different plants, flowers, barks, roots and fruit peels.
Modern medical science, as a rule, does not recognise the value of the use of essential oils as a natural medicine for the body and mind but as far back as 6000 years ago they have been used for their therapeutic properties.
Generally, most people associate Aromatherapy with massage, which I would highly recommend, but Aromatherapy is much more and can be used in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to
- Inhalation in hot steam
- In burners
- Diluted in carrier oils for bathing or massage
- Blended into base products
Some essential oils are very potent and can be hazardous if used incorrectly.
Essential oils have microscopic particles which are easily absorbed into the skin to enter the blood stream, whereas other oils and creams only sit on the surface of the skin.
Essential oils also enter the body through the nose and airways. The nose is a direct link to the brain, the brain reacts and releases neurochemicals to relax, uplift or stimulate the mind, depending on which oils or blend of oils are used.
When the essential oils are breathed, they enter the blood streams via the lungs and again have a therapeutic effect.
Aromatherapy massage is carried out by a qualified practitioner who is usually already an expert in anatomy, physiology and massage. Aromatherapists training usually involves learning a specific type of massage, such as lymphatic drainage and pressure point work, along with learning the essential oils, safety precautions, contra-indications and carrying out case studies over an extended period.
Aromatherapy can really help alleviate stress and anxiety and other minor ailments. Please note an Aromatherapists work is never intended to replace a doctor. An Aromatherapist should always carry out a full consultation with each client, in order to establish the suitability and best oils to use. If a client has a serious medical condition, such as heart problems, cancer, etc., the Aromatherapist should not carry out any kind of aromatherapy treatment on the client.
The Aromatherapist will never diagnose an ailment but if the client is aware of a minor ailment, such as stress, insomnia, fatigue, sinusitis, headache, etc. and there are no other underlying medical conditions, then the client would probably benefit from an aromatherapy treatment with oils blended for the particular ailment.
A word of caution. Some essential oils, as previously mentioned, can be very potent and care should be taken when using essential oils in the home. You should always carry out research on the oils you intend to use before use, to establish if you would have any contra-indications to the oil, which could have an adverse effect on your health and well being.
If after an Aromatherapy treatment, you are given a blended oil by the Aromatherapist for home use, then this should be safe to use at home, as it has been blended specifically for you, but do take care around small children and animals as they may have contra-indications to the blend that you yourself did not have.