Aromatherapy is the
practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for
psychological and physical well-being.
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. There are many essential oils.
The term "essential oil"
is often used as a blanket term to also include CO2s and absolutes. It is important to note
that perfume oils
also known as fragrance oils or "fragrances" are not the same as
essential oils. Perfume oils and fragrances contain unnatural chemicals and do
not provide the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. Unfortunately, many
companies improperly use the term aromatherapy on products that contain
unnatural and perfume oils, so it's important to look at the ingredient label
when seeking true aromatherapy products.
The Benefit of an "Aroma"
Essential oils that are inhaled into the lungs are believed to offer
both psychological and physical benefits; not only does the aroma of the natural
essential oil stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction, but the natural
constituents (naturally occurring chemicals) of the essential oil are drawn into
the lungs and can also supply physical benefit. If not done correctly and safely, however, the
use of essential oils can also have severe consequences.
The Benefit of Physical Application
Oils that are applied to the skin are believed to be absorbed into the
bloodstream. The components of the various oils are believed to aid in a variety
of health, beauty and hygiene conditions. To apply essential oils to the skin, "carrier
oils" which are pure vegetable oils are used to dilute the essential oils
and "carry" them to the skin. Common carrier oils include sweet almond oil,
apricot kernel oil and grape seed oil.
Essential Oils can supply other benefits as well. Some oils, for instance, act
as a natural repellent and pesticide. You may recall using "citronella" candles
during the summer to keep mosquitoes away. Citronella
essential oil is the ingredient in the candles that provides this benefit.