What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the use of the components of essential oils that are extracted from plants to treat physical, emotional and mental ailments. Aromatherapy can also be used for health and beauty needs and home health.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are the primary ingredients in therapeutic aromatherapy products. Essential oils are the essence of the plant and are frequently referred to as the “bloodstream” of a plant. When we extract essential oils from plants, we gain the benefit of their nutrients, hormones, chemicals and oxygen-producing capabilities; thus the name essential oils.
Synthetic prescription drugs have a chemical composition similar to essential oils, so you can use essential oils with confidence, knowing they will work as successfully, in most cases, as the synthetic medications but without many of the side effects.
Does aromatherapy work by smelling something?
While many essential oils have a nice fragrance, it is not the smell that provides the therapeutic value to aromatherapy. Essential oils contain multiple chemical properties that enable aromatherapists to create blends that effectively ease many physical, mental, and emotional health concerns. In fact, essential oils have, on average, approximately 12 chemical properties. With over 400 essential oils having 12 chemicals each, a qualified aromatherapist has quite an array of chemicals to blend into useful blends.
How do essential oils work?
Both essential oils and conventional medications work because they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Most oral medications, however, have to go through the digestive system and may lose some of their strength as the enzymes in the digestive process attack the drug. Since essential oils are typically either applied directly to the skin, or inhaled through the mucous membranes, they do not suffer a loss of potency by going through the digestive system. Thus, essential oils may prove to be more helpful.
How do I use essential oils?
The essential oils extracted from plants, flowers, seeds, barks and grasses are very concentrated, so never put them directly on the skin. You’ll notice all of our blends are diluted with lotion, salve, cream or water, with the exception of our concentrates which you are directed to dilute before use. And remember – you only need a few drops or a touch of the lotion or cream to reap the benefits. Some oils are not suitable for skin use – so if in doubt, ask us.
Be careful not to get essential oils on or near the eyes. If you do get any in your eyes, or your skin has a burning sensation, use a vegetable oil or safe cream to dilute the effects and seek medical help.
And of course there’s nothing like a slow, soothing massage with lotion-based essential oils by that “significant other” to make you spring back to life and at the same time feel fully relaxed and vibrant.
The skin is an organ, just like your heart or lungs, and it’s connected to the nervous system and bloodstream. The molecules of essential oils are small enough to penetrate through the skin and enter the bloodstream. Just like patches used to stop smoking, the principle is the same. The benefits start in about half an hour.
Can everyone use essential oils?
Essential oils have been effectively used by people of all ages. While you may have to modify the strength of the blend for infants or the elderly, aromatherapy can be incorporated into your daily life at any age.
As is true with pharmaceutical medications, you will want to make sure that you tell your aromatherapist if you have any significant ailments, such as epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, etc. Also tell your aromatherapist what other medications you are taking to make sure that the essential oil chemicals do not interfere. Also, women who are pregnant will want to avoid certain essential oils (see “What oils are safe to use for pregnancy?” below for more information).
When I use essential oils will I get better immediately?
As is true for any prescribed medication, essential oils do NOT work after just one application. For pain relieving blends, you want to use a tiny amount of the blend frequently during the first few days to have the chemicals in the essential oils reach a therapeutic level for you. Once you have reached that therapeutic level and are feeling better, you can start reducing the number of times you apply the blend.
However, you want to continue to use the blend for a few days after you are symptom free just to make sure your body is fully recovered.
How should I apply essential oil blends to injuries?
You always want to apply a blend in the direction of the body system. Imagine your muscles are like a rubber band; if you apply the blend in a circular motion, you are going to squeeze that muscle into a tight little knot – that is not going to help heal you. So apply in the same direction as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
What oils are safe to use for pregnancy?
Essential oils can help you make the most of this miraculous time. However, there are some oils that you want to avoid while you are pregnant.
Almond Bitter, Anise, Basil, Bay, Birch, Black Pepper, Camphor, Cedarwood, Celery Seed, Cajuput, Cinnamon, Citronella, Clary Sage, Clove Bud & Leaf, Cypress, Elecampane, Elemi, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Helichrysum, Hyssop, Immortelle, Jasmine, Juniper, Lemon Balm, Majoram, Mugwort, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley Seed, Pennyroyal, Peppermint (1st), Rosemary (1st), Rue, Sage, Sassafras, Tansy, Thyme, Thuja, Wintergreen, and Wormwood.
*NOTE: This list may not be comprehensive. ALWAYS check with a certified aromatherapist.
So you might be thinking – then what can I use while I’m pregnant? With over 400 therapeutic essential oils, there are still many that you can use to treat stretch marks, stress, loss of energy, and other pregnancy issues. Here are some of the more popuplar oils that are considered safe: Bergamot, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Mandarin, Neroli, Orange, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Tea Tree and Ylang Ylang.
What oils are safe to use on infants?
From the moment they are born, infants can benefit from essential oils. However, due to their sensitive little body systems, you must be careful with the essential oils that you use with infants.
Generally speaking, we dilute essential oils used on infants more than we would for the same product on children or adults. The following oils are safe to use with newborns: Chamomile Roman, Chamomile German, Geranium, Yarrow and Dill.
From two months old on you can also use Mandarin, Eucalyptus, Coriander and Neroli. After six months you can add Palma Rosa, Calendula, Grapefruit, Ginger and Tea Tree.
What oils are safe to use on toddlers and youth?
If you have been using essential oils on your child since she/he was an infant, you have more flexibility on the oils that you can use as they grow into toddlers. Keep in mind that you would never want to use a full dosage of essential oils on a child as you would for an adult. Generally speaking, we use 5–12 drops of essential oil for every 2 tablespoons or base oil or 2 ounces of base lotion in blends to be used on toddlers. If you have not been using essential oils on your child since infancy, you will want to use fewer drops and always use the oils diluted in water, oil, or lotion.
You can use the 14 essential oils that are noted in the Infants section and you can now add Peppermint, Rosemary, Nutmeg, Thyme, and Clary Sage. After age seven, you can add Fennel, Frankincense, Cypress, and Basil.
As they pass through puberty, Marjoram, Bergamot, and Geranium are very helpful oils for both boys and girls to treat skin conditions, stress, muscle strain, and other ailments that teens experience. Feel free to contact us if you need a specific blend you don’t currently see in our store.
How effective is it to apply and inhale essential oils?
Essential oil blends can be inhaled through baths, diffusers, steams, hot tubs, humidifiers, perfumes, on a hanky or on a cotton ball inside your pillow case. It usually takes only a few seconds for the beneficial effects to begin their magic.
Your nose sends the chemical message through the limbic part of the brain (the oldest part of the brain, by the way) where it is then very effectively sent out like e-mail to the nervous system and to glands or organs that specifically need it.
NEVER ingest essential oils through your mouth unless specifically instructed by a certified aromatherapist … and even then ask to make sure you understand the instructions correctly. These oils, once in your stomach and digestive tract, can react with other chemicals or even with food you may have already eaten.
How do essential oils act differently when combined with other essential oils to give me targeted and effective relief?
Today, aromatherapy is coming into its own place in the world of medicinal uses and perfumery. Aromatherapy can be of great help to ease a wide assortment of ailments, 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 well being.
Essential oils are natural organic substances, which are produced in various glands and sacs within aromatic plants. Essential oils are highly volatile, which means they readily evaporate. They have a consistency more like water than oil, but some oils are more viscous than others. Essential oils are soluble in alcohol, ether and fixed oils. They are not soluble in water. The power of penetration through the skin is great. The time of absorption is between 20-70 minutes and varies depending on the fat content of the individual.
Some essential oils are adaptogenic, which means that the essential oil increases resistance and resilience to stress, enabling the body to avoid crisis and maintain a level of balance. Adaptogens also support the adrenals. Essential oils have minimal, if any, unwanted side effects and in fact are known to support and enhance the body’s own innate healing capacity.
Another adaptive property of essential oils is how they interact with other essential oils. For example, Lavender mixed with Lemon provides an uplifting, stimulating result; while Lavender mixed with Clary Sage provides a calming result. Many oils have these adaptive properties making them very flexible for a variety or uses.
How do I store my essential oils?
Store them away from the effects of heat, light and air to help them maintain their potency, and make sure they are tightly sealed in dark glass bottles. Pretty simple, huh?