Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical wellbeing. Essential oil is a liquid that is generally distilled from the leaves, stems, bark, roots, flowers, or other elements of a plant.
Essential oils contain the true essence of the plant it was derived from.
Essential Oils are a source of great pleasure and give a sense of well being both to body and soul. Essential oils can provide valuable physical and psychological therapeutic benefits, these benefits are usually achieved through various methods, commonly used for inhalation and application of the diluted oil massaged on to the skin.
In addition to essential oils, aromatherapy encourages the use of other complimentary natural ingredients including cold pressed vegetable oils, jojoba (a liquid wax), hydrosols, herbs, milk powders, sea salts, sugars (an exfoliant), clays and mud’s.
Inhaling Essential Oils
Essential oils that are inhaled into the lungs offer both psychological and physical benefits. Not only does the aroma of the natural essential oil stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction, but when inhaled into the lungs, the natural constituents (naturally occurring chemicals) can supply therapeutic benefit. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil to help ease congestion is a prominent example. The oils can be diluted and used in oil burners, allowing you to experience the benefits.
If not done correctly and safely, however, the use of essential oils can have severe consequences.
The Benefit of Physical Application
Essential oils that are applied to the skin can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The constituents of essential oils can aid in health, beauty and hygiene conditions. Since essential oils are so powerful and concentrated, they should never be applied to the skin in their undiluted form. To apply essential oils to the skin, essential oils are typically diluted into a carrier such as a cold pressed vegetable oil, also known as a carrier oil. Common carrier oils include sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil and grapeseed oil.
A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts.
If applied to the skin undiluted, essential oils, absolutes, CO2s and other concentrated aromatics can cause severe irritation or reactions in some individuals. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential and other oils prior to application. They carry the essential oil onto the skin.
Each carrier oil offers a different combination of therapeutic properties and characteristics. The choice of carrier oil can depend on the therapeutic benefit being sought.
Natural lotions, creams, body oils, bath oils, lip balms and other moisturizing skin care products are also made using vegetable (carrier) oils. From a simple essential oil/carrier oil blend to a more complex natural lotion.
In addition to therapeutic benefit at the emotional and physical level, essential oils are helpful in other applications. Essential oils can be used in the home in oil burners or candle form, as some oils act as a natural insect repellent and pesticide. You may have used citronella candles during the summer to keep insects away. Citronella essential oil is the ingredient in the candles that is responsible for the insect repellent properties.
Essential Oil Blends
Essential oils can be blended together to create appealing and complex aromas. Essential oils can also be blended for a specific therapeutic application. Essential oils that are carefully blended with a specific therapeutic purpose in mind may be referred to as an essential oil synergy. A synergistic essential oil blend is considered to be greater in total action than each oil working independently.