Just the term ‘Aromatherapy’ conjures up images of plush spas, soothing music, and of course the pleasant smell of exotic flowers and plants. It is a well known fact that humans form memories and associate certain smells with certain emotions, based on their childhood and early memories. For instance, the smell of jasmine can bring up memories of one’s grandmother who always wore a jasmine scented perfume, or the smell of pines may bring memories of camping in the woods. Smells play a key role in triggering our emotions and body responses. This is the basis of Aromatherapy, using scents as the central tool to bring about desired results.
Essential oils, in their purest form, contain therapeutic and antiseptic properties to varying degrees. This makes them not just luxury oils to be used for massages, but medicines with potent properties to be used with care and a complete understanding of their capabilities.
Another thing that most people are unaware of is that essential oils and perfume/fragrance oils are not the same. While essential oils are completely natural and contain therapeutic properties, perfume oils are more often than not synthetic oils that are used just for their fragrance and do not contain any antiseptic or therapeutic properties whatsoever. Even the so-called natural fragrance oils tend to be synthetic. So if you are looking for oils to treat ailments, then be sure to go in for essential oils and not get them confused with the less potent perfume oils.
Almost all essential oils contain antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. This is why Aromatherapy is touted as a healthy way of life. Going in for a monthly Aromatherapy treatment will help keep your body healthy, fighting disease-causing germs and keeping them at bay.
Each essential oil has specific purposes. In order to gain the most from Aromatherapy, one needs to be aware of the properties and uses of each essential oil and then determine which one will best suit your needs and requirements. For instance, tea tree oil is highly effective in treating skin inflammations and has antiseptic properties that will heal skin infections and allergies. Basil helps rejuvenate the body and mind and is perfect for those who are looking for a quick pick-me-up. Rosemary oil is effective in aiding the functioning of the liver and also helps promote digestion. Lavender oil is said to be very relaxing, helping us de-stress by calming our mind and body.
Essential oils are highly concentrated. It takes anywhere from a hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds of plant material to produce one pound of essential oil. So these oils are highly concentrated and should not be used undiluted. When used in Aromatherapy, essential oils must always be mixed with a non-fragrant oil to dilute it.
Just like any other product, it is possible for one to be allergic to certain essential oils. So it is advisable to carry out an allergy test before using an essential oil for the first time. To do this, mix a drop of the essential oil with half a teaspoon of olive oil. Apply this onto the underside of your arm and wait for a couple of hours. If no rashes or redness occurs, you can then safely assume that you are not allergic to that particular oil.
Aromatherapy is the art of healing the mind and the body by using the precious gifts of nature. While it may seem harmless and easy to administer, one must have intricate knowledge to carry out an Aromatherapy session. When you think about the years people spend learning and mastering this art, you will realise that it is not something to be tampered with. So it is always better to go to an expert for your Aromatherapy rather than indulging in DIY sessions that might provide adverse results.
Here’s a small list of some of the most common essential oils used in Aromatherapy and what they do:
1. Tea tree oil – Ideal for treating oily/acne prone skin. Tea tree oil is a great healing agent and is also very effective in getting rid of dandruff.
2. Lavender oil – Is extensively used to relax the mind and body. Lavender oil suits pretty much all skin types. It is also widely used for hair care.
3. Rosemary oil – Is used in hair care preparations and is suitable for oily/acne prone skin.
4. Peppermint – Used to refresh the mind and rejuvenate the body. Peppermint is suitable for oily skin.