What is Aromatherapy?
Here is an animation of how essential oils and floral waters are made.
Aromatherapy is a therapy using essential oils, they are odorous and highly volatile (they readily evaporate in the open air). They are extracted by various methods, usually by steam distillation from plants, herbs, flowers, seeds, grasses, roots, trees and fruits. Different essential oils can be extracted from various parts of one plant. In the case of the Orange tree, Petitgrainessential oil is extracted from the leaves, Orange essential oil is extracted from the rind of the fruit and Neroli, sometimes called Orange blossom is extracted from the blossom. These essential oils, even though they are from the same tree, have different aromas and different therapeutic qualities. Often described as the ‘life force’ of the plant; I like to think of essential oils as ‘my genie in the bottle’. Essential oils used in natural skin care are the results of collective knowledge gained over thousands of years from many contributing countries. Their marvelous therapeutic properties, together with their medicinal capabilities, are known and recognized all over the world. All essential oils are anti-bacterial, and many of them are anti-viral and anti-fungal.
Essential oils are natural and achieve the desired results that cannot be gained through the use of synthetics because essential oils can be classed as biotic (Strengthens living tissue whilst destroying bacteria), which is the opposite of anti-biotic.
This explains the success of natural essence in the healing process. Essential oil therapy, also known as Aromatherapy, works directly on the skin and organs, and has a direct effect on the limbic system in the brain. For example, the smell of ylang ylang stimulates the pituitary gland, which then releases a sexually stimulating neurochemical, endorphin. Just smelling Marjoram, can cause drowsiness which is helpful in the treatment of insomnia and can also tame an overactive sex drive. Neroli, by aroma alone, can help in cases of sudden shock, grief and hysteria. Essential oils work on all levels. In massage they penetrate the skin and reach the blood stream in minute quantities to heal our muscles and organs at the same time we are receiving their scents through the nose. It appears that they can activate part of the brain which stores memories and that they also have an effect on the nervous system so that they can help to reduce anxiety for instance without the side effects of chemical tranquilizers. To sum up, essential oils work both psychologically and physiologically and by affecting the state of the mind, the state of the body may be altered.
There are three styles of Aromatherapy that have developed over the years.
1. Holistic Aromatherapy is a hand’s on therapy employing essential oils and massage. Nutrition and subtle energy imbalances (mental state) are also taken into consideration
2. Medical (Clinical) Aromatherapy uses essential oils internally as drugs and/or medication. Many doctors in France practice this form of therapy.
3. Aesthetic Aromatherapy is used specifically for beauty treatments, skin problems and cellulite reduction.