Aromatherapy – Essential oils, massage, benefits and products – The word aromatherapy means ‘treatment using scents’. It refers to the use of aromatherapy essential oils in Holistic Healing to improve health and emotional well being and restoring balance to the body.
Essential information relating to aromatherapy oils and benefits
Aromatherapy essential oils are aromatic essences extracted from plants, flowers, trees, fruit, bark, grasses and seeds. There are more than 150 types of oils that can be extracted.
These oils have distinctive therapeutic, psychological and physiological properties that improve health and prevent illness.
All aromatherapy essential oils have unique healing and valuable antiseptic properties.
Some oils are anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving and anti-depressant. Other oils are stimulating, relaxing, expectorating, support digestion and have diuretic properties too.
These aroma oils work by entering the body in three ways: by inhalation, absorption and consumption.
From the chemist’s point of view, essential oils are a mixture of organic compounds viz., ketenes, terpenses, esters, alcohol, aldehyde and hundreds of other molecules.
These are extremely difficult to classify, as they are small and complex.
The essential oil’s molecules are small. They penetrate human skin easily and enter the blood stream directly and finally get flushed out through our elementary system.
A concentrate of aromatherapy essential oils is not greasy; it is more like water in texture and evaporates quickly. Some of them are light liquid, insoluble in water and evaporate instantly when exposed to air.
It would take 100 kg of lavender to yield 3 kg of lavender oil; one would need 8 million jasmine flowers to yield barely 1 kg of jasmine oil.
Some of these aroma oils are very expensive and are extracted using maceration.
The purification process called defleurage is employed, and in some cases fat is used instead of oil.
Then this process, called enfleurage, is used for final purification.
Some of the common essential oils used in aromatherapy for their versatile application are:
Clary Sage (Salvia Scarea)
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globulus)
Geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens)
Lavender (Lavendula Vera Officinals)
Lemon (Citrus Limonem)
Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
Petitgrain (Citus Aurantium Leaves)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinals)
Tea-tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia)
Ylang Ylang (Cananga Odorata)
The oils mentioned above, can be a part of a beginner’s kit.
ORIGIN RIGIN OF AROMATHERAPY
The oldest use of aroma oils is known to be as old as 6000 years back when Egyptian physician, Imhotep recommended fragrant oils for bathing and massaging.
In 4,500 B.C. Egyptians used myrrh and cedar wood orils for embalming their dead.
Now, 6,500 years later, the preserved mummies prove the fact that the cedar wood contains natural fixative and strong anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties.
Hippocrates, the Greek father of Medicine, recommended regular aromatherapy baths and scented massages. This is what he effectively used to ward off plague from Athens.
Romans utilized essential oils for pleasure and to cure pain and also for their popular perfumed baths and massages.
Emperor New being indulgent in feasts and fragrances, employed rose frequently to cure his headaches, indigestion and to maintain his high spirits while enjoying amusements.
During the great plague in London in 1665, people burnt bundles of lavender, cedar wood and cypress in the streets and carried posies of the same plants as their only defense to combat infectious diseases.
Aromatherapy received a wider acceptance in the early twentieth century. In the year 1930, Rene- Maurice-Gatte Fosse, who was a French chemist, dipped his burnt hand in lavender oil.
To his surprise the wound healed very quickly without any infection or scarring. He did considerable research on various oils and their therapeutic and psychotherapeutic properties.
Dr Jean Volnet, French army surgeon extensively used essential oils in World War II. It was Madame Morquerite Murry who gave the holistic approach to aroma oils by experimenting with them for individual problems.
Today, research has proved the multiple uses of aroma oils. Medical research in the recent years has uncovered the fact that the odours we smell have a significant impact on the way we feel.
Smells act directly on the brain like a drug according to scientific research.
For instance smelling lavender increases alpha wave frequency in the back of the head and this state is associated with relaxation.