Aromatherapy Therapy - Essential Oils
History of Aromatherapy
Essential oils, the essence of aromatherapy were first used by the early Egyptians, approximately 5000 years ago. Clay tablets used to order to make the essential oils of myrrh and cypress, date from about 1800 BC and were found in Babylon. No one knows exactly how it all started, it certainly isn’t a recent discovery.
The Romans used essential oils more lavishly to beautify themselves. They would rub them into their skin before and after bathing; use them to perfume their clothing and hair. Eventually the Romans brought the knowledge to Britain. In the early twentieth century, research began in earnest once again by a French scientist. He used oils to help heal the sick.
Aromatherapy Essential Oils
The essential oils are substances extracted from the roots, stalks, flowers, leaves or fruit of a plant and have numerous and powerful healing properties. Essential oils are also called aromatherapy oils, so don’t be confused if you are shopping as they are one and the same.
These potent oils are produced and for example, it takes 2000 pounds of rose petals to produce just 1 pound of rose oil! If you squeeze the peel of a lemon or orange you can extract a few drops of essential oil.
The more common method of extraction today is distillation. The chosen flower or leaves are packed into a distilling vessel, which is then closed and boiled with water. The hot water causes the oil cells to separate and the essential oils can then be drawn off. The water that is left keeps the scent so it is often sold as a separate product.
Diagram as to How the Therapy Works
Way to Use Aromatherapy
Regular use of aromatherapy is a gentle, effective way of maintaining good health. An aromatherapy bath is a wonderful way to end a stressful day. The oils stimulate the skin and have a muscle-relaxing effect. You can use uplifting oil in a bath also for a pick-me-up which might be lemon essential oil mixed with peppermint. This mixture also helps aching feet.
Some physical conditions respond well to essential oil inhalation. Steaming with essential oil can be used to deep cleanse and moisten the face. The oils can be inhaled from a handkerchief or tissue.
Aromatherapy compresses can be helpful in the treatment of bruises, muscle aches and pains, and irritated skin conditions. Usually you would soak the compress in approximately 1/2 pint of water, and then add 10 drops of essential oil. Occasionally neat oil is effective for bruises and abscesses. Essential oil burners are also very popular and allow you to perfume a room and improve your well-being at the same time. You control the atmosphere by your choice of oil.
Diagram of Body for Various Essential Oils
Aroma Therapy Massage - to die for
Massage is the most relaxing and therapeutic way of all to experience aromatherapy. Essential oils are blended and then worked into the body using massage techniques that stimulate the whole system while improving the circulation and relaxing the nervous system.
A selection of essential oils can be found in numerous places, such as health food stores, online, or through chemists. Be careful to choose essential oils, not perfumed oils. An essential oil is thin and watery, swift to evaporate, and overpoweringly scented when neat, which should be quite pleasant. Essential oils fall into three categories:
- Top notes: Oils that evaporate very quickly. They are generally uplifting and stimulating with a greenish, fresh aroma.
- Middle notes: These are used to help the body with most bodily functions and the body’s metabolism.
- Base notes: These are extremely relaxing, sometimes sedative and generally have a lovely, warm aroma
Scented oils are sold in tinted glass because they may be damaged by light, and they should always be stored in a dark, cool place. Keep the lids on tightly or they may easily evaporate.
Making Your Essential Oils
Making and Storing Your Essential Oils
Essential are hardly every sold neat, but are blended into a carrier oil. The carrier oil (always vegetable in origin) acts as a base and acts as a lubricant, so massages is easier and more effective.
If you are mixing your own solutions, look for oil that is light with no color or smell. Suggested oils are: soya bean, grape seed, safflower, sunflower, and if your skin is dry avocado oil is very lubricating or even sweet almond oil. Wheat germ oil is excellent for helping to heal a scar and it also acts as a preservative.
A general rule of blending in aromatherapy is to use 6 drops of an essential oil to every 2 tsp. of carrier oil. If you are blending oil for your face you might decrease the essential oil to 4 drops. Essential oils are potent and will go a long way.
This all sounds wonderful and I am sold on that massage. Aromatherapy using essential oils will make your life better, more relaxed and more enjoyable.
© 2010 Pamela Oglesby