Aromatherapy: Healing through Scent

Simply explained, aromatherapy is healing through scent.  From the annointing of kings and queens to religious celebrations, scented smoke, oils and fresh plant material were used to soothe, uplift and heal.  The plant materials used contain volatile oils which are extracted for their essential oils, which are used in the perfume and food industries (approximately 90% of worldwide production) and by aromatherapists (10%).

What are Essential Oils?

Lemons on Tree

Lemons                                             Photo: Wikipedia Commons

 

Essential oils are produced by aromatic plants as part of their photosynthesis. Once produced, they are stored in specialised structures or pockets, distributed according to the botanical species. For example, in the leaves, in the case of mint (Mentha piperita); or in the rind in the case of citrus oils such lemon (Citrus limonum).

 

Fascination, Attraction & Protection

Essential oils give the plants their fragrance, attract insects for pollination and protect the plant from attack by insects and disease.  Essential oils are the fragrant and highly volatile products extracted via various means and distilled in liquid form, extracted from a single botanical source. Each molecule of essential oil is a unique combination of a large number of natural, organic chemical constituents in different proportions.

What Effect Do Essential Oils Have?

The various chemical components in essential oils can impact a person’s mood, perception of pain and relaxation, via the olfactory bulb (i.e. your nose).

JuniperBerry

Juniper berries                             Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Our sense of smell lies in the limbic brain, the “primitive” or “reptilian” brain.  This most ancient part of the human brain registered danger, mates and food through the sense of smell – which is probably why a certain perfume or aroma can instantly bring up a memory.  I believe that aromatherapy activates the “memory” of relaxation and wellbeing and.thereby encourages a positive response from the immune system.

What Happens During an Aromatherapy Consultation?

During an aromatherapy consultation, your medical history, current state of health and lifestyle are all given careful consideration to determine the best blend for you. Essential oils are used at very low concentration (1%), as the oils are more effective at impacting emotional issues at lower concentrations.

The oils can be inhaled, put in baths or placed in a burner to diffuse throughout a room. The oils suggested for your use can help you to relax or feel more energised, or to clear and calm the mind for meditation.

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