What’s the Deal With – Aromatherapy?

We hear the word Aromatherapy and Essential Oils quite a lot nowadays.  From shower gels to washing powder everything seems to have the words ‘contains essential oils’ or a list of plant extracts on it.  It can seem a little confusing when we are talking about true Aromatherapy and Essential Oils.

What Exactly Are Essential Oils?

The oil (it’s not always an oil to start with) is extracted through various methods from different parts of the plant.  This could be the leaf, bark, petal, twigs, roots, leaves, seeds, any part.  Different plants keep their life force in different places.

Some would consider essential oils the ‘heart’ or ‘life force’ of the plant.  The reason being that it is this special part of the plant which has the ability to change the chemical compound of the plant, telling it when to drops its petals and grow new leaves.  When these essential oils interact with us through our senses, they have the ability to alter our chemical make up too.  It truly is all very clever!

Lovely Lavender Fields
Lovely Lavender Fields

What Exactly is Aromatherapy?

Directly translated ‘Aroma’ means pleasant scent and ‘Therapy’ means treatment.  Aromatherapy it the name for the application of these essential oils, through a variety of means, letting the essential oils promote health and wellbeing both physically and mentally.

Essential Oils
Essential Oils

How Can I Use Aromatherapy?

You can absorb essential oils through the skin or by smell.  The most common way is Massage and most Aromatherapists will be qualified in Massage, which is fab because then you get all the benefits of the massage as well.  You can also put the oils in burners or vaporisers, a couple of drops on a hot or cold compress, or a few drops in the bath.  If you are adding oils to the bath, you can dilute then into some full-fat milk as essential oils don’t mix with water.

Pop 3 drops of essential oil onto a cotton wool pad & place on a warm radiator. The heat will cause the oil to evaporate and fragrance the room.

A Few Things to be Aware of;

Aromatherapy is generally a safe treatment but there are things that you should be aware of and certain conditions that you should not have Aromatherapy treatments…

  • Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin & should be diluted into a carrier oil such as Sweet Almond Oil or Grape seed oil.
  • Essential oils are highly flammable.
  • Always keep away from animals and children.
  • They can be highly toxic if ingested.  They should never be taken orally.
  • If you have highly sensitive skin or allergies you should carry out a patch test first.
  • If you are pregnant I would always recommend seeking advice from a qualified Aromatherapist.
  • Aromatherapy is best avoided if you have epilepsy, high or low blood pressure, diabetes, spastic conditions, dysfunction of the nervous system, recent operation, varicose veins, fever, infectious disease, cancer, thrombosis or embolism.

If you are unsure you can always contact an Aromatherapist and ask for advice.

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