The sense of smell, olfaction, is one of our most powerful senses. Aromatherapy is a curative process using aroma. More clearly, Aromatherapy is a healing modality utilizing the science of plant compounds called essential oils. Essential oils are extracted from single botanical sources from all over the world by a variety of methods, of which, steam distillation is the most common. Various aromatic plant parts are used depending on the nature of the plant and the richest chemical properties, there in. Examples are:
The ‘power of the plant’ has the ability to aid healing on a physical, mental, emotional and spirit level. This gift of nature is truly our “holistic” medicine cabinet! It has been documented that essential oils have been used throughout time, going as far back as 4500 BC.
The integrity of the essential oil is vital. High standard Aromatherapy utilizes only the purest grade, unadulterated essential oils, batch tested for quality assurance and scientific data.
So how is the quality of an essential oil tested?
A leading edge technology called Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry(GC/MS) is used to test the purity of the essential oil and decipher the chemical components contained within. Understanding the chemistry of essential oils is crucial when effective, clinical results are desired. Some components of essential oils are terpenes, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters, oxides and ethers(More on the chemistry of essential oils in another post). Each natural chemical component is responsible for various healing actions. Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antidepressant & anti-spasmodic, to name a few.
It’s really not! The power of scent is enjoyed by all, with or without the “background portfolio”. For example, when smelling a rose can invoke a sense of serenity and the remembrance of a loved one’s ‘signature scent’, or the delicious smell of garlic & onions cooking can magically stimulate the appetite.
How does it all work?
Through the process of smelling, messages are transmitted to the limbic system of our brain. The limbic system has a direct connection to our central nervous system, an intimate relationship with our emotional set up & memory, and plays a primary role in decision-making. This unique pathway to the brain is one reason why psychological and physical benefits are experienced rather quickly.
Applications may include one or various combinations, as needed:
- Inhalation(through facial steam, electric diffuser, inhalers, etc.)
- Hydrotherapy(through baths/soaks)
- Topical(lotion/oil/aloe base)
- Compress(hot or cold)
Aromatherapy, in my opinion, is one of the most simple and enjoyable ways to enhance your life. It has the ability to connect us with nature and to deeper levels within…. Truly a gift to share.
Until next time,