What is Aromatherapy
by Nykol West 2009
Aromatherapy is a widely used term seemingly to simply mean it smells good and many ready-made aromatherapy products labeled with the word "aromatherapy" are not pure and natural. Many Aromatherapists are dismayed at how the catch phrase is thrown about when therapy has very little to do with the product being offered. A pre blended good quality oil or synergistic blend for a general category such as relaxation, pain relief, energizing, can bring a therapeutic effect but still the most effective treatment or True Aromatherapy comes with the individual custom blend, created for the client based on their specific needs at the time.
The essential oil of a plant is the liquid produced in small, gland-like pockets containing the natural chemical makeup or qualities of the plant including its nutrients and hormones. Pure essential oils which have been extracted from the different parts of the same plant (leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and roots) will also have specific varied properties that have different beneficial effects physically, mentally and emotionally.
I try to have a large collection of essential oils to choose from and I look for pure, high quality essential oils manufactured and grown without adulteration or harmful additives. Because of their subtlety of nature and the way volatile molecules of essential oils absorb into the body either topically or through inhalation I do not want to add synthetic derivatives, poisons or caustic chemicals to this mix. At the very least products containing artificial ingredients negate the aromatherapy benefits. Most distributors acquire their essential oils from manufacturers and repackage the essences with their own label. I am usually wary if a distributor claims exclusivity on quality but I find out what I can about the reputation of the distributor and I know that when distributors are experienced at choosing quality products I will be happy with the results.
Unlike, tinctures, teas, infusions or decoctions this liquid though not actually an oil in the chemical sense but, emulsifies in oil rather than water. In ancient times these substances were rare and methods of infusion and extraction were highly protected secrets. These infused oils and plant resins were used in healing, cosmetic and ceremonial purposes and only in Royal Courts and Temples but today the benefits can be available to many people for many purposes.
A great deal of medical research on the effects of essential oils now exists, dosage guide lines, which essential oils must be diluted before use on the skin, contraindications and which ones tend to have higher incidence of allergic reactions thus alleviating doubt and mishaps. With my knowledge of the properties of essential oils and the information my client conveys and physical assessment testing I choose oils for their personal mixture. I use a client questionnaire to help screen for possible allergic reactions and other contraindications as well as deriving information about the conditions they are concerned about. The final assessment is weather the client likes the scent, unlike other types of medicine aromatherapy is never a bitter pill.
Inhalation is the most powerful Aromatherapy method of delivery into the system and of course the way nature has delivered it since the beginning of time. With the method of inhalation essential oil molecules immediately enter the brain and blood stream via nasal membranes, cranial nerves and the alveoli in the lungs. Some level of absorption goes directly into the lymph and capillaries when applied to the skin. Essential oils activate certain glands to send chemical messages and nourishment to the body and brain.
The essential oil mixtures I make that are applied to the skin and made stronger than most over the counter blends and the gentile massage manipulations are specific to delivering the oil into the skin unlike regular massage manipulations that work deeply on the muscles and soft tissues. I add some of the mixture to a diffuser also for inhalation bringing a fuller effectiveness of the treatment. The effects of the essential oils can last up to 24 hours so bathing or showering after treatment is not recommended.
Since many people come to me asking for aromatherapy Massage but what they really mean is a smell good massage I offer a less expensive regular Aromatherapy Massage as well as my Custom Aromatherapy Treatment.
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