Aromatherapy is the use of fragrant parts of aromatic plants to promote health and wellbeing. The tradition began about 2000 years ago and has been tried and tested with great success over the centuries.
The oils (also known as Essential Oils) are distilled from the stems, leaves, flowers, fruit, bark, root and seeds of a plant. Some plants produce a lot more oil than others and this explains why some are very expensive to produce. For example, it takes about 10,000 pounds of rose petals to make just one ounce of oil. The oils are highly concentrated and always have to be diluted before use, and it is always best to consult a qualified Aromatherapist first.
The different fragrances and chemical constituents of the oils can produce a range of gentle emotional and physical reactions, with the plants containing between 100-200 different chemicals on average. On an emotional level, they can stimulate, balance, uplift, energise and calm the mind. Physically, the individual oils work in many different ways including helping to fight infections, boost circulation, aid digestion and are highly prized in skincare.
The oils are used practically in two ways, the first being inhalation. Our sense of smell is linked to the oldest part of our brain (the limbic system), and seems to have a direct link to our emotions. For example, the smell of freshly cut grass can instantly take you back to memories of happy summer days spent playing in the garden as a child, and make you feel uplifted. Physically, the tiny molecules are small enough to enter the blood stream either via the lungs through inhaling, or through application to the skin. The oils will then go to the part of the body where they are needed, a little like taking a pain reliever.
The wonderful thing about using Essential Oils is that they not only smell wonderful, they are great for your health too!