Aromatherapy And Essential Oils - The Basics

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					Aromatherapy is the use of oils extracted from various, primarily fragrant, plants to
aid in the relief of a range of physical or mental discomforts or illnesses. These oils,
commonly referred to as "essential oils" are also used to enhance or encourage
positive responses in the user. These oils may be used by direct application or by
inhaling the aromas, hence the name "aromatherapy". The inhaled aromas can be
dispersed by candles prepared with the essential oils, by applying the oil to some
object, such as a handkerchief or pillowcase, by spraying a mix of the essential oil and
water into the air, or by means of a "diffuser". A diffuser is a device generally
available from essential oil providers which uses heat to disperse molecules of the
chosen essential oil into the air.

Although long used in other parts of the world, such as the East and Middle East,
aromatherapy is essentially new to Europe and the United States. In the last few years,
in addition to an increase in the numbers of aromatherapy practitioners, a broad
interest and corresponding retail market in aromatherapy, essential oils, and related
items such as candles, perfumes, and diffusers has sprung up. It is now very easy for
someone knowing little or nothing about aromatherapy to buy the necessary supplies
and reap the benefits of aromatherapy.


There are several essential oils, some having effectiveness in more than one situation.
The list is not complicated, but is too long to go into in this article. You may wish to
visit to view a short list of some of the more
common oils and their uses.

Overall, the effects may be divided into two basic groups. Some essential oils have
actual physical effects. For example, eucalyptus oil can be inhaled to help clear
sinuses and the respiratory tract. This would obviously relieve some symptoms of an
upper respiratory infection (URI). Some oils may be used topically (directly on the
skin, where they would usually be absorbed by the body, or on a wound) to possibly
relieve swelling or fight certain infections.

Secondly, aromatherapy, usually thru the inhaling of the molecules of the essential oil,
can affect moods and emotions. Since feelings and emotions are more and more
appearing to be hard-wired to the health of the body, it is beginning to become
apparent that improvements in such areas as moods can affect the actual health
condition of the body in addition to simply making the individual feel happier, or
more energetic, or more alert. Studies have shown, for example, that the status of
someone's emotional state can affect the ability of their immune system to fight off

Essential oils can be used in other products such as perfumes, lotions, cleansers and
other cosmetics and personal care items. Essential oils are even used in such common
items as household cleaners and toothpaste. Many people even use essential oils with
other elements to create their own products. One company even offers a Health, Home
and Beauty Kit so that those interested in aromatherapy can use essential oils to
"...create hundreds of blends for everything from women 抯 concerns to cleaning
your bathroom tiles."


Being an alternative form of healthcare, aromatherapy was, until recently, looked
down on by the traditional medical community. However, with the increasing tide of
evidence of the importance of the mind-body connection in health, and with an
increasing volume of empirical and anecdotal evidence, the scientific community has
begun to accept aromatherapy and the affect of essential oils on least to
some extent.

In the last few years, researchers at the Kurume University School of Medicine in
Japan, the University of Miami School of Medicine, the University of Alaska, and the
University of Pittsburgh, to name a few, have shown positive results in subjects
through the use of aromatherapy. Subjects have experienced improved mental and
physical functions after the use of essential oils. Subjective measurements have
indicated positive experiences in participants, while objective measurements, such as
electroencephalograms (EEG) have borne out these results as well.

Participants have used essential oils to improve their immune systems, improve
athletic ability, increase alertness, ease depression, be more effective students, and to
quit smoking.


While essential oils are natural products and may be inhaled directly with no harm,
you should always be careful to merely inhale the aroma rising from the container,
much as you would inhale the scent of a cologne or perfume. Do not place essential
oils directly into nasal passages. Using a diffuser, candle, or item with the oil on it to
release the molecules are the most common ways of experiencing the actual aroma.

Essential oils are stronger than what would be experienced when sniffing a rose, for
example, so it is best to ease into their use. Essential oils usually come in small vials
or bottles and are used a drop or two at a time. Products from various suppliers may
have different concentrations, so the product from A may only need a drop while that
from B needs two drops.

Take time off. Prolonged contact with the oils can result in allergic reactions in some
cases or even mild toxic reactions. Always follow your distributor's recommendations
and make sure you have a distributor who can and will give warnings and

If using a product claiming to be an aromatherapy product by virtue of its ingredients,
always check to make sure that it is actually using essential oils. While the smell
which reminds us of the fragrant flower or plant it copies might produce positive
feelings in most of us, the genuine essential oil itself will be more effective.

Unless you are under the guidance of a skilled, experienced aromatherapist, you
should never ingest essential oils. Children and pregnant women should never ingest
essential oils.

Lastly, while essential oils used in topical applications or inhaled during aromatherapy
can certainly produce beneficial results, they should never be used in place of
professional medical treatment.