Aromatherapy is an exploration of creativity as well as technical knowledge. Creative expression comes from knowing the characteristics of oils and envisioning new combinations of scents. The scientific aspect of aromatherapy comes from knowing the subtle differences in essential oils that are attributable to thousands of aroma chemicals, and how these chemical constituents affect the human body. The aromatic properties of natural essential oils are a catalyst for change in the human mind and body.
Essential oil aromas stimulate the part of the brain that affects emotion. The shape of an essential oil molecule is like a key that opens lock-like structure in the olfactory nerve receptors in our nostrils. The impression of the aroma is sent directly and immediately to the limbic system where memories are stored and pleasure and emotions are perceived. When stimulated, the limbic system releases chemicals that affect the central nervous system. Inhaling essential oils can help us attain a pleasurable emotional balance. A balanced emotional state in turn can have a therapeutic effect on physical problems.
Essential oils are quickly absorbed through the skin, traveling around individual cells and into hair follicles, where the oils enter the sebaceous glands and mingle with the skin’s natural emollients. The chemical properties of the oils can be cleansing, deodorizing, toning, or balancing. Essential oils add an aesthetic dimension to the healing effects of massage therapy, compresses, facial steams and body and foot baths. Because they’re so concentrated, essential oils must be diluted so they compose 2%-3% of the blend either in a carrier vegetable oil, such as sweet almond and jojoba, bath water or body care product.
A diffused aroma creates a mysterious presence in a room, then wafts away like a wish or prayer. The essential oils can be thought of as the quintessential spirit of plants, captured in a jar. Essential oils have positive effects on every level of being. Their unique properties enhance the mind, body and spirit. Aromatherapy is the creative and scientific application of essential oils to create beneficial changes in our lives on aesthetic, therapeutic and mystical levels.