Basics of Aromatherapy
By Lorna Findlay
Increasing numbers of people are attempting to return to a lifestyle that is purely holistic and complete, recognizing the importance of combining the mind, body, and spirit in equal measures to achieve optimum health and well-being. Reputed to be very old, and literally used in almost all civilizations of the world, aromatherapy is one form of holistic healing that is easy to and flexible to be practiced in our daily lives.
Aromatherapy contains organic, natural, unadulterated aromatic extracts, called aromatic essential oils, which come from plant origins. These natural substances display a broad range of therapeutic effects and actions on the body. Many of these essential oils play an important role in our daily lives, each and every moment, and in all occasions. At least one daily consumable that is used by us contains one of these essentials, like many tooth pastes and mouth washes. There are even eatables like some baked goods that are made with essential oils. Aromatherapy, however, refers strictly to the use of essential oils and hydrosols for health purposes and body healing.
Aromatherapy is the art of using the fragrant essential oils derived from plants to treat ailments of the mind and body. The magnificent scent of these oils evokes a variety of different responses by stimulating the olfactory and other sensory organs, which are linked to the areas of the brain which control emotions. It means that these essential oils have a direct bearing on the human constitution, body and mind. A chain of chemical reactions, initiated by this invisible stimulation then takes place, effecting a physical or emotional change in the body.
Aromatherapy is an innovative way to improve the quality of life that incorporates all principles of body and mind. Aromatherapy has already become a part of our lives, although many of us have not associated the name with the actual experience. Each human being has an emotional response, both pleasant and unpleasant, some happy and others sad, to certain scents. So the idea behind aromatherapy is, initially, to find those scents and oils, unique but different for each individual, those evoke positive sensory feelings and emotions. The next step is to introduce those essentials into our daily life to enhance well-being. Natural scents and oils keep us connected to the earth, sparking memories and emotions. They also bring back forgotten memories, emotions and lost luster in our lives.
Pure essential oils are extracted from many parts of the plant (flower, leaf, resin, bark, root, twig, seed, berry, rind and rhizome) and the extracted oils are used to relax, replenish, balance and rejuvenate body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy is both an art and a science that involves the basic constitution of our body. All these objectives are skillfully achieved by blending required parts of different oils and then creating a balmy complex that is used to create a heavenly experience.
How ever, the results of aromatherapy are very individual specific and vary from person to person. While experts display general agreement about the actions of certain oils, aromatherapy texts vary differently in their descriptions of the properties and characteristics of an essential oil. The basic fact is that no two persons in this world are influenced by the same aromatic oil in exactly the same way and manner. What is more, even the same person can be significantly affected differently by the same oil depending on surroundings, time or mood.
If you need to experience the real magic of these essential oils, you will have to use one of those applications in any part of daily life. Reactions to fragrances are highly individual and specific. Here is small guideline to help you try evaluating some aromas of essential oils:
As you inhale deeply an essential oil for the first time, try and describe the aroma:
- Is it sharp and stinging?
- Is it subtle and smooth
- Is it balanced and tuned?
- Is it light or heavy?
- Is it warming or cooling?
- Is it sweet, spicy, woody, floral, fruity, etc.?
These are some of the basic sensory feeling you can experience on inhaling aromatic oils. Now try and describe how you perceive the aroma:
- Do you like or dislike it?
- Do you associate the aroma with any of your previous personal experiences?
- What emotions do you have that are connected to these experiences? Is it possible to remember them?
- Does the aroma produce those emotions now? Is it repetitive?
- Does the aroma affect your awareness: does it rejuvenate, energize or relax?
Aromatherapy is a science that can not be comprehended so easily; the whole human race has tried to understand its undying mystery since time immemorial. However, its magical properties have always mesmerized us with a sense of awe and suspense.
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