Authentic aromatherapy for health

The therapeutic effects of flower and plant essences have been known and experienced since early in recorded history. Much scientific research has proven the healing power of unadulterated and uncontaminated pure plant essences. However, in the last 35 years, physicians and scientists have turned with heightened interest to this natural and complementary method of healing, often equally as powerful as conventional healing methods.

What is Aromatherapy

The term “aromatherapy” was first coined in 1928 by Rene Maurice Gattefosse, a French perfumist and chemist. He used the word ‘Aromatherapy’ to identify and define a chemical action that has a clinical effect when the essential oil of lavender, which he had been studying, healed his own severe burn which he suffered from a lab explosion. In this way, he helped clarify the difference between the therapeutic effects of essential oils, and using them for perfumes, fragrances and flavorings.

Aromatherapy has matured and developed into a discipline that relies on a holistic approach which considers the body, the mind and the spirit, (which many people define by the term ‘energy’). This approach acknowledges that essential oils, which are aromatic organic compounds, have a multi-dimensional effect not only on the mind through the sense of smell, but also on the body, based on chemistry and method of application.

Unfortunately, Aromatherapy is often misrepresented and misinterpreted as something which simply smells good. This misconception is perpetuated by the commercial market where many products claim to be aromatherapeutic, without actually having plant essence in the formula. Commonly, the scent is created by a similar but synthetic, substance. More and more research is showing that although two molecules may be identical in structure, they are not able to create the same therapeutic effect.

“I happened to meet Deonne at the Growers Market in Grants Pass. I had been suffering from anxiety attacks for several months. Suddenly while walking around the market I felt an anxiety attack coming on, and as luck would have it I just happened to be standing in front of Deonne’s aromatherapy booth. I asked her if she had anything for anxiety, and she proceeded to apply generous amounts of her De-Stress blend. IMMEDIATELY the anxiety went away! I thought this might just be a fluke, but I bought the blend anyway. Since then I’ve used the blend time and time again with similar results, so I don’t think it was a fluke.”

– Sandy H.

What are essential oils

Essential oils are the volatile chemical compounds produced by plants and stored in specialized plant cells. There are many different storage cells and storage areas, depending on the particular plant. This process is similar to our body’s organs that secrete and/or store hormones and enzymes.

Pure essential oils, as defined by trained aromatherapists, are most commonly obtained by the steam distillation of plant material, and by the expression of some citrus fruits rinds. Methods of extraction that require solvents are not considered suitable for aromatherapy. In no case are synthetic “fragrance” oils suitable for aromatherapy.

Essential oils are not really oils as we know them, but because they do not disperse in water they are called ‘oils’. An essential oil is a highly concentrated representation of the radiant energy of the sun, transmuted by the plant into a chemical form. Some essential oils are watery and others are quite viscous, but all are volatile and will evaporate and oxidize with exposure to sunlight, heat and air.

When pure, unadulterated and used properly by trained specialists, essential oils do not cause side effects. They penetrate the skin’s surface, and are transported into the blood stream to circulate throughout the body, safely enhancing the therapeutic effects of the oils.

How Essential Oils are Used

Essential oil treatments (Aromatherapy treatments) can be given by many different methods.

  • Topical treatments: applied in baths, compresses, massage oils, soaks, washes or rinses, balms or salves and pulse point oils.
  • Inhaled treatments: diffused through the air by hot, cold or steam diffusion, micro-nebulized or directly inhaled from a bottle.
  • Rectal/vaginal suppositories: safe for specific disorders.
  • Oral Ingestion: safe and effective when recommended by trained aromatherapists.

Knowledge of safety and toxicity guidelines is essential in all therapeutic applications of Aromatherapy.

By virtue of their chemical components, essential oils have therapeutic qualities. A professional aromatherapist will be trained in their proper use and application. The benefits of essential oils vary from individual to individual; what works in one way for you may not have the same effect for someone else.

Aromatherapy is effective in the treatment of many different ailments. From common concerns to serious disease. To a competent therapist, the context in which disease/illness occurs is vital to the healing process; she/he will have a method for getting to know and understand the client.

Lavender field in France in background. Photo taken by Deonne.

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