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  AROMATHERAPY FOR HEALING

 

aromat2.jpg (117453 bytes)     aromat3.jpg (105282 bytes)  please click on chart to see list of oils.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy means "treatment using scents". It is a holistic treatment of caring for the body with pleasant smelling botanical oils such as rose, lemon, lavender and peppermint. The essential oils are added to the bath or massaged into the skin, inhaled directly or diffused to scent an entire room. Aromatherapy is used for the relief of pain, care for the skin, alleviate tension and fatigue and invigorate the entire body. Essential oils can affect the mood, alleviate fatigue, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. When inhaled, they work on the brain and nervous system through stimulation of the olfactory nerves.

The essential oils are aromatic essences extracted from plants, flowers, trees, fruits, bark, grasses and seeds with distinctive therapeutic, psychological, and physiological properties, which improve and prevent illness. There are about 150 essential oils. Most of these oils have antiseptic properties; some are antiviral, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antidepressant and expectorant. Other properties of the essential oils which are taken advantage of in aromatherapy are their stimulation, relaxation, digestion improvement, and diuretic properties. To get the maximum benefit from essential oils, it should be made from natural, pure raw materials. Synthetically made oils do not work.

Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing fields in alternative medicine. It is widely used at home, clinics and hospitals for a variety of applications such as pain relief for women in labor pain, relieving pain caused by the side effects of the chemotherapy undergone by the cancer patients, and rehabilitation of cardiac patients.

Aromatherapy is already slowly getting into the mainstream. In Japan, engineers are incorporating aroma systems into new buildings. In one such application, the scent of lavender and rosemary is pumped into the customer area to calm down the waiting customers, while the perfumes from lemon and eucalyptus are used in the bank teller counters to keep the staff alert.

 

How Does Aromatherapy Work?

Essential oils stimulates the powerful sense of smell. It is known that odors we smell have a significant impact on how we feel. In dealing with patients who have lost the sense of smell, doctors have found that a life without fragrance can lead to high incidence of psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression. We have the capability to distinguish 10,000 different smells. It is believed that smells enter through cilia (the fine hairs lining the nose) to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls our moods, emotions, memory and learning.

Studies with brain wave frequency has shown that smelling lavender increases alpha waves in the back of the head, which are associated with relaxation. Fragrance of Jasmine increases beta waves in the front of the head, which are associated with a more alert state.

Scientific studies have also shown that essential oils contain chemical components that can exert specific effects on the mind and body. Their chemistry is complex, but generally includes alcohols, esters, ketones, aldehydes, and terpenes. The effect of these chemical components are summarized in the accompanying table.

Each essential oil contains as much as 100 chemical components, which together exert a strong effect on the whole person. Depending on which component is predominating in an oil, the oils act differently. For example, some oils are relaxing, some soothes you down, some relieves your pain, etc. Then there are oils such as lemon and lavender, which adapt to what your body needs, and adapt to that situation. (These are called "adaptogenic"). The mechanism in which these essential oils act on us is not very well understood. What is understood is that they affect our mind and emotions. They leave no harmful residues. They enter into the body either by absorption or inhalation.

A fragrance company in Japan conducted studies to determine the effects of smell on people. They have pumped different fragrances in an area where a number of keyboard entry operators were stationed and monitored the number of mistakes made as a function of the smell in the air. The results were as follows:

 

 

Who doesn't love a massage?

The use of essential oils in massage is a fantastic way to maximize the healing power of the massage itself. When combined with essential oils, a massage can have a powerful calming or energizing effect, depending on the oil chosen and the strokes of the masseur (quick movements will stimulate and slow movements relax).

When using essential oils in massage, always dilute the oils in a carrier oil prior to application to the skin. As we've said before, essential oils are very powerful concentrates, and unless indicated otherwise, should not be directly applied to the skin or irritation can result.

 

 

Carrier Oils:

 

Carrier oils are just that. They are the oils that carry the essential oil. There are a wide variety available including the following:

  • Almond Oil - very easily absorbed by the skin, is very smooth, has little smell, keeps well, contains vitamin D and has beneficial effects on hair, dry skin and brittle nails
  • Apricot kernel Oil - light, contains Vitamin A, particularly good for use on the face if the skin is dry or aging
  • Avocado Oil - heavy, rich in nutrients, very good for dry aging and sensitive skins Evening Primrose Oil - helpful for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, only keeps for about 2 months after opening
  • Grapeseed Oil - light, good for oily skin, one of the least expensive oils
  • Hazelnut Oil - penetrates the skin very easily and is deeply nourishing Jojoba Oil - light, rich in vitamin E, beneficial for spots, acne, dandruff and dry scalp
  • Olive Oil - can be used in a pinch, but has a strong smell which may compete with the essential oil
  • Peach Kernel Oil - light, contains vitamins A & E, very good for the face
  • Soya Oil - easily absorbed, rich in vitamin E
  • Sunflower Oil - contains essential fatty acids, rich in vitamin E, has a slightly nutty smell
  • Wheatgerm Oil - contains vitamins A, B, C and E, firms and tones the skin, reduces blemishes, can help to reduce scar tissue and stretch marks, has a strong smell

 

 

  The Massage:

When combining oils to be used in massage, have the proper supplies on hand. Dark bottles (brown, blue, etc.) in a 2oz size work very well, and can be obtained with relative ease.

Using a small funnel, fill the container half full until you have about 1oz of carrier oil. To the carrier oil, add 12-15 drops of essential oil and place the lid on the container. Shake well (the container - not you!!).

You can use only one essential oil or combine up to three of your choice to comprise the 12-15 drops. And there you have it! Your very own blend of massage oil!

Tip: Make small quantities as outlined above or you may end up with leftovers - blended oils will turn rancid fairly quickly. Store in a cool dark place with the lid tightly closed and they will last up to three months. Let your nose be your guide - if the blend no longer smells good, consider a fresh mix!

 

 

WAYS TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS:  BODY AND HAIR CARE

Bath: fill the tub with bath water.  Add & swish 9-10 drops of essential oil into the bath water.  Some essential oils are
more irritating to the skin than others.  Read the safety cautions for each essential oil.  Or add 9-10 drops of essential oil
to one teaspoon of carrier oil, such as jojoba oil and add & mix into the bath water so the essential oil is soluble in the
carrier oil before adding to the bath.

Liquid Soap: add about 30-45 drops of essential oil to 8 ounces of unscented liquid hand soap or unscented liquid
shower body wash.  Shake vigorously.

Body Oil: add about 12-15 drops of essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil, such as jojoba oil and shake to blend.

Body Lotion: add 50-60 drops of essential oil to 16 ounces of unscented body lotion. Stir with a spoon or stirring
stick to blend the essential oil into the lotion until smooth.

Body Mist: add 10-15 drops of essential oil to a 1 ounce glass misting bottle filled with spring or distilled water.  
Shake well and shake before each mist.

Liniment: add 25-20 drops of essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil, such as jojoba oil.  Shake well to blend.

Compress: add & mix 3-5 drops of essential oil to a bowl of warm or cool water. Soak a wash cloth, wring and
apply.

Shampoo/Conditioner: add 12-15 drops of essential oil to one ounce of unscented or mild shampoo and
conditioner.  Shake well to blend.

Hair Brush: place three drops of essential oil into the palm of your hand; rub over the natural bristles of a hair brush.  
Brush your scalp and your hair.

FOR YOUR SAFETY:

 

o                   Never take essential oils internally.

o                   Read about an essential oil before applying it.  

o                   Essential oils are very concentrated substances and should be diluted before applying them to the skin. Follow guidelines or recipes which recommend a 2%-5% solution.

o                   Have a recipe’s concentration of essential oils when using with children. Do not use essential oils with infants.

o                   Do not apply citrus essential oils, especially Bergamot before direct exposure to the sun. These essential oils
increase photosensitivity.

o                   Essential oils are not soluble in water. Make sure you dilute or fully disperse them when using water as a base.  

o                   Essential oils can cause a prickly, irritating sensation to the skin. Do not rub water on the area. Doing so will
cause the oil to spread. Apply any vegetable/carrier oil to the area; this will cause the essential oil to be absorbed
and ease the irritation in minutes.

o                   Keep essential oils away from your eyes.

o                   Keep essential oils out of the reach of children and animals.

o                   If skin irritation occurs or an allergic reaction occurs with any essential oil or product with essential oils in it,
discontinue use.

o                   Essential oils should not replace proper health care. If you are under medical supervision consult with your health
care provider before using essential oils.

o                   These suggestions for Your Safety are not to be considered complete and all-inclusive.

 

 

 

 

 

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