Aromatherapy
Groups of Essential Oils, Recipes & Uses, Candles, Bath, Massage, Hair & Skin Care, Smell / Olfaction, Research Studies


Introduction

Geranium Plant: Aromatherapy Essential Oil'Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential and absolute oils. Essential oils are complex, highly fragrant and volatile substances, with varying degrees of complexity, fragrance, and volatility. They are the most potent and concentrated extracts of various parts of flowers, fruits, leaves, spices, roots, and woods. The plant's essence molecules are approximately 75 - 100 times more concentrated as an essential oil than in the dried plant.

In Aromatherapy it is held that once extracted, the chemical constituents of a particular essential oil will determine its primary action. Generally, essential oils consist of chemical compounds which have hydrogen, carbon and oxygen in their building blocks.

Groups of Essential Oils

The primary functional groups of the essential oils used in aromatherapy are:

Monoterpenes: anti-viral, antiseptic, bactericidal, and can be highly irritating to the skin. Examples: lemon, pine, frankincense.

Esters: fungicidal, sedating, and very aromatically pleasing. Examples: bergamot, Clary sage, lavender.

Aldehydes: sedating and antiseptic. Examples: melissa, lemongrass, cirtronella.

Ketones: ease congestion, aid flow of mucus, can be toxic. Examples: fennel, hyssop, sage.

Alcohols: very antiseptic, anti-viral with uplifting qualities. Examples: rosewood, geranium, rose.

Phenols: bactericidal and strongly stimulating, can be highly irritating to the skin. Examples: clove, thyme, oregano.

Oxides: expectorant and bactericidal. Examples: rosemary, tea tree.

Carrier oils and Absorption

Essential oils are volatile by nature (most essential oils tend to evaporate or change to vapour quickly when exposed to air) and are soluble in fatty/vegetable oils. (called carrier oils). Since essential oils are often too potent to be used directly on the skin full strength, diluting an essential oil in a carrier oil is an excellent way to facilitate safe use of the essential oil.

Once diluted essential oil is applied directly to the skin it is completely absorbed and penetrates deeply into the tissues, interstitial fluid and bloodstream. Different oils have varying rates of absorption, between 20 and 120 minutes.

In the field of Aromatherapy it is held that in skin care essential oils regulate the activity of capillaries and restore vitality to the tissues. In Maguerite Maury’s Guide to Aromatherapy, she states “essential oils are natural rejuvenating agents which facilitate the elimination of waste matter and dead cells and promote the regeneration of new and healthy cells.”

Inhaling an essential oil elicits an immediate olfactory response and provides for ready absorption in the bloodstream.'

http://www.aromatherapy.com/aromatherapyoverview.html


Power of Smell / Olfaction Process

Aromatherapy: Woman Smelling Rose'Essential Oils have historically been shown to calm and relax emotions as well as enhance focus, attention and memory. To understand this, first it is best to be familiar with the olfaction process.

The nose is a protrusion of the brain. Scent enters the body in less than one second and travels to the pituitary and hypothalamus to tell your body how to respond to a situation. It will help to relax or stimulate. This message is then sent to the rest of the body via the nervous system. Scent actually dictates how we taste. It is the only sense that does not have to go through the digestive tract or spinal cord to be processes. It immediately goes to the brain and elicits a response.

There have been numerous studies done to show that the scent of lavender, when inhaled, affects the beta waves thus reducing stress and promoting calmness. Lavender has been historically used to help Alzheimer patients remain calm, relaxed, stay “in the moment” longer.

http://www.naha.org/about_aromatherapy.htm


Top 10 Essential Oils

Essential Oils: AromatherapyPeppermint, Mentha piperita: Useful in treating headaches, muscle aches, digestive disorders such as slow digestion, indigestion, and flatulence.

Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus or Eucalyptus radiata : Helpful in treating respiratory problems, such as coughs, colds, and asthma. Also helps to boost the immune system, and relieve muscle tension.

Ylang Ylang, Cananga odorata : Helps one to relax, and can reduce muscle tension. Good antidepressant.

Geranium Pelargonium graveolens : Helps to balance hormones in women, good for balancing the skin. Can be both relaxing and uplifting, as well as antidepressant.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Relaxing, and also useful in treating wounds, burns, and skin care.

Lavender (Lavandula vera) : Helps to balance hormones in women, good for balancing the skin. Can be both relaxing and uplifting, as well as antidepressant.

Lemon, Citrus limon : Very uplifting, yet relaxing. Helpful in treating wounds, infections, and house cleaning and deodorizing.

Clary Sage, Salvia sclarea: Natural pain killer, helpful in treating muscular aches and pains. Very relaxing, and can help with insomnia. Also very helpful in balancing hormones.

Tea Tree, Melaleuca alternifolia : A natural anti fungal oil, good for treating all sorts of fungal infections including vaginal yeast infections, jock itch, athletes foot, and ringworm. Also helps to boost the immune system.

Roman Chamomile, Anthemus nobilis : Very relaxing, and can help with sleeplessness and anxiety. Also good for muscle aches and tension. Useful in treating wounds and infection.

Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis: Very stimulating and uplifting, good to help mental stimulation as well as to stimulate the immune system. Very good for muscle aches and tension. Stimulating to the digestive system.

http://www.naha.org/top_10.htm


History of Aromatherapy

History of Aromatherapy: Nefertem, Egyptian god of medicine and healing'Aromatherapy has been around for 6000 years or more. The Greeks, Romans, and ancient Egyptians all used aromatherapy oils. The Egyptian physician Imhotep recommended fragrant oils for bathing, massage, and for embalming their dead nearly 6000 years ago. Nefertem is the Egyptian god of medicine and healing. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used aromatherapy baths and scented massage. He used aromatic fumigations to rid Athens of the plague.

The modern era of aromatherapy dawned in 1930 when the French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse coined the term aromatherapy for the therapeutic use of essential oils. He was fascinated by the benefits of lavender oil in healing his burned hand without leaving any scars. He started investigating the effect of other essential oils for healing and for their psychotherapeutic benefits.

During world war II, the French army surgeon Dr. Jean Valnet used essential oils as antiseptics. Later, Madame Marguerite Maury elevated aromatherapy as a holistic therapy. She started prescribing essential oils as remedy for her patients. She is also credited with the modern use of essential oils in massage.'

http://www.holisticonline.com/Aromatherapy/aroma_history.htm


Recipes & Uses of Essential Oils - Baths, Massage, Hair & Skin Care

Recipe for a Relaxing and Calming Bath:

* 2 drops Lavender
* 2 drops Bergamot
* 2 drops Cedarwood

Recipe for an Energizing Bath:

* 3 drops Rosemary
* 2 drops Lemon
* 2 drops Frankincense

Run a warm bath and ensure the door and windows are closed. When the tub is sufficiently filled, add up to 10 drops of essential oil to the water, circulating it throughout. As the oil is moved, the scent will rise with the steam of the water.

Recipe to relieve Nervousness:

* 6 drops Geranium
* 4 drops Basil

Recipe for Insomnia:

* 4 drops Chamomile
* 2 drops Lavender
* 2 drops Neroli
* 2 drops Marjoram

A Soothing Foot Bath:

* 3 drops Peppermint

For tired, sore, worn out feet, the aromatherapy foot bath provides great relief! Fill a container (big enough to house both of your feet) with very warm water and add a few drops of essential oil.

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.

Skin

When using essential oils to moisturize the skin, simply add to a carrier oil such as Jojoba. Another good tip is to purchase fragrance and lanolin free creams or lotions, from which you can create your own skin care products by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

Hair

Essential oils can also add to the appearance of your hair. For fair hair, add a few drops of Chamomile to a pitcher of warm water and use as a final rinse. If your hair is dark, do the same, but with Rosemary instead.

Light conditioner:

* 1 Tbsp Lanolin
* 1 Tbsp Glycerine
* 1 Tbsp Almond Oil
* 3 drops Rosemary (for dark hair) OR Chamomile (light hair)
* 1 egg

Combine the first four ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Warm the mixture slightly. Beat in the egg. (Remember only warm the mixture slightly) Once the egg is well mixed with the other ingredients, massage the mixture into the hair and scalp. Place either a bath cap or a towel over your hair and allow the conditioner to penetrate for about 10 minutes. Rinse your hair thoroughly.'

http://www.aworldofaromatherapy.com/essential-oils-skin.htm


Plants and Essential Oil Distillation

'Aromatherapists consider the essential oils as the powerful soul of plants, because they come from the vital parts of agrarian plants, herbs and scented flowers and thus they have unique therapeutic properties.

The plants, in order to conserve their most volatile substances, should be picked at a specific hour of the day and in a specific season of the year. The essential oils are produced with special techniques of infusion, expression and distillation and are excreted from special glands and pores of the plants. In general, the lower the distillation temperature and pressure the better the essential oils. They are usually colourless and should be stored in a cool, dry place tightly stoppered in glass containers.'

http://www.aromatherapypoint.com/essential-oils/


Aromatherapy Research Studies

'Aromatherapy is the systematic use of essential oils in holistic treatments to improve physical and emotional well-being. Essential oils, extracted from plants, possess distinctive therapeutic properties, which can be utilised to improve health and prevent disease.

Research has shown that when they are applied to the skin or inhaled, essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream and metabolised in the body.
(Preen C. (2005) Today’s Therapist (35) 2-4) substantiated by Aromatherapy Science, Pharmaceutical Press 2006 Chapter 7 p.78.)

Clinical trials have shown that when applied topically, some essential oils, including Tea Tree oil, have antibacterial and antimicrobial/antiseptic properties.
(Hay et al. Arch Dermatol. 1998; 134:1349-1352) and that Peppermint oil may optimise/maintain a healthy digestive system (Stevensen C.J. Fundamentals of CAM, Churchill Livingstone 1996:137-148).

There are many studies that demonstrate how essential oils can positively affect mood and the sense of well-being. Buckle J. Alternative Therapy Health Med.1999 (5):42-51 states that “studies suggest that essential oils …. induce mood changes”. Essential oils also impact on brain wave activity, creating either stimulating or relaxing effects (Stevensen 1996).'

http://www.aromatherapycouncil.co.uk/index_files/Page390.htm


Further Studies

'Research studies on essential oils show positive effects for a variety of health concerns including infections, pain, anxiety, depression, tumors, premenstrual syndrome, nausea, and many others. The articles included below are meant to highlight a few examples.

Anti-Microbial Effects

There is considerable international literature on the effects of essential oils against a wide range of bacterial, viral, and fungal microorganisms. Study results suggest that certain essential oils and components can prevent infection by destroying or killing bacteria. Tea tree oil in particular has a wide range of research studies that report its anti-microbial properties.

Pain

Some studies have been conducted on the use of aromatherapy for pain treatment. These studies suggest that essential oils may be effective for reducing discomfort during menstrual periods, childbirth, headaches, arthritis, gastrointestinal procedures, and wound pain.

Psychological Effects

There are some studies on the psychological effects of essential oils. These studies suggest that essential oils may be effective for reducing anxiety and mild depression, managing agitation in adults with severe dementia, and decreasing work-related stress in nurses.

Toxicity and Sensitivity

Published reports suggest that a small proportion of individuals may develop sensitivity to topically applied essential oils. In addition, toxicity can result from accidental or intended ingestion.

Other Interesting Studies

There are other studies that examine the use of essential oils to repel mosquitos, treat skin cancer, improve glucose and insulin levels, treat baldness, prevent nausea after surgery, and increase mothers’ satisfaction of their labor experience.

http://takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/therapies/aromatherapy/research - Visit the website to download comprehensive PDF articles of these studies.



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