What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants (flowers, herbs, or trees) as therapy to improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.  It is a practice that has been around for thousands of years with ancient Chinese, Indian and Egyptian cultures incorporating these fragrant plant extracts into resins, balms and oils.

These ‘oils’ can occasionally be expensive as they are distilled from various parts of plants e.g. leaves, flowers, fruits etc. but it can take a huge quantity of plant matter to produce a tiny amount of essential oil.

1 pound of lavender oil, for example, is made by using 200 pounds of lavender flowers, and rose oil takes 4,000 pounds of leaves to make 1 pound of oil.

How to use Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the practice of using these essential oils for therapeutic benefits. You can either inhale the oil or use it topically, please never ingest them without the advice from a trained herbalist.

In the case of inhalation, you breathe the essential oil in once it has evaporated in the air using a diffuser (reed, or electric), spray or diluted in warm water. Topical application is achieved when the oil is massaged into the skin, please be aware that if you have sensitive skin, you should dilute the essential oil using a carrier oil such as olive oil.

Be careful

Just to make you aware, some oils are fragrance oils and not pure essential oils.  Please take note when buying oils.

They need to say ‘pure’ or absolute’.  True essential oils aren’t blended with other chemicals or fragrances they are made using a specific process that doesn’t change the chemistry of the plant.

But it is very important to note that some of these ‘natural’ products can be chemicals, and they can be hazardous if used in the wrong way, please follow the advice of a trained professional when using essential oils.

Why should you use aromatherapy?

There are soooo many benefits of using aromatherapy…

It has been shown to reduce nausea, pain, body aches, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, stress. Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy.  It does not, necessarily, provide a cure for diseases, rashes or illnesses.  However, it can support conventional treatment of various conditions.

How does it work?

Our sense of smell is the most primitive of our senses and is linked to some of the oldest and deepest parts of brain.

When you inhale essential oils certain smell receptors in your nose are activated, these send messages through your nervous system to your brain.  They then impact our emotional centre, causing mood changes by altering brain chemistry.

Essential oil molecules are small enough to penetrate through the skin they travel through the top layer of the skin (epidermis), down to the deeper layers (dermis).  Finally the oils go into the blood vessels allowing them to travel throughout the body.

Oils are incredible

Most essential oils have antibacterial properties; some are antiviral, anti-fungal and/or anti-inflammatory.  There are so many oils that can help nourish your skin and up lift your mood.

They can contain antioxidants which help to prevent cell damage and protect against the build up of toxic waste in skin cells, thereby helping reduce signs of aging.

Types of oil

To name only a few…

  • Basil
  • Bergamont
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Thyme

To learn what benefits specific oils bring, check out my blog on essential oils. I explain in details what oils can be used to combat certain ailments such as improving mood, reducing stress, increasing energy and focus, eliminating odours etc., and how to use them safely.

That’s all for now

Thanks for reading.  If you need any help. Please get in touch.

Lots of love

Louisa Ashforth Signature