Aromatherapy is an ancient, holistic and sensual art of healing, using the essences of plants to promote well being of mind, body and spirit.
Aromatherapy has a long history of use, from the ancient Egyptians to the time of Hippocrates when skin problems were treated with aromatic baths. Since then, essential oils have been used continuously not just for their pleasant aromas, but also for their medicinal properties and effects on the psyche…
We all know that aromas can affect the way we think and feel. Just consider for a moment: What goes through your mind when you smell the sweet fragrance of a rose or the hearty aroma of a cake in the oven or when the pungent smell of those sweaty sneakers hits your olfactory receptors? Some scents invoke pleasant (even erotic) thoughts and others can turn us right off.
How does aromatherapy work?
Released molecules travel via the nose directly across the olfactory sensors to the part of our brain responsible for emotions. Our brain’s interpretation of the aroma will influence our reaction to it – this happens very rapidly – causing neurochemicals and endorphins to be released immediately, causing an emotional or physical response.In addition to this direct route to the brain, the skin absorbs oils via the hair follicle and into the bloodstream. Even though the amounts are small these potent substances can work on a physiological level, producing impressive results if used consistently.
How is it Used?
Simple, but effective ways to use essential oils include massage, compresses, inhalations, vapourises, baths, sprays or spritzers. They can be incorporated into ointments, cleansers and skin care products to create custom-made skin care. Essential oils are vastly more concentrated as the parent plant from which they are extracted – in the case of melissa (Melissa officinalis), 1 kilogram of plant material produces just 1 gram of pure essential oil. Because of the cost of producing high-quality oils, (and the fact that 98% of oils produced every year are for the less discerning perfume and food industries) the market is flooded with inferior quality, synthetic and adulterated oils.
Examples of Fabulous Aromatherapeutic Choices
Use a selection from each list in the burner, or in a personal massage blend.
- To calm kids: Vetiver, Roman chamomile, Lime, Rose, Lavender and Cedarwood
- For serenity: Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Fragonia, Roman chamomile and Ylang ylang
- Play more: Fragonia, Orange, Grapefruit, Mandarin and Ginger
- Releasing anger: Ylang Ylang, Lime, Grapefruit and Eucalyptus
- Staying grounded: Vetiver, Cedarwood, Sandalwood and Geranium
Contact us for a current list of Rich Earth essential oils, gift packs, aromatherapy ‘recipes’ and ready made massage/body oil blends.
Sharon Erdrich is a Registered Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, NZ Registered Nurse & leading Aromatherapist
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