August 21st 2005 -
Article 4- Aromatherapy
This article explains what is meant by Aromatherapy, and how it is commonly used.
Contrary to popular belief, aromatherapy is not just about scented candles and various types of potpourri. It is true that the sense of smell is more directly connected to emotion and to memories than any other scent, as it is the only sense not mediated through the higher brain centers. This is why it is possible to get a wonderful emotional response by using properly chosen oils.
But aromatherapy also works through the therapeutic properties of the essential oils, which are concentrated plant essences. In France and England, Aromatherapy is a medical specialty which only physicians are allowed to study.
Healers in every culture have distilled, dried, infused, brewed, or in other ways processed the healing plants in their environment. The healing aspects of these plants, which may be derived from the bark, root, flowers, stems, or seeds, are often fragrant. They also work through mimicking the actions of our own hormones or stimulating the immune response. For this reason they are especially efficacious with menstrual difficulties. About 30 essential oils are commonly used, out of about 300 in existence.
Almost all essential oils, being highly concentrated, are too strong to be used alone. The only exceptions are tea tree and lavender.
The aromatherapist may choose any vegetable-based oil as a carrier oil for the essential oils she chooses. Grapeseed is the lightest carrier oil available, and very reasonably priced. Almond oil is lovely in a massage and of medium price. Jojoba is the closest to human sebum(natural skin oil) and quite pricey, but worth it if one wishes to make up a facial blend.
In general the aroma therapist makes up a blend, but some individual essential oils are useful too.
Specifically, peppermint is great for stomach upsets or headaches. (It needs to be diluted with a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil before application to the
Eucalyptus is great for congestion such as colds or flu. Here you need to boil water, bring a large towel and a bowl. Seat client at the table, place towel over head to form a tent, instruct child to close eyes. Then pour boiling water into bowl, add 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Encourage client to breathe in the vapors.
This will lead to a lot of coughing and nose-running and the congestion will ease.
Lavender(just a couple of drops on the pillow) help enormously in getting a safe, restful night’s sleep. It is also helpful as a burn remedy since it goes directly to the cellular re-generation level of the skin.
Finally, Tea Tree is great on warts, cankers and cold sores, since it is a powerful anti-viral.
When I see anyone for an aromatherapy treatment, I make up a blend of up to 5 essential oils for a personal massage which is based on whatever issues are presenting at the moment. The massage gives a feeling of well-being and relaxation and stimulates the immune response.
I offer introductory courses in Aromatherapy, including making blends for specific health conditions and making your own perfume.
Christine Nightingale, B.A.,R.M.
Nightingale Natural Healing
72 Newbridge Crescent
Brampton, Ontario L6S 4B3