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HOW AROMATHERAPY WORKS

Aromatherapy is an amazing alternative medicine for balancing the physical, mental, and emotional energy as well as treating minor ailments. Whether it’s a common cold, flu, virus infection, wound, burn, muscle spasm, skin rash, mental fatigue; or depression; our ancestors paved the way for us to reach a deeper understanding in how aromatherapy works. Though we are still far from becoming an expert in this realm of medicine; we have understood that it is a powerful, complex, and vital form of natural therapy available to us today.

Modern medicine seems to only seek to address most health concerns from the surface, then providing a quick remedy while ignoring the possible long term side effects prescribed with the pharmaceutical drugs. As a result it disrupted the balance order of the entire health system. In contrast, aromatherapy looks at treating the body holistically by addressing both internal and external causes through application of therapeutic essential oils. When these issues are being addressed, it is slowly re-introducing balance back to the body as well as strengthening the immune system to prevent illnesses and diseases.

If we look at the theory of evolution, we can understand that all of life was created from single cell organisms which evolved into multi-cell organisms; algae, plant, tree, insect, animal and finally human. This theory suggests that we have more in common with plants, animals, and other living things than we may care to relate. Whether it has anything to do with biological structures or universal energies, these are the key elements that can assist us to understand further how essential oils and botanical materials influence the human body. On a clearer note the biological design of the human body was built to metabolize the foods we eat; the liquids we drink; and the air we breathe. Most of the plants, vegetables, herbs, & fruits adopted into our daily diet naturally contained essential oils. For thousands of years, our ancestors have discovered that burning certain woods and aromatic plants can offer pleasant or unpleasant smells. At the same time it makes one feel drowsy or invigorated; just as eating certain raw or cooked plants can be poisonous or medicinal. Over this period of time, our body becomes accustomed to certain plant materials which enabled the body to recognize the chemical substances of the plant. In the process, the body learned to convert these molecules into energy while strengthening the immune system to fight off various diseases.

Essential oils are the byproducts of the plant’s secondary metabolism. Each essential oil has it own unique set of characteristics determined by the species of the plant, its environment, and the season that it grows in. These characteristics also come with the different chemical properties and aromatic fragrances delivered with it. The constituents of the essential oil serve a vital role for insects and animals to attract for reproduction purposes. More importantly the plants produce essential oils to safeguard themselves from viruses, bacteria, molds, fungi, and pests. Each essential oil in a single plant can provide over 100 properties or chemical constituents. For example, lavender essential oil contains the following constituents: esters, aldehydes, terpenes, phenols, ketone, oxide, alcohols, coumarins, & more. More than 40% of Linalyl acetate from ester compound is found in lavender. This compound is responsible for its calming, relaxing, antiinflammatory, and anti-fungal properties. Another 30-35% of Linalool from terpene alcohol in lavender helps to stimulate the immune system and relieve discomfort.

From an aromatherapy perspective, essential oils are volatile oils made up of light molecules. These molecules are lipid soluble that can easily penetrate the pore of the skin to enter the bloodstream, cell membranes, and tissues of the body. To some degree the structure of essential oils and our biological structures share common properties. Both essential oils and human blood contain hormone-like properties which help to harmonize the physiological aspects of the human body. Another similarity involved their ability to fight off infection and cell regeneration. Typically the healing properties of the essential oils can take immediate effect within minutes and release it from the body within hours depending on the essential oil used. Of course ongoing researches are being conducted for more insights on specific pathways and effectiveness of each essential oil. Inhalation and vaporization are common and are the most effective methods used in aromatherapy because scent can signal the brain to respond once the molecules of the essential oils entered the olfactory system. The goal of aromatherapy is to provide natural therapy through aroma by strengthening the immune system to assist in the self-healing process that will bring the body back into balance and harmony.

Primary Aromatherapy Methods:

· Inhalation – add two or three drops of essential oil to a bowl of steaming hot water and breathe in the steam for a few minutes with a towel draped over your head to capture the steam with the essences.

· Vaporization – add pure and therapeutic essential oils to a diffuser or vaporizer instrument.

· Bath & Soak – mixes four to six drops of pure essential oils to 1 ounce of Epsom salt, milk, or carrier oil such as olive or jojoba before adding it to the hot bath. It’s a wonderful way to relax with an aromatherapy benefits to soothe the skin.

· Massage – using 12 to 15 drops of pure essential oil in 1 ounce of massage oil base is also an effective and therapeutic ways to receive the aromatherapy benefits of the oils, along with the detoxification of the body through lymph drainage and the stimulation of the entire circulatory system.

· Spray – uses approximately ½- ¾ teaspoon of essential oils (50-75 drops) to 7 ounces of distilled water; mixes it before spray it onto bedding, linen, towel. It can also be use as a room spray to deodorize and disinfect the air. Shake it well before each use.

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