When you hear the words aromatherapy, you’re probably thinking of something esoteric. Aromatherapy refers to a variety of alternative, traditional therapies that use aromatic plant compounds and essential oils. Essential oil therapy, as it’s also known, is nothing new, it’s been around for over 6,000 years, improving people’s health and mood, in traditional medical practices and even spiritual rituals, in China, India, Egypt and other parts of the world.
Back in the 10th century, the Persians new aromatherapy works. In Germany, in the 16th century, information about essential oil distillation was published, and in the 19th century, French physicians recognized the potential of essential oils when it comes to treating disease. René-Maurice Gattefossé is the French perfumer and chemist whom we have to thank for the term aromatherapy, which he coined in 1937. Before this, he published a book discussing how essential oils help treat medical conditions.
NAHA – the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy defines it as “the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing.” Aromatherapy applications can include massage, inhalation, and topical application. It’s considered to be a holistic healing treatment, that promotes well-being using natural ingredients. Aromatherapy can enhance your physical and emotional health by improving the overall health – of the body, mind, and spirit.
What are Essential Oils and How Do They Work
The International Standards Organization (ISO) defined essential oil in 1997, as “a product obtained from vegetable raw material, either by distillation with water or steam, or from the epicarp of citrus fruits by a mechanical process, or by dry distillation.” Essential oils are extracted from flowers, fruits, herbs, and other plants. They are highly concentrated fragrant essence. Usually, they constitute perfumes, food flavoring, massage therapy, medicine, and aromatherapy.
Dilute it Before You Use it
Essential oils are concentrated liquid extracts that contain natural chemical compounds, and the difference in the chemical composition will affect the aroma of each essential oil, as well as its absorption to the body. Most of essential oils should be diluted before use, as it helps spread the concentrated molecules, and it helps comfortable absorption.
How to Use Essential Oils
Most essential oils are not suitable for ingestion unless they are specifically food-grade quality. They are usually inhaled – in aromatherapy or applied directly to the skin. For the latter, you will want your essential oil to be diluted with water or carrier oil. Good carrier oils are almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba, olive oil, or coconut oil. Essential oils also serve as a vital ingredient for lotions, household cleaners, beauty products, and all-natural bug sprays.
Chemistry Behind Essential Oils
Some essential oils are proven to have various degrees of antimicrobial activity and antioxidant properties. They also have antiviral, antifungal, insecticidal, and nematicidal activity. However, before you grab the small bottle and start pouring that essential oil all over you, bear in mind that even though these are natural, they are also chemicals, and can be dangerous if not used properly.
Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils are nature’s way of complementing therapy. They can help, but they cannot cure your disease, rash, or illness. Essential oils can, however, reduce some of your symptoms in support of conventional therapy. They can reduce:
- Anxiety, stress, and depression
- Fatigue and insomnia
- Menstrual problems,
- Hair loss, or alopecia
- Muscular aches
- Circulatory problems
- Menopausal problems
- Pain and body aches
- Psoriasis – some types can find relief
- Digestive problems
How Does a Diffuser Work
Now that you have all the information, you’re probably wondering how you could I’ve ever lived without essential oils? One of the most popular ways you can benefit from essential oils is inhalation. An aromatherapy diffuser breaks apart the essential oil molecules, which makes them so light that they can float in the air. The particles float in the air current and spread the beneficial volatile oils and plant compounds.
Types of Diffusers
It uses a water tank and an atomizer to break liquid molecules into tiny microparticles. It makes the air less dry, and it’s often cheaper. There is a risk of mold growing inside the unit if you don’t clean regularly
It doesn’t require water, and it provides a continuous supply of essential oils. These diffusers are often more expensive; they can be loud and use up the oils more quickly.
The heat diffuser uses a coil or candle to speed up the process of turning liquid to gas. It’s usually less expensive and more decorative. However, the high temperature may degrade the quality of the oil.
The simple design makes these diffusers inexpensive to buy and easy to operate. They often use a battery and are designed for travel. However, be prepared to give extra cash if the absorbent pad needs replacement.
- Tissue Diffusion
It’s a simple alternative when you want to enjoy your essential oils but doesn’t have a diffuser. Place 3-4 drops of the essential oil on a tissue and leave it near some course of air movement. An air conditioner, someone walking by or a vent, will help spread the oil.