Contrary to popular belief, aromatherapy is not just a matter of fragrance, but of healing. To tap aromatherapy, one uses aromas for therapeutic purposes. Highly concentrated extracts as oils from herbs, flowers, and other plant sources are utilized for healing. These extracts are famous as essential oils. Specific properties of essential oils can create healing effects within the human body. When these fumes of fragrance emanating from oils are inhaled deeply or applied to the skin (via carrier oils) beneficial results will occur. Let’s explore the basics of aromatherapy and its application.
Some of the well-known benefits of aromatherapy are relaxation, increased energy, and pleasant memory association. Other benefits include an enhanced immune system, appetite stimulation or suppression, weight management, and hormone regulation. Application of aromatherapy to achieve the benefits desired is important.
To achieve healing benefits, it is necessary to use full strength, undiluted essential oils. Look for the term “100% essential oil” on labels. It is important to realize that essential oils may be labeled as 100% essential, but this does not guarantee purity. The essential oil industry grades the quality of 100% essential oils on a scale of 1 through 5. A grade of 1 is the purest, highest grade.
Lower grade/lower quality oils are extracted using lower quality processes. Some of these processes include adding chemicals to extract oil or using heat to enhance the extraction process. Methods like these destroy the vital essence of the essential oils. They definitely do not produce pure, safe fumes of oil for inhalation. Therefore, these inferior oils cannot be recommended for therapeutic purposes.
The final therapeutic value of essential oils rests on the quality of the live plants, the method by which the oils are extracted, and the way they are cared for after extraction. We should obtain and use oils created from high standards, with a focus on purity.
The finest oils come from wild or organically grown plants. These plants are chemical free. In addition, superior oils are extracted using methods without heat and that take longer. This preserves the vitality and essence of the plant. For some oils it is quite easy to use these methods to extract a quantity of oil. For other oils the process is difficult and the raw materials are rare. This makes these latter oils more valuable.
Therapeutic quality essential oils are laboratory tested and certified to be free from impurities. The quality is apparent in the fullness of the fragrance. One will notice immediately that the fragrance in these quality oils is so similar to the actual plant that it will be difficult to tell the difference the oil from the plant. In fact, many prefer the fragrance of the oil to the live plant because the oil possesses in greater intensity the healing qualities of the plant and this can be well experienced.
Essential oils can also be distilled. The process of distillation results in another product that is known as floral water. Floral waters are a natural addition to essential oils because they contain the water-soluble properties that were present in the original plants. Floral waters offer a less concentrated form of the natural plant essence and being mild are often easier to tolerate by the body.
Aromatherapy is an effective healing option for men and women of all ages with most conditions. Both the preventative and therapeutic advantages of Aromatherapy are becoming more popular and gaining recognition around the world.