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What Is Aromatherapy?

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Welcome to the wonderful world of aromatherapy!

This website is for beginners, as well as the seasoned Aromatherapists, and I want your experience with the amazing gifts of essential oils and blends to be a positive one. Naturally, I expect, you will soon enjoy aromatherapy as much as my family and I do!

Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils. Volatile means the oils evaporate into the air so we can smell them, not that they explode! These oils come from various parts of the plants such as: leaves, roots, stems, wood, flowers, fruits, resin or sap, seeds or pods, and the peelings from citrus fruits. Plant essences serve the plant in many ways, including protection from insects or to attract insects for pollination.

Plants communicate with each other using their natural odors for their own protection and for healing purposes. Essential oils are useful to us in many of the same ways: for psychological and physical health, protection and comfort, and to attract others.

Aromatherapy

In aromatherapy, the use of other all-natural ingredients are sometimes used to obtain a plant oil’s full effects, whether they are cold-pressed vegetable oils (such as grapeseed, olive, Kukui or sunflower), jojoba (a liquid wax extracted from the pods of the plant), hydrosols (the water left over after the distillation process), herbs, sea salts, sugars, clays, and muds. The most common way oils are used is by inhalation, the act of smelling the aroma of the oil.

There are three basic aromatherapy styles with essential oils: German, English, and French. German style aromatherapy suggests that oils should only be smelled and never applied to the body in any way.

English style includes both smelling and applying to the skin, but only when highly diluted with a vegetable oil or other essential oil carrier, such as bath salts or clays.

The French, who have used essential oils for decades, take a more medicinal approach, which includes internal use—both orally and internally as a suppository. Of course, they also employ the two English methods of inhalation and diluted topical use. Although I have been trained in all three methods, this book will focus mainly on the English style.

Essential oils can be blended together to create appealing aromas or to target specific purposes, such as pain, colds, or flu prevention. An essential oil blend is considered to work better than using each oil independently. Blends are also called synergies because of their synergistic effect—the sum of the collective whole is greater than the sum of

the individual parts. Single essential oils are selected for blending by reviewing the beneficial effects of their natural chemicals—by plant part, plant families, or by note.

Note means the evaporation rate of an oil. Does it evaporate quickly, like the citrus oils that have a lighter scent? Or, does it evaporate more slowly, with the base notes that usually come from the root? Blending by note is usually done to achieve a particular aroma for a natural perfume or for psychological or emotional effects.

When used correctly, oils can have astronomical effects on the body; but if used incorrectly, they can have consequences. A healthy sense of appropriate caution is advised. Also, be aware that not all products labeled “aromatherapy” are pure and natural.

Some may contain artificial ingredients and do not provide the beneficial properties that an all-natural product would supply. And, just because an oil label says it is pure, and maybe it is, does not mean it is effective—because there are many factors affecting it: where was it grown, how it was harvested or when, and the temperature or pressure of the distillation process. A host of items must be addressed to ensure the oils will provide the desired results. While I use the terms all natural and pure, I prefer genuine and authentic. These were terms I learned while studying with advanced Aromatherapists Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D. who said:

“This is the ultimate attainable in essential oils. Starting with the cultivation (or in the case of wild plants), with the harvest, everything is done with the final goal in mind: to produce the best possible essential oils.”

Aromatherapists Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D.

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