About Aromatherapy

The benefits of plants in healing mind and body were known to our ancestors. Aromatic essences were used in medicine, incense, cosmetics, perfumes and ritual worship since antiquity.

Today, more than ever in this century, we yearn for a return to nature and rediscovering all that plants have to offer as we strive to take ownership of the state of our health and wellbeing. This abrupt and unexpected turn of events has signalled new challenges. With little or no control, stress and anxiety continue to rise and we seek new ways of dealing with irritability, sleeplessness and fatigue. Aromatherapy with its holistic approach to health, (addressing the emotional as well as physical aspect of a condition) provides another way of maintaining health post-Covid 19.

We don’t have to look far to see the benefits and fast effective relief of the simple act of diffusing our favourite essential oil. Not only do they make the home smell infinitely cleaner, sweeter and fresher, they are known to rid the air of germs. Within an instant of inhaling the decongestant properties of eucalyptus, our breathing improves. Similarly a few drops of the soothing properties of lavender help ease pangs of anxiety.

Aromatherapy continues to evoke the beauty of scents and their power to heal, nurture and delight body, mind and soul. Now backed by scientific research, this indulgent, feel good therapy, is being used to promote sleep, ease pain cycles and improve cognitive function. Essential oils and their broad range of properties including analgesic, digestive and antimicrobial may just be the answer to a balanced approached to health needed to meet the full breadth and depth of conditions seen today, according to Peter Holmes, international author and aromatherapist.

What are essential oils

‘Essential oils are pure, concentrated liquids extracted from flowers, herbs and plants. They are cherished for their fragrance and, above all, their therapeutic value. Whether from citrus peels, petals or resins, their scent proves utterly irresistible.’ A Scented Life

Apart from producing a plant’s characteristic scent, micro droplets of essential oil also exhibit unique healing properties. Essential oils represent the distilled version of a plant’s immunity and therapeutic properties and are highly potent and concentrated liquids once extracted.

The most amazing thing about essential oils is their complexity. A single oil is made up of more than 100 natural compounds created and blended by the parent plant. They range from energising, uplifting and renewing to sedating, calming and relaxing.

Even the same plant grown in different regions, or picked at different times and seasons will produce slightly different essential oil and chemistry.

Essential oils are volatile liquids which evaporate very quickly once exposed to light and air. They are not water soluble.

How to use essential oils

‘Inhalation and skin application are the main pathways for essential oils to enter the body. When inhaled, essential oil particles travel directly to the brain. When applied to the skin in a base oil, they travel through the dermal layers and into the blood stream.’ A Scented Life

When essential oils particles are inhaled as vapour, they travel directly to the brain where their impact is immediately registered. They land in the limbic region of the brain which is the control centre for both emotional and behavioural responses. In one breath essential oils can influence our behaviour and mood, reduce pain, enhance sleep, increase libido and reduce anxiety levels.

When essential oils are applied topically, they are absorbed via the pores of the skin and sweat glands. They travel through to the dermal layer and onto the circulatory system. Once they are absorbed into the bloodstream, they are transported to specific organs and systems of the body where their healing takes direct effect. In this way they can aid digestion, ease joint pain, treat cold and flu symptoms and even detox the lymph glands.

Best applications

The wide range of applications is what makes Aromatherapy such a beautiful and indulgent therapy of our time. It not only delights the senses, but can also address particular ailments and target specific areas of the body depending on the application method you choose. Below are some of the featured applications covered in A Scented Life and the most widely used in essential oil therapy.

Safety and essential oil use: Essential oils are complex, potent liquids and must be used with care. The information is offered as general guidance. It is not intended as a medical reference. The recommendations and blends are not prescriptive and may not be suitable for everyone. Please consult a medical practitioner for specific concerns.