What is Aromatherapy ?
“Aromatherapy is the practice of inhalation and topical application of true, authentic essential oils from aromatic plants to restore or enhance health, beauty and wellbeing.“ ( Alliance of International Aromatherapists. )
▪️THE SUPER SHORT HISTORY OF AROMATHERAPY: An ancient practice that can be traced back approximately 3,500 years, essential oil use was commonly used in Egypt, India and China. Despite it’s long history, the name ‘Aromatherapy’ was not coined until 1937 by a French chemist and perfumer Rene Gattefosse when he published a book titled “Aromatherapy“. Gattefosse quite accidentally discovered the healing benefits of lavender essential oil when he suffered severe burns to his hands in a laboratory explosion in 1910 and plunged his burning hands into the nearest tub of liquid - which happened to be the lavender essential oil. Gattefosse was amazed at how quickly the burns healed and how little scarring remained. This began his fascination with, and experimentation of essential oils. He later used essential oils for the treatment of soldiers in military hospitals during WW1.
▪️ METHODS OF USE: Inhalation and topical application are the most common, and in my opinion, most effective form of use. There are other methods of use, but for the purpose of this article I’ll limit it to these two. Inhalation can be achieved by using diffusers, spritzing, steaming and bathing, or even smelling direct from the bottle. Inhalation allows the aromatic molecules to enter the nasal passage where the olfactory receptors are stimulated and triggers the nerve message to the limbic centre brain. This part of the brain is where we feel sensations of pleasure, emotions, memory, sleep and appetite. It takes approximately 6 seconds from the moment of inhalation for the brain to register this and the essential oils to begin taking effect. For this reason, inhalation is my favourite method of essential oil use. Topically ( on the skin ) essential oils MUST be diluted in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil or jojoba etc. Topical application can be achieved by using a roller bottle with a blend of essential oils that can be easily applied to wrists and other pulse points, and via massage. Dilution charts are easily found on the internet, just make sure y refer to one from a reputable company. As a general rule of thumb, I use 10-20 drops of essential oil per 10 ml off carrier oil. More is NOT better when it comes to potency. Not only does it make no difference to the effectiveness of the oil blend, it can cause skin reactions and is just a waste of good oil and money.
Stress, anxiety, depression and other emotional symptoms are common issues and the use of essential oils has become an effective and popular treatment. Lavender, bergamot, Rose, chamomile, ylang ylang, vetiver, frankincense, clary sage , patchouli and geranium are just some of the essential oils that can be beneficial for assisting with stress and anxiety and creating a sense of calm. In a study or work environment I highly recommend adding rosemary essential oil as it has great anti stress properties and is amazing for clearing mind fog, increasing concentration and scientific studies have shown that the inhalation of rosemary can boost memory by up to 70%. In recent years the essential oil industry has boomed and become an increasingly lucrative business. On the one hand it’s wonderful that the healing benefits of essential oils are widely accessible to consumers, however, the downside is that it has also seen the essential oil market saturated with less than pure products that are not produced under ethical standards. Unfortunately there is not a governing body anywhere other than in the United Kingdom that oversees the integrity and purity of essential oil manufacturing.
When purchasing and using essential oils be mindful of the following things :
▪️Only use genuine 100% essential oils.
▪️There is no such thing as a CHEAP pure, 100% essential oil. If it’s really cheap, it is not 100% pure. Australian law only requires a very low amount of pure essential oil to be in the product and the rest can be synthetic fillers that are far from natural or pure.
▪️ Know the difference between ‘essential oils’ and ‘fragrant oils’. Fragrant oils have absolutely no essential oil in them and are not safe to use in lieu of pure essential oils.
▪️ Be aware of any individual sensitivity or allergies.
▪️ You do not have to have ALL of the essential oils to reap the benefits. Quality essential oils are not cheap, so rather than compromise on the quality and integrity of the oils, take the ‘Less is More’ attitude and invest in ONE really good quality essential oil. ▪️ Always exercise caution - never ingest essential oils or apply them topically undilute.
🌑 Top Tip - if quality essential oils are completely out of your budget, then find a lavender shrub and a rosemary bush. Pick a small sprig of each plant and gently rub it between your fingers. This is aromatherapy in it‘s purest, most primitive form and works just as well. Personally, I prefer my lavender and rosemary this way.
🌑 Recommended essential oil brands - my favourite essential oil companies include DoTerra, Tisserand and Plant Therapy. As I am operating a business and I won’t compromise on product integrity, I use companies that will readily provide me with quantifiable testing results confirming that there is no adulteration of their oils. If a company doesn’t provide this willingly, then I won’t use their product. However, essential oils for personal use really don’t require testing results and there are plenty of companies that produce quality essential oils. The following three companies are just SOME of the great Australian brands we have to offer. I'm listing them because I have actually used them, I can't recommend any essential oils that I haven't personally used.
▪️SPRINGFIELDS: are an Australian company that have wonderful quality, affordable essential oils. They are widely available in wholefood and health stores or online.
▪️ECO. MODERN ESSENTIALS: a Gold Coast company that ethically source and harvest and are well priced. Widely available in wholefood and health stores and online.
▪️OIL GARDEN: are an Australian company in Byron Bay. Widely available in pharmacies and online.
🌑 I first studied aromatherapy 26 years ago, and then updated my studies in 2018/19. I am currently a student of Western Herbalism. In 2016 I started my ‘cottage business’, Earth Mother Flower Child. Initially intended as a hobby creating for family and friends, word of mouth soon had the demand for my products and I was selling at markets and expos. Earth Mother Flower Child has grown organically with the reputation for handcrafted quality products that are completely toxin free and very affordable.
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