Before the inception of modern medicine and pharmaceuticals, our ancestors relied on botanicals for health and wellness. The exact dates and cultures of its origins are unknown, but the Greeks and Chinese played an intricate role in using it for its therapeutic properties.
Aromatherapy goes beyond alluring scents or just fragrances for women, and works on a cellular level to lift moods and energize your spirit. Find essential oil roll-ons for sleep or aromatherapy diffusers for your home at The Online Drugstore, and expand your knowledge on the benefits of aromatherapy!
Beneficial Scents: Essential Oils
Essential oils are what comprise aromatherapy, and are distilled from parts of their botanicals such as petals, barks, leaves, and branches. The process is pure alchemy — the botanicals go in as a physical plant, are then heated to a gas, and then cooled by a condenser where they are turned to an essential oil, in liquid form. Essential oils are not really an oil at all, when the plant product is being cooled and collected, the essential oil is actually the liquid that sits atop the hydrosol, (plant water) after distillation.
Absolutes, which are commonly made from delicate flowers, use a solvent to extract a liquid to make an essential oil and have a viscous consistency and more colored look compared to steam distilled essential oils.
When plants are distilled, you’re separating their highly therapeutic compounds into a single substance. For example, to get one 15ml bottle of rose essential oil, it takes 65 pounds of rose petals — no wonder it’s so expensive!
These healing compounds that support our wellbeing are the same that protect plants from predators such as insects, and the ones that can survive in adverse environmental conditions and adapt to a harsh climate.
Essential oils are also known as volatile aromatic oils because they’re extremely concentrated in aromatic compounds.
How does aromatherapy work?
Essential oils are being used more frequently in the health and wellness space because supporting research continues to come to light and many medical practitioners have begun implementing it in treatment. Many clinicians such as doctors, acupuncturists, and chiropractors are using it everyday. There may even come a day when you go in for a dental procedure and the dental office supplies aromatherapy topicals and sprays to help calm your nerves and ease your mind!
Essential oils are also able to cross the blood-brain barrier which is an internal filter that lets the good things in and keeps the bad things out. Most essential oils contain a compound called terpenes, and the terpenes are responsible for acting on a deeper, cellular level.
Aromatherapy works on a couple of different pathways including:
Inhalation - When essential oils are absorbed as means of inhalation through your nose, the neurons send signals to different systems to help balance the body and mind. Different systems that are positively affected are: the olfactory, midbrain, hypothalamus, pituitary and pineal glands, medulla oblongata, spinal cord, thyroid, and the sympathetic chain.
Topical - Essential oils can be absorbed topically through the skin and in to the bloodstream. When they travel the bloodstream, they are able to work in the different systems including:
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Muscles and joints
Essential Oils To Use In Your Aromatherapy Practice
Lavender - This essential oil is a staple to any enthusiasts repertoire! It is great for relaxation, anxiety, and calming nerves, and works wonderfully to promote sleep, relieve headaches, and heal wounds.
Frankincense - This essential oil is most known for its immune support and for its anxiety support. Inhaling it can bring calmness without feeling drowsy or ready for sleep!
Rose geranium - This is the perfect oil for hormone balance in women, decreases inflammation, and may even improve your acne.
Orange - Citrus essential oils, orange in particular, are great for enhancing your mood and increasing energy!
Peppermint - Peppermint is great for pain relief (many people use it for headaches), supports the symptoms of allergies, soothe an upset stomach, and increase energy.
Aromatherapy can be both inhaled and applied topically to get the benefits of the essential oil. Many oils provide amazing healing benefits, with some being lavender, frankincense, and peppermint.