Aromatherapy encourages a relaxed feeling and a trained therapist will ask questions first to discover the best treatment for each individual person. The complex essential oils extracted from many plants are introduced into the body where the ‘life force’ of the plant’s essential oil can have a beneficial effect. Therapists do not claim that the oils heal directly in the sense that a synthetic drug may effect a cure, instead it is believed that the oils encourage the body to use its own natural healing forces from within.
The essential oils are absorbed through the skin and pass through the tissues to the blood stream and so travel around the body. Different oil combination affect different parts of the body, for example, chamomile can help with digestive problems.
Essential Oils are extracted from plant essences by a special distillation process that changes their chemical composition. They are used in concentrations that are many times stronger than their original plant form and are rarely used undiluted because they are too powerful to use directly on the skin. It is important to be aware of the potency of essential oils and that their use is not advised with people who suffer from certain conditions, in particular, a history of miscarriage, hemophiliacs, advanced varicose veins and during a high temperature. Always read the instructions carefully before use or follow the advice of a therapist.
Methods for use at home
The soothing oils can be used in other ways to enhance their effect :
– Vaporization creates a very pleasant effect by burning essential oils in special containers, so that the aroma is inhaled from the air. It is believed that the healing part of the oil is breathed into the body and passes through the membranes of the lungs into the blood system. Fill the bowl with water, add two to four drops of essential oil and place a lighted night-light candle underneath. Pottery containers and blended oils are readily available in many gift shops.
– Oils blended with hand and body creams give extra benefits for skin care.
– Hand/foot baths with five drops of blended essential oil added to the water can relax the body or ease aching joints.
– Use in steam inhalers or droplets on a handkerchief to bring relief from colds and catarrh.
– Use as room fresheners by mixing two drops of essential oil in a cup of cool, boiled water and spray the air using a plant sprayer; or mix a few drops of blended essential oil with potpourri or put a few droplets onto a cloth and lay on a radiator.
– As an aromatherapy massage (which has little in common with the traditional Swedish version that is much more vigorous). Simple massage techniques, such as arm massage, can easily be learned from instructions and pictures in a book.