Healing

The essential guide to Aromatherapy and a word of caution

Hi beautiful souls, this is an informative post on aromatherapy and essential oils. I put together some known and less known info about aromatherapy, things I feel are interesting and relevant for any aroma lovers. A brief history to realise how old this therapy really is, the 3 safety rules to follow when you use essential oils and a brief walk through the most well-known oils, their properties with pictures of the plants as you may wonder how they look like 🙂

Enjoy!

What is aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy that uses the therapeutic qualities of essential oils to improve health and wellbeing. Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment that treats the human being as a whole, taking care of the mind, body, and spirit and supports both the physical and emotional health. 

What are essential oils

Essential oils are the essence of a plant. They contain the healing properties of the plant together with the aromatic compounds. They are extracted through distillation or mechanical methods from parts of a plant such as leaves, flowers, stalks, bark, roots, seeds or berries.

A brief history of aromatherapy 

Aromatherapy has the origin in ancient times when the use of plants and herbs was developed. For example over 2000 years BC, Ayurvedic medicine in India used plants for healing and in religious rituals, while Chinese medicine used herbs in treatments along with acupuncture. Ancient Egyptians used herbs for religious purposes attributing a herb to each deity. Egypt had inspired other countries such as Israel, Greece and Italy to start using herbs. Through Italy and Roman Empire the use of herbs has expanded and this is how some herbs started to become popular in Britain. 

Avicenna The beginning of aromatherapy as we know it today dates as far back as in the 9th century AD when Avicenna developed the distillation process. He also wrote The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine. 

Aromatherapy continued to develop in the Middle Ages being used in monasteries and for therapeutic use. In the 17th century, the floral waters became popular and in the 18th century, essential oils were widely used in medicine. 

19th CENTURY – experienced a decline in using aromatherapy due to the industrial revolution and the development of modern medicine and synthetic drugs.

20th & 21st CENTURY – an interest in aromatherapy was revived and the birth of modern aromatherapy began. 

Key figures in modern aromatherapy

  • Rene Maurice Gatterdosse – created the name Aromatherapy. He was a French chemist and used essential oils to treat soldiers’ wound in the WW2.
  • Jean Valnet – treated physical and psychiatric disorders with essential oils and published in 1964 the book Aromatherapie
  • Marguerite Maury in 40’s and 50’s – used essential oils for beauty and also created personalised treatments. She published the book The Secrets of Life and Youth.
  • Tisserand – founded the Tisserand Institute, published articles and a book called The art of Aromatherapy in 1979. His products are famous today, it’s a very well respected brand and also offers specialised training for those seeking to learn about aromatherapy.

How aromatherapy works

Aromatherapy works through 

  • the sense of smell – directly connected to the brain
  • skin absorption

Common uses: oil diffusers, aromatic body oils or creams, body washes, soaps, room sprays, etc.

Natural soaps with essential oils
Body creams with essential oils
Room diffuser for essential oils

The 3 safety rules of using essential oils

Dilution – Always use diluted and follow the right proportions

Essential oils must be diluted in order to be safely used. A safe dilution according to Tisserand Institute is between 0.5% and 5%. Some oils are stronger than others and it is important to know the maximum dilution that is safe for use. 

Dilution chart for a 10ml bottle carrier oil

0.5%1%2%3%4%5%
1 drop3 drops6 drops9 drops12 drops15 drops
Source ( Tisserand Institute)

Common carrier oils: sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, argan oil. 

Never use internally

Very important: Completely avoid to use essential oils internally.

Please please make sure you dilute the oils properly, see the guide above and check the information on each product.

A warning: there are companies out there on the market that promote the idea that oils may be use internally. This is a very dangerous affirmation and I strongly advise you to NOT use essential oils internally, no matter how well are diluted.

Cautions, contraindications, alergies

There are some contraindications and cautions you need to be aware of when using essential oils for yourself and loved one. Always ask for medical advice in case of epilepsy, pregnancy, allergies and sensitive skin, high blood pressure, asthma, post-operative, diabetes, skin/nail infections.

Essential oil benefits

Examples of well-known essential oils and their benefits

I wrote this article to help you navigate through the world of aromatherapy safely but of course this is not a comprehensive guide. Whilst Aromatherapy is not my main specialty, I do have aromatherapy training for using oils for wellbeing and I am always keen to learn and research in this field. Please do your own research when deciding to use a certain oil and look into contraindications and safety use carefully.

Until next time,

Many blessings

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