Aromatherapy uses plant materials (flowers, barck, stems, leaves, roots and other parts) and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, with claims for improving psychological or physical well-being. It is offered as a complementary therapy, holistic healing method or as a form of alternative medicine, the first meaning alongside standard treatments, the second instead of conventional, evidence-based treatments.
Several essential oils act as metabolic regulators (adaptogens), will instigate a reaction in the body that is appropriate to achieving a state of homeostasis, or balance. The reaction affect among other things the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system, and blood pressure.
When an essential oil is inhaled, the scent molecules enter the nasal cavity and stimulate the limbic system, a region in the brain that plays a role in emotion and behavior. The molecules also stimulate the nervous system, which helps to regulate heart rate, blood pressure, stress, and breathing.
When used topically, the scent molecules are absorbed through the skin and inhaled.
Aromatherapists, people who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of therapeutic essential oils that can be used as topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion.
Safety – DO NOT
- DO NOT use essential oils directly to skin undiluted
- DO NOT dilute with water
- DO NOT never take essential oils internally
- DO NOT use essential oils 24/7
- DO NOT use citrus essential oils in the sun due the photosensitivity
- pregnant and breastfeeding women and children should consult certified aromatherapist before using essential oil
Essential oils and medications both influence the organs of elimination (lungs, kidneys, liver, skin, and colon), therefore, it’s important to monitor your response and assess with your doctor the dosage throughout use. Furthermore, everyone is different, with different detoxification capacities and abilities to metabolize drugs, supplements, and nutrients. Therefore, be aware of your body and listen to its response.
NOTE! Essential oils might interfere with some medications e.g.
- chemotherapy, do not use essential oils 3 days before treatment and 5 days after treatment
- blood thinner – consult with your MD before using any essential oils
The following oils contain coumarins, or other constituents that may interfere with blood thinners, and should be used cautiously with these medications: angelica, birch, cinnamon, clove, fir (balsam), helichyrsm, Laurus nobilis, nutmeg, oregano, wintergreen, unless you are being monitored by your doctor on levels.
Aromatic plants, essences and oils have been used for ages in ceremony, religious observances, beauty care, food preparation and preservation, as incense, and for perfumes. Aromatic plants have also been the basis for herbal and botanical medicines and remedies for thousands of years. In fact, they’re the root of today’s pharmaceuticals.
The earliest essential oils usage evidence occurs in the period of 3000-2500 B.C. The use of plant essential oils dates back to ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, and China.
It is good to remember with essential oils – Less is more.