Essential Oil Therapy

August 22, 2010

Essential oil therapy is the use of highly concentrated plant extracts to facilitate balance and healing.  Essential oils are highly aromatic and are most commonly obtained through a process of steam distillation.  Essential oils are applied in a variety of ways including but not limited to:

Skin Application – Because essential oils are highly concentrated and can burn if applied undiluted to the skin, they are blended with a carrier oil like almond, grape seed, jojoba, etc., and massaged directly into the skin.  Oils can be applied directly over an area (sore muscles) or can be applied to the feet, hands, or pulse points, where they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and can affect appropriate areas (e.g. chamomile to calm the nerves).   Reflexologists commonly utilize essential oils by applying them to the feet or hands to enhance healing of specific body systems.
Inhalation – Inhaling aromatic oils directly or in a diffuser affects brain chemistry through the olfactory nerve and can positively affect mood and emotional health.
Bathing – Essential oils can be added in very small quantities to bath water, bath salts, or foot baths where one can enjoy the fragrance of the oils while the body takes advantage of their healing properties.

Essential oils can be used to benefit every body system as well as mental, emotional and even spiritual wellbeing.  Below is a brief list of a just a few common uses:

•    Headaches
•    Sinuses and allergies
•    Mental fatigue
•    Dental discomfort
•    Chest congestion/bronchitis
•    Depression/grief
•    Muscle aches/soreness
•    Adrenal exhaustion
•    Digestive upsets, gas, bloating, etc.
•    Menstrual pain and discomfort
•    Aphrodisiac
•    Mental clarity and concentration
•    General relaxation

•    Meditation/prayer

Essential oil therapy is also known as aromatherapy.  This term is misleading, however, as it has been frequently overused in the advertisement and marketing of many common household products, and the actual use of concentrated plant extracts is replaced by synthetic and sometimes toxic ingredients.  Furthermore, it is not required to smell the oils to receive their healing benefits in most cases.
Individuals trained in the use of essential oils are commonly called aromatherapists and must go through extensive training on oils and their uses as many oils are highly potent and can cause adverse reactions when used without caution and experience.