Aromatherapy Oasis
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Archive for July 2012

What Is Aromatherapy

"Aromatherapy is… the skilled and controlled use of essential oils for physical and emotional health and well being."  Valerie Cooksley

 

"Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul."  Robert Tisserand

 

 

Aromatherapy is the art and science of using plant oils in treatment.  These plant oils have been and continue to be used for purpose of altering a person's mind, mood, cognitive function or health.  Most people think of aromatherapy as just a nice smell for candles, massage oils or as an air freshener.  It is good for those things but  for so much more. 

Aromatherapy is non-invasive in the fact that it can be used through inhalation.  A big part of aromatherapy is smell which utilizes your olfaction membrane.  Immediately upon smelling a scent,  that message is transported to your limbic system.  The limbic system is a part of the brain and it is the seat of our emotions.  For example if you smell rotten food in the garbage your face may automatically frown up showing your dislike for the scent.  But on the other hand if you smell beautiful roses or flowers you may automatically smile, showing your like for the scent.  Inhalation of essential oils does so much more than to alter moods.  It absorbs very quickly into the blood stream and directly affect the central nervous system.  As stated in Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide To The Healing Art, inhalation also produces physical reactions, such as lowered blood pressure.

Another route of absorption for essential oil used in aromatherapy is the skin.  The skin is our largest organ and what ever we put on it, get absorbed into our bloodstream.  A blend of essential oils can be applied to stop infection or for it's anti-inflammatory properties.  Sometimes people only focus on one method of use but they can be used simultaneously.  While addressing a physical concern you can address another emotional concern at the same time.

There is a science that backs aromatherapy because each essential oil is comprised of many different components; to many to name at this time.  It can help us understand some of the more complex mechanisms in which oils can be used to treat disease.  But the other mystery of aromatherapy is considered  just that, a mystery because science is not equipped to understand the miracles that happens in life with the interaction of these oils.

Helichrysum Essential Oil

Latin Name: Helichrysum italicum

 

Family: Asteraceae

 

Extraction Method: Distilled from the flowering top

 

Helichrysum essential oil has many varieties but only the H. italicum serotinum have the chemical constituents of nerol, neryl acetate, geranoil, pinene and linalol (Davis 140).  Helichrysum is also known as everlast or immortelle since the flowers last so long.  This herb is also native to the Mediterranean and North Africa.  Helichrysum is cultivated in Spain, Italy and Yugoslavia (Keville and Green). 

 

General Description: Helichrysum is an amazing essential oil because it has so many functions; from emotional to medicinal.  This essential oil is widely used in aromatherapy for its fragrance and healing properties.  I use helichrysum in a facial serum because it may help stimulate production of new cells, excellent for scar tissue and wound healing.  It is considered to be a very safe oil, non irritant, non toxic and tolerated by most sensitive skin (Davis).

Medicinal Characteristics: Used to treat infection, bronchitis, fever, muscle pain,arthritis and inflammation of chronic cough (Keville and Green).  Because helichrysum is an anti-inflammatory, it is beneficial for use in massage blends for arthritis and rheumatism.

Emotional Properties:  This a very comforting oil and has been used to reduce stress.  The scent has been used to aid in lifting one from nervous exhaustion and lethargy.  I have used this essential oil in many emotional support type blends that address old and new emotional wounds and trauma.

 

Resources

 Davis P. Aromatherapy an A-Z. New revised edition C.W. Daniel Company Limited, England, 1999
 Keville, K. Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, The Crossing press, USA, 1995

*Please note:  This information is not to replace physician advice or to be used as treatment or diagnose of a disease.

 

Essential Oil Safety Guidelines

The following precautions should be utilized when using  essential oils.

  • The following essential oils should not be used with anyone suspected of being vulnerable to epileptic seizures: Camphor, Fennel, Hyssop, Rosemary, Lavandin, Sage, Spike Lavender, and Thuja.
  • Essential oils should be used very cautiously during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Essential oils should be used during these times only under guidance of an aromatherapist and/or medical professional knowledgeable about essential oils. (see the pregnancy reference tab for more information)
  • People with high blood pressure should use stimulating oils with caution. Some stimulating oils are Camphor, Hyssop, Rosemary, and Spike Lavender.
  • Always dilute essential oils in carrier oils before applying them to the skin. Use a total of 5-18 drops of essential oil in 1 oz of carrier oil. If undiluted essential oil contacts your skin, you may experience tingling or burning sensations. Immediately apply carrier oil to the affected area.
  • For children, elders, and those with serious health conditions, essential oils need to be diluted to a maximum of 1%, (a total of 5-6 drops of essential oil to 1oz of carrier oil).
  • Do not use essential oils directly on the fur or skin of animals. Small animals can have toxic reactions to essential oils being applied to their fur or skin.
  • As a general rule, most citrus oils, (including Bergamot), as well as Cumin, Angelica root, Rue, Lemon verbena, Opopanax and Tagetes are photosensitizing. Sunlight or tanning bed rays must be avoided for at least 12 hours after application. These oils applied to the skin at any dilution will likely increase the chance of severe burns from ultraviolet light.
  • Do not put essential oils in or around the eyes or near other orifices. If essential oil does contact these areas, immediately flush with carrier oil and wipe off excess. If irritation persists, seek medical advice.
  • Persons who have allergies to perfumes should proceed cautiously with oils.
  • Customized blends are only for the intended client.  The sharing of your blends are not recommended due to potential contraindications.

Essential oils should never be used internally without medical guidance.

Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children; they can be poisonous if swallowed.

Anatomy and Physiology Certificate

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