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Some of the almost 100 pages in this Healing section are below, to see the links to all of the pages please go HERE
Please Note: All information
presented here is strictly for educational purposes only. It
is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical
care. Prior to the use of any essential oils, it is your responsibility
to consult with a certified licensed Aroma therapist.
I looked around to see if I could
find anything on aromatherapy, perhaps I did not look in the
right place. If I am duplicating a previous article please excuse
these old eyes and my newness at your very informative site.
I discovered the benefits of aromatherapy many years ago. This
ancient art has been refined over the centuries, and brings
a sense of pleasure, and healing, as it promotes good health
and well-being. Aroma, the first five letters of
the word aromatherapy, defines on of the principal features
of the essential oils. It is the aromatic nature of these substances,
along with the effects they have on our brain through our sense
of smell that makes aromatherapy more than just the application
of sweet-smelling oils. Wonderful as they are, essential oils
can be harmful. Some are toxic, or skin irritants and should
not be used regularly. Also the inappropriate use of oils may
put some people at risk.
Patricia Davis Aromatherapy
AN A Z
The following oils must never be used for anybody suffering
from epilepsy as they can trigger an attack:
Wormwood should not be
used in therapy at all.
Lavender and Rose should also be avoided during the first 4
months, but may safely be used after that if well diluted -
1% - 1 ½%.
High Blood Pressure
There is a possibility that Ti-tree may also have a skin-sensitizing
effect on some people.
This next group of oils may irritate
the skin whether used in massage or baths. Handle with care.
Do not use at all for people
with sensitive skin:
Fir Needle (Siberian)
Photosensitization The following
oils make the skin more sensitive to ultra-violet light and
should not be used before exposure to strong sunshine, sun-beds
or other sources of ultra-violet light:
Note: As a caution Essential
oils have an important role in an holistic approach because
they work on so many levels. At the same time we must remember
even small amounts of essential oil can build up to a toxic
level in the body as they are readily absorbed through the skin.
Therefore, I believe we should consider consulting a well-trained
and licensed aromatherapist before using any essential oil.
Aromatherapy may be defined as the therapeutic use of the essential
oils of aromatic plants. These oils are highly concentrated
forms of herbal energy and represent the soul or life force,
of the plant. The value of natural plant oils has been recognized
for more than 6000 years for their healing, cleansing, preservative
and mood-enhancing properties as well as for the sheer pleasure
of their fragrances.
The origins of aromatherapy can be
traced through the religious, medical and social practices of
all major civilizations. It is believed that the Chinese were
the first to discover the remarkable medicinal powers of plants
around 4500 BC, however, it was the Egyptians where the use
of aromatic essences were highly developed. They created various
fragrances for individual use, rituals and ceremonies. From
hieroglyphs and paintings we know that aromatic preparations
were used as offerings to the gods. The ritual use of aromatics
was important in Egyptian spiritual life. No discussion of ancient
Egyptian practice would be complete without mentioning the use
of aromatics in mummification. The discovery of remarkably well-preserved
mummies up to 5000 years after their preparation has left many
modern day scientists amazed with the ancient embalmer's art.
For example, in 1922, when King Tuts tomb was exhumed
over 350 liters of oil was discovered. The oil had been kept
in alabaster jars where wax had solidified into a thick residue
around the opening, keeping the oil in excellent condition.
Around 3000 BC, priests who had been
using oils in religious and embalming ceremonies became aware
of the natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties of essential
oils and resins. Closely guarding their secrets they became
the healers of their time. Gradually the oils began to make
their way into cosmetics and perfumes. The Greeks and the Romans
used aromatics widely in their ceremonies and rituals...and
from Hypocrites, we know that the Greeks were aware of the their
value as sedatives and stimulants. The oil played an important
part in Greek and Roman lifestyles, enhancing baths and massages
however, as the Roman Empire fell, so did the use of essential
oils in Europe. The art flourished elsewhere though, particularly
in Arabia where Avicenna was the first to distill the rose essence
around AD 1000, and Arabia became the world's center for perfume
production. The earliest written record of their use was by
Nicholas Culpeper whose book on herbs was published in 1652
and from that time a great increase has been shown in both oils
and treatments. A French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse wrote
the first modern book on aromatherapy (indeed he coined the
word). Dr. Jean Valnet, a French physician, also experimented
with essential oils using them often on his patients. It was
Marguerite Maury who developed the method of applying the oils
through massage. She was eventually persuaded to come to England
setting up the first aromatherapy clinic in London, where she
taught passing on her knowledge. Today there is a worldwide
revival in the art of aromatherapy and research is beginning
to understand the scientific foundations of the oils, properties
The vital element in aromatherapy is pure essential oil.
I must stress that just because something is natural does not
mean that it is harmless. Essential oils are highly concentrated
forms of plant energy. In order to safely use these oils, it
is essential that you understand this. As we explore the methods
of their extraction, it becomes apparent that the production
of essential oils can be a lengthy procedure. Also important
to note is that the cost of producing essential oils depends
greatly on the harvesting of the plant, the quality of the plant,
where it is produced and the quantity of oil glands present
in the plant. Essential oils are extracted from an array of
plant sources...petals, leaves, seeds, nut kernels, bark, stalks,
flower heads and gums and resins from trees and are composed
of tiny molecules which are dissolved in alcohol, emulsifiers
and particularly fats helping them to penetrate the skin more
easily. As the essences evaporate, they are also inhaled, entering
the body via the nasal passages sending messages to the brain.
This helps us understand how essential oils are able to enhance
both physical and psychological well-being at the same time.
METHODS OF EXTRACTION
Steam Distillation The Egyptians stored their raw materials
in large clay pots adding water as the pots heated so that steam
rose and was pushed through a cotton cloth in the neck of the
jar. This soaked up the essential oil. It was then squeezed
and pressed out into a collection vehicle. Today, the same principle
remains, a high-pressure steam is passed over leaves or flowers
so that the essential oils within them vaporize. The water and
essential oil begin to separate naturally upon cooling. As the
essence separates, it runs into a collecting vessel. This is
the most modern method used today.
Maceration - similar to enfleurage:
Flowers or leaves are crushed to rupture some of the oil glands
then soaked in warm oil to break down the cells, releasing their
fragrance into the oil which is then purified and the aromatics
Enfleurage: This is the method
by which flower essences such as jasmine, neroli and rose, (being
more delicate and difficult to obtain) are extracted. Flowers
or petals are crushed between wooden-framed, glass trays and
smeared with purified fat or wax until the fat is saturated
with essential oil. A solvent such as alcohol is then used to
separate out the essence. This can be a costly and time-consuming
Cold Expression or Pressing:
This is a simple method of squeezing out essential oils from
the rinds and peel of rip fruit, such as grapefruit, oranges,
and lemons into a sponge producing the most natural essential
oil because no heat or chemical treatment is involved. The best
quality oils are expensive, but they are worth the extra cost.
Synthetic substitutes are quite successful for cookery and perfumery
but for the purpose of aromatherapy, only the purest oil will
give the desired effect. As with most things the price is comparable
with the quality. If an essential oil is to be suitable for
aromatherapy, it should be from the correct plant source, preferably
organic, and should never be adulterated with chemicals or synthetics.
BLENDING & STORING THE OILS
Blending oils is one of the most exciting and creative activities
in aromatherapy and one of the most important. Each oil has
its own fragrance and properties and requires the skill of an
aroma therapist to blend them harmoniously for each individual's
therapeutic use. Essential oils are highly volatile and should
be handled, mixed and stored with care. Oils are sensitive to
the light and should be stored in a well-capped dark glass bottle.
By the way, essential oils are not greasy and should never be
applied directly to the skin undiluted.
When essential oils are used for
massage, base or "carrier" oils play and important
role in diluting the highly concentrated essential oils, which
are used in very small quantities. The "carrier" oil
also provides the lubrication needed for the therapist's hands.
Carrier" oil can be almost any un-perfumed vegetable
oil but those most often used for aromatherapy are sweet almond
oil and grape seed oil. Sesame seed oil, and walnut oil are
sometimes used. Peach kernel, apricot kernel, and avocado oil,
are rich nourishing oils often used on aging skin. All carrier
oils will oxidize after being exposed to the air and that is
why only as much as will be used for a treatment is mixed.
USING ESSENTIAL OILS
The use of aromatherapy can be seen as part of a lifestyle
choice -- a lifestyle that allows for pleasure because moments
of pleasure are relaxing and healing. Essential oils nourish
and stimulate the skin, enhance the immune system and delight
the senses. Using essential oils correctly is one of the most
important things to learn. Never take essential oils internally
unless prescribed by your physician. Choosing the correct method,
knowing the proper dilution and being aware of the possible
contraindications of specific oils will ensure you are using
them safely and responsibly. You can soak in a relaxing bath,
feed your skin or simply breathe in their wonderful healing
aroma. The versatility of aromatic oils is one of nature's kindest
gifts, and there are many ways of dispersing their fragrance.
This is the traditional aromatherapy treatment triggering
the body's natural healing process .The techniques used in an
aromatherapy massage are designed to be relaxing rather than
stimulating. Combining essential oils with massage, gives a
double benefit, the healing power of touch and massage and the
plant energy of the oils. Essential oils are never applied directly
to the skin and must be diluted in suitable "carrier"
Steam inhalation is a good way to treat respiratory problems,
colds, sinus etc. This method should not be used by asthmatics
or if you have broken capillaries in the facial area. The method
consists of adding a couple of drops of essential oil to a bowl
of hot water, then covering your head with a towel while you
inhale the vapors from the aromatic oils. By the way, this is
a great facial cleanser.
One of the most common methods of use is in the bath. This is
very effective because the oil can act in two ways, by penetration
of the skin and by inhalation since the warm water causes evaporation
to create an aromatic vapor. Essential oils are only added after
the bath has been run and the water turned off. For sensitive
skin, it is better to dilute the oil in base "carrier"
oil like sweet almond, apricot or peach kernel. Caution must
be used in the choice of oils, as it is easy to burn the skin
with certain oils. Essential oils can also be used to refresh
tired feet as well as for soaking chapped dry hands.
A marvelous way of applying essential oils to a specific area
of the body. They can be hot or cold depending on the situation
and are applied as needed. Place 5 drops of essential oil into
a bowl of warm or cool water. Mix well and soak a washcloth,
wring out and apply to area.
Add 20-30 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil
and gently massage into a sore or stiff area...soothes the ache.
BURNERS & DIFFUSERS
These attractive pots are simply to use and can effectively
kill airborne bacteria as well as altering moods. The candle
in the pot underneath heats the water, slowly releasing the
fragrance of the oil into the room.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE WAYS TO USE
Essential oils are highly aromatic and many of the benefits
can be obtained simply by inhaling the fragrance from the bottle,
or the oil can be diffused into the room and used as an air
freshener. Air sprays are simple to make and are environmentally
friendly. Create your own by adding 15-20 drops of essential
oils to a 2 oz. misting bottle filled with spring water. Shake
and mist...spread the magic. Use the heat from a light bulb
to release perfumed oils. Small ring burners can be purchased
to sit over the top of a light bulb. A few drops of the essential
oil and the heat from the bulb will gently vaporize the oil.
A couple of drops of lavender on a tissue tucked near your pillow
can help promote a relaxing sleep. Refresh tired potpourri by
adding a few drops of an appropriate essential oil, or even
make your own. Adding 3 or 4 drops to a hanky can be useful
for treating colds or headaches. As you can see there are many
ways of using essential oils and it is the versatility of applications
that makes aromatherapy such a useful therapeutic tool.
Wonderful as they are essential oils
can be harmful. Some are toxic or skin irritants, and should
not be used regularly. Also the inappropriate use of oils can
put some people at risk. The penetrating characteristics of
essential oils can last up to twenty - thirty minutes when applied
to the skin. Therefore, I would recommend that prior to using
any essential oil, you consult with a Health Care Professional
- an aroma therapist who is licensed and registered to practice
in your area. The rebirth of this ancient art offers us the
opportunity to inspire and enlighten us in achieving balance
in a holistic manner.
Essential oils offer an opportunity
to fine-tune our body's harmony. Many good books on aromatherapy
are available. Patricia Davis, Robert Tisserand, Jeanne Rose,
Valerie Ann Worwood and Julia Lawless are some of the respected
Aromatherapists who have published books.
VERY IMPORTANT ...
Again, Please Note:
All information presented here is strictly for educational purposes
only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional
medical care. Prior to the use of any essential oils, it is
your responsibility to consult with a certified licensed Aroma
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