What Is Aromatherapy?
Although one thinks of aromatherapy only in terms of relaxation through smell, true aromatherapy incorporates inhalation, bodily application and ingestion.
Essential oils have also been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, as well as for their spiritually and emotionally uplifting properties. This ancient tradition is being brought to modern users, introducing millions to a total mind/body wellness they may never have dreamed possible.
Primarily extracted through careful steam distillation but also through cold pressing, the purest essential oils are far more powerful than the botanicals from which they were extracted. Any time you hold a bottle of pure, authentic essential oils, you are holding nature's pure essence.
You cannot just use any essential oil if you are to receive the benefit of the plant’s underlying properties. Most oils sold in the US today are for external use only and are perfume, not
pure, authentic essential oils.
Essential oils must only be used in their whole natural state, as they are more in synergy than the sum of their parts. Oils containing synthetic or extracted compounds do not have the same properties as oils created entirely by nature, even if their components have the same chemical formulas.
In addition, the distillation process as well as the testing of the finished product are important components of ascertaining viability. Plants should be grown organically or wild crafted in an area that is free from environmental pollutants. Pure non-chlorinated water must also be used. Lavender may be great for supporting the skin but if you use a lavender that is cut with lavadin (although the bottle says 100% pure lavender), distilled with solvents or not tested to insure a low camphor ratio the lavender may actually do more harm than good.
The other questions to ask are: Is the oil processed using a technique that maintains the components of the plants? Do the oils have high biofreqency? Has the purity and quality of the oil been ensured through independent lab analysis?
In addition, only cold air diffusion is used with pure, authentic essential oils since heating them (such as with a tea light or in a candle) would destroy the plant properties. Therefore, if I see a company that claims to have 100% pure essential oils but also advocates burning them I know that they have perfume grade oils since no seller of pure oils would advise burning them in any way.
It is the responsibility of the massage therapist to insure that when they offer aromatherapy, what they use with their clients are pure essential oils. This insures that the benefits they are offering are actually able to be delivered by the product. That is why I only use pure, authentic essential oils in my practice.
I offer workshops in the use of essential oils and I am seeing a trend toward greater understanding of essential oils and their supportive benefits by health professionals and clients.