Aromatherapy is the skilled use of specific pure essential oils for physical, psychological, and aesthetic purposes. In addition to benefiting the skin, aromatherapy offers emotional and physical benefits in the areas of relaxation, energy, and mood alteration. Pure essential oils will uplift the spirit, refresh the mind, and rejuvenate the body.
Essential oils are quickly absorbed into the skin via the hair follicles so that massage and bathing in the oils are very effective ways to implement the benefits of aromatherapy into your life.
Essential oils are the most concentrated and profoundly powerful of all extracts, for example, they are about 75-100 times more concentrated that dried herbs.
Aromatherapy is the only therapy that utilizes the most neglected of the senses; smell. Located at the top and side of the inner nasal cavity is the olfactory bulb. It is covered with a membrane of about 10 million cells called the olfactory epithelium. These are brain cells and are the only place in the body where nerve cells are in direct contact with the environment. We are capable of detecting minute amounts of odor and our brain sorts them out and sends the stimulus to the appropriate area of the brain. Fragrant odors are sent to the limbic system which releases neurotransmitters that affect how we feel; calm, relaxed, awake etc.
Holistic therapy for the mind, body and spirit. We can find many ways in our every day activities to incorporate the benefits of aromatherapy: to invigorate and stimulate upon rising, to soothe and to calm at the close of a busy day.
Essential oils can soothe inflammation, act as an antiseptic, dull pain, and stimulate digestion; however, the fragrances also work more subtly, via the olfactory nerves in the brain’s primitive limbic system – one of the oldest parts of the brain containing the centers of memory, emotion, creativity, and sexuality.
Safe and simple to use, we can benefit from nature’s offerings. Aromatherapy is the doorway to optimum health and vitality.
The history or perfumes, essences and oils begin nearly 4000 years ago in the Near East. The first perfumes were the aromatics kindled as incense to the gods. It was the Ancient Egyptians who discovered enfleurage (pressing aromatics into fatty oils) and indulged themselves in elaborate beauty and relaxation rituals; however, this technique fell out of favor for many hundreds of years, re-emerging in the eighteenth century. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said “the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day.” His theory coincided with that of Rene Maurice Gatlefosse, a French cosmetic chemist, who coined the title ‘aromatherapy’ about twenty years ago.
The human body contains hundreds of locations where there is focused and concentrated energy. There are, however, seven major energy centers, commonly referred to as “chakras.” Chakra is a Sanskrit word, which means, “wheel.” The chakras are similar to wheels, in that they are spinning vortexes of energy. They are centers of force, located within our etheric body, through which we receive, transmit, and process life energies.
Each chakra in the body is recognized as a focal point of life force relating to physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energies. The chakras are the network through which body, mind, and spirit interact as one holistic system. The seven major chakras correspond to specific aspects of our consciousness and have their own individual characteristics and functions. Each has a correspondent relationship to one of the various glands of the body’s endocrine system, as well as to one of the seven colors of the rainbow spectrum.
The main purpose in working with and understanding the chakras is to create integration and wholeness within ourselves. In this way we free the various aspects of our consciousness, from the physical to the spiritual, into a harmonious relationship. Ultimately, we begin to recognize that the different aspects of ourselves (physical, natural, secular, spiritual, etc.) all work together and that each aspect is as much a part of the whole as the others. We must be able to acknowledge, accept and integrate all levels of our being.
To help us in the process of our enfoldment it is important to understand that chakras are doorways for our consciousness, through which emotional, mental, and spiritual force flow into physical expression. They are openings through which our attitudes and belief systems enter into and create our body/mind structure. The energy created from our emotions and mental attitudes runs through the chakras and is distributed to our cells, tissues, and organs. Realizing this brings tremendous insight into how we ourselves affect our bodies, minds, and circumstances for better or worse.
To understand the chakras and their relationship to our consciousness is to better understand ourselves. Understanding ourselves will enable us to make our choices and decisions form a place of awareness and balance rather than being blindly influenced by forces we do not understand. The ancient adage still echoes…”know thyself.”