Essential oils are volatile oils. In other words, they naturally vaporize into the air, like the steam that rises from a hot cup of tea or a freshly baked pie. That is why they have a scent, an aroma. The compounds in essential oils are very small - smaller than most drugs - and can easily pass through the skin and through the lungs into the blood stream. Essential oils are very potent so always use them wisely.
Many of the diseases we suffer from have physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions. Essential oils have powerful healing effects on the body as well as the mind and spirit. For example, people often get tension headaches during stressful situations or develop the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome after a traumatic emotional event. States of grief, anger and depression dampen the body's natural ability to defend against infections.
Essential oils affect our mood so they can dampen the symptoms associated with bodily disorders. Essential oils also work directly in the body at the cellular and sub-cellular level to support the body's natural maintenance and healing functions.
"Aroma" vs. "Therapy"
Most products on the market today labeled aromatherapy such as candles, soaps and bath salts, are 100% aroma and 0% therapy. They are scented with synthetic odors. Odors can have pleasant or relaxing effects to the mind, even when they are synthetic, because they tap into emotions and memory. However, they will not heal like natural odors do. The body and brain can detect a synthetic scent, even when you are not consciously aware of it, and reacts adversely to it. If you develop a higher level of awareness of your facial muscles, you will notice that your jaw and facial muscles tighten up when presented with a synthetic scent. Many people develop headaches or indigestion when even passing by a person wearing cologne or perfume.
The British School of Thought
Even when using 100% natural pure essential oils, the concentration and method of use will determine how much aroma you receive and how much therapy. For example, the British school of Aromatherapy emphasizes low concentrations of pure essential oils (1-5%) applied topically for aesthetic and relaxation purposes. Most clinical studies using these concentrations of oils have shown little to no effect at all for more serious disorders, but the British method is helpful for muscle aches, skin disorders such as eczema, lice and hair loss from fungal infections (alopecia areata), aesthetic care and for a pleasant massage experience.
The German School of Thought
The German school of aromatherapy emphasizes inhalation of pure or diluted essential oils. This works in two ways. First, by inhaling the vapors of the volatile oils, they enter the lungs and go into the blood stream, much like gas anesthesia or asthma medicines work. Once in the body, these compounds can affect the functioning of the body in many different ways.
The second way that inhalation of essential oils work is by stimulating the deep part of the brain that influences emotions and memory - the limbic system. The limbic system is connected to the parts of the brain that control hormones, heart and breathing rate, blood pressure and thoughts. Inhalation works in both ways simultaneously because the volatile compounds pass through the nose, stimulating the smell nerves and then go down into the lungs. The German method is good for minor emotional issues, nausea and lung disorders.
The French School of Thought
The French school is the third major school of aromatherapy. The French school utilizes high doses of essential oils taken internally, often in capsules or mixed with food or as a tincture. The French method uses only pure essential oils and is conducted under medical supervision. The French method is effective for more serious medical conditions, such as infections, hormonal and liver disorders, as well as stomach ailments. It is also helpful for minor illnesses. The French method is usually conducted under the strict supervision of medical professionals trained in aromatherapy when undiluted essential oils are used. Please do not attempt the French method without proper supervision and training in essential oil safety and without access to high quality essential oils.
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