Aromatherapy and Essential Oils - An Overview
Aromatherapy is an age-old treatment known to many of the earliest civilisations. In Egypt they were using Essential Oils as far back as 4500 BC for embalming, massage oils, cosmetics and medicinal purposes.
Essential Oils used for Aromatherapy are extracted from flowers, leaves, fruit, tree bark, roots, herbs,spices, resin and wood. Each oil has its own individual smell and healing properties. These oils are often described as the "soul" of the plant. All oils are natural antiseptics, and beyond that, they can also be antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-spasmodic, insecticidal, calming, stimulating, anti-depressant etc.
Material used to make Essential Oils is harvested at different times of the year depending on the type of plant that it comes from. Aromas can vary from year to year because of climate changes, altitude, soil conditions and the amount of rainfall and sunshine.
Essential Oils are mixed into vegetable oils (Coconut, Sweet Almond, Sunflower, Grapeseed for example) and once they are massaged into the skin, they are absorbed quickly and give highly effective results. Essential Oils have very small molecules which enable them to be penetrate the skin and be absorbed into the bloodstream. This is a very powerful but gentle way of treating the body.
Essential Oils are very powerful and should be used with care and well diluted.
- NEVER use essential oils or products containing them on or around cats - they are toxic.
- Essential Oils should NEVER be used neat directly on the skin as they can cause irritation.
- Do not use during pregnancy without the advice of an Aromatherapist.
- Never put the oils in eyes or on the sensitive tissues surrounding them.
- Never take oils internally.
- Keep oils out of the reach of children and animals.
- If you suffer from allergies or skin problems, use the oils very carefully.
- Make sure that you do a patch test before using them widely.
- If you have any doubts, consult a qualified Aromatherapist.