Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being.
In addition to essential oils, aromatherapy often uses other complementary natural ingredients including cold pressed vegetable oils, jojoba (a liquid wax), herbs, sea salts, and so forth.
Products that include synthetic ingredients are not included in natural aromatherapy. It is important to note that perfume oils also known as fragrance oils (and usually listed as “fragrance” on an ingredient label) are not the same as essential oils. Fragrance oils and perfume oils contain synthetic chemicals and do not provide the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
What are Essential Oils?
An essential oil is a liquid that is generally distilled (most frequently by steam or water) from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other elements of a plant. Essential oils contain the true essence of the plant it was derived from. Essential oils are highly concentrated and a little goes a long way.
The chemical composition and aroma of essential oils can provide valuable psychological and physical therapeutic benefits. These benefits are usually achieved through methods including inhalation and application of the diluted oil to the skin.
Essential oils are often used by diluting them with a carrier oil (such as jojoba oil) and then applying this blend to the skin for absorption. Careful inhalation of the oils can also provide therapeutic benefit as the oil molecules enter the lungs and are absorbed into the bloodstream.
The oils available at our store very greatly in price. Various factors that can affect the price of the oil include the rarity of the plant, the country the plant was grown in, and how much oil is produced by the plant. However, the quality of the oils we sell is impecable. This also affects the price of the oils, since more is needed to verify that quality. For this reason, essential oils are sold for individual use in small bottles, usually 2, 5, or 10 millileters (mL). Larger bottles may be available by special order.
Essential oils can be purchased as blends of several essential oils. Essential oils can be blended together to create appealing and complex aromas. Essential oils can also be blended for a specific therapeutic application. Essential oils that are carefully blended with a specific therapeutic purpose in mind may be referred to as an essential oil syngery. A synergistic essential oil blend is considered to be greater in total action than each oil working independently.
The advantage of a blend of pure essential oils is that you can save from having to buy every essential oil individually. Some people, as they gain experience with using essential oils, prefer to buy individual oils so they can mix it themselves.
The Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils that are inhaled offer both psychological and physical benefits. Not only does the aroma of the natural essential oil stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction, but when inhaled into the lungs, the natural constituents (naturally occurring chemicals) can provide physical therapeutic benefit. For example, diffusing eucalyptus essential oil can help ease congestion.
Many oils can be applied topically as well. In this way, a specific area can be affected, and you will have the aroma benefits as well. Many oils should only be applied topically using a carrier oil. A good example is of applying Tei-Fu essential oil blend to the temples, which can relieve headaches.
In addition to therapeutic benefit at the emotional and physical level, essential oils are helpful in other applications. Essential oils can be used in household and laundry cleaners. Many essential oils are antiseptic and help cleanse and disinfect surfaces. Adding essential oils to other natural cleansers, such as Nature’s Fresh enzyme spray, or Nature’s Concentrate soap help those products work and smell even better.
Many oils also act as a natural insect repellent and pesticide. You may have used candles made with citronella, an essential oil, during the summer to keep mosquitoes away.
A Note on Safety and Effacy.
Although most oils are generally safe, it is important to know how to use each essential oil. Some oils should not be applied topically unless diluted, should not be used in the bath, or should not be applied prior to sun exposure. We can help you to know how to use each individual oil or blend.
The use of the words “aromatherapy” and “natural” are unregulated on product packaging, labeling or in product advertising, so any product can be marketed as such. But don’t let false marketing hype scare you away from the benefits of truely holistic aromatherapy. At Natural Alternatives Herb Shop, we only provide products that have been laboratory tested for purity. So you can be secure knowing our products are safe and effective.
Call or visit us, and we can help you to learn how to safely use essential oils and start gaining the benefits of aromatherapy. If you realize you are interested, you can learn to make your own products and control the exact ingredients included in your own personal products, from bath salts to bath tub cleanser!