• What Is Aromatherapy?
• What Are Essential Oils?
• Why Are They A Healing Modality?
• How Can You Use Them In Your Life?
Find Out More About Scentsitive Healing.
Aromatherapy: Topic Quote
At twenty, Mary Lee Patton suffered an accident that severely burned her face, neck, chest, and arms, adding 20 years to her appearance. Her doctors expected her to be scarred for life.
Convinced there was something she could do, Mary Lee turned to her nature-conscious upbringing for answers.
She healed her burns completely using essential oil therapy.
From Mary Lee’s Natural Health & Beauty
Essential oils extracted from plants are the basis of aromatherapy. These oils are used to treat a variety of common ailments.
Hale Clinic founder Teresa Hale reports many successful applications.1
Among these are the treatment of flu, colds, asthma, bronchitis, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, migraines, depression, menopausal and menstrual complaints, infertility, neck and back pain, rheumatic disorders, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, and skin conditions.
Additional beneficial uses include treatment of both bacterial and viral infections, such as respiratory tract problems and herpes flare-ups.
Whether we know it or not, most of us have used aromatherapy in some form.
Among the possibilities are the use of eucalyptus oil in a chest rub; oil of clove for a toothache (or diluted for the gums of teething babies); peppermint oil for stomach discomfort; or perhaps the use of a flower scent, like jasmine, for an uplift.
1 This well known London-based clinic bills itself as Europe’s largest complementary health clinic.
Aromatherapy: Essential Oils
An essential oil is the essence of the plant from which it is extracted. Worldwide, only about 700 plants are considered to be aromatic. At this time, some 400 are used therapeutically.
Although chemically defined as oils, essential oils do not contain any of the fatty acids found in food oils.
No two essential oils are alike. Each has its unique aroma and therapeutic properties.
Their subtle, volatile liquids are taken from flowers and blossoms, fruits, rinds and peels, leaves, stems, seeds, roots, wood, bark, balsams, and resins of plants.
Very concentrated, the oils are often 50-100 times more potent than the original plant material.
Some consider the name aromatherapy misleading. This is because aroma is not their only therapeutic effect.
Although the therapeutic action of essential oils is not understood, it is possible that the benefits are due to their particular pharmacological properties in combination with their small molecular size.
They are unique in being among the few therapeutic agents to pass easily through the skin or the membranes of the nasal passages, penetrating the body’s tissues.2
When an oil is applied to the feet, it can travel throughout the body and affect every cell, including the hair, within 20 minutes.
Further, the effects of one application may last as long as five months. The oils don’t build up in the body and are metabolized like other cell nutrients.
Aromatherapy is not aromacology. This term is applied solely to the study of the mood-enhancing properties of many kinds of fragrances. Research does not include therapeutic aspects.
Essential Oils: Application Methods
There are diverse methods for using essential oils.
The English approach to aromatherapy is most familiar to us. There, its use is limited to various forms of inhalation, (including diffusion) and penetration by application to the skin.
In France, aromatherapy is a recognized healing modality.3 The French approach encompasses inhalation and skin penetration, plus mucous membrane penetration and ingestion.
Practiced by many doctors, these practitioners use essential oils as replacements for antibiotics and to treat “virtually every form of disease, especially infectious ones”.
Pharmacies sell essential oils and people receive reimbursements from their health insurance for aromatherapy treatments.
Essential Oils: Application Methods Footnote 3
In the early 1920s, Rene-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist, discovered the healing properties of lavender oil when he applied it to a burn on his hand caused by an explosion in his lab.
He began to analyze the chemical properties of essential oils and eventually founded the science of aromatherapy.
The Science Behind Aromatherapy
The human sense of smell is very keen. In fact, smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than the sense of taste.
The membranes lining the nose are very tiny. They contain about 800 million nerve endings for processing and detecting odors. Response to an aroma can happen in 1-3 seconds.
Eventually all odors are carried by the olfactory (smell) system to the limbic system. The limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance.
It follows that smell may be one of the fastest ways to achieve physiological and/or psychological effects.
Beyond Sense Of Smell
As mentioned, aroma is not all there is to aromatherapy. Essential oils contain trace elements of nutrients, hormones, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.
The correlation has been made that essential oils are to plants what our blood is to us. In 1994, essential oils were found to cross the blood brain barrier, increasing oxygen around the pineal and pituitary glands.
In addition, essential oils have incredible properties. They are antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic. They are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and analgesic (pain relieving). They have immune-stimulating power.
They also contain oxygenating molecules which transport the nutrients to the cells of the body. Whether they are inhaled or used topically, they have the ability to penetrate the cell wall and transport oxygen and nutrients inside the cell.
Further, they are natural detoxifying agents. Bonding with toxic metals and other chemicals, they carry them out of the body, working as natural chelators.
Not How Often You Apply Essential Oils
Beyond their mentioned properties,, essential oils have very high frequencies. Frequency is a measurable rate of electrical energy flow that is constant between any two points. Everything has an electrical frequency.
Essential oils contain frequencies that are several times greater than those of herbs and foods. Food seems to range from 0 hertz (canned) to 15 Hz; dry herbs, 12-22 Hz; fresh, 20-27 Hz. Healthy humans typically have frequencies ranging from 62-78 Hz while disease begins when frequency drops to 58 Hz.
Essential oils start at 52 Hz and go as high as 320 Hz (the frequency of rose oil). Raising our frequency increases our sense of well-being and helps us to heal.
Perhaps it is the ability of the oils to cross the blood brain barrier combined with their heightened frequency that makes it possible for them to affect our brain waves.
Studies by aromatherapy researchers show that oils such as orange, jasmine, and rose alter brain waves into a rhythm that produces calmness and a sense of well-being while “stimulating” oils, such as basil, black pepper, rosemary, and cardamom, produce a heightened energy response.
How To Use Essential Oils
I could not have thought that an oil applied to the bottom of the feet could travel to the neck and reduce pain by 70 percent within one minute. As I saw this happen over and over, I started to realize that there had to be other aspects and elements in the oils that had to be researched. — D. Gary Young, ND4
Essential oils can be used separately or in blends. Blends produce a synergistic effect. Each botanical enhances the positive effects of the others in the mixture.
While some experts discourage laypersons from making their own therapeutic blends (some oils can neutralize the effects of others),there are many professional recipes for blends available. A sampling appears in this issue.
How To Use Essential Oils
Founder of Young Living Essential Oils.
How To Use Essential Oils
Basic Applications Explained
The basic methods of using essential oils are inhalation, skin penetration, and diffusion.5
The methods overlap. For example, because all essential oils are aromatic, some effects of inhalation are a part of any therapeutic application.
Also, because of their profound effect on the central nervous system, when they are used, stress and stress-related health problems are being addressed albeit indirectly.
INHALATION – Basic inhalation is the old basin-of-hot-water-towel-over-the-head-and-breathe thing. Just add the essential oil/s you want to use. All recipes, particularly skin blends, can be used this way.
A less effective but more mobile method is putting single scents or blends on a cotton ball to sniff.
SKIN PENETRATION – Just massaging (or rubbing) an essential oil on the feet is very effective – and simple. However, bathing delivers essential oils through skin penetration and inhalation.
Use the oil or the blend by first mixing it with an emulsifier so that it disperses into the bath water. Emulsifiers include milk, alcohol, liquid soap, and glycerin.
Use about a tablespoon of emulsifier and 5-15 drops of essential oil/s, Add just before bathing so the aroma doesn’t evaporate too quickly. Keep water around body temperature and never higher than 105°.
DIFFUSION – This method makes inhalation possible over a large area by vaporizing the essential oils and dispersing them into the air.
A diffusor can be put on a timer so that you can awake or fall asleep to the fragrance of your choice.
A 1995 study in Lancet showed that geriatric patients slept longer and more soundly when lavender essential oil was diffused into their rooms. Japanese studies show that lemon increases attentiveness.
Diffusing releases oxygenating molecules with all their beneficial properties into the air, including negative ions which kill bacteria.
English hospitals use a variety of vaporized essential oils (including lemon, lavender, and lemon grass) to help combat the transmission of airborne infectious diseases.
Essential oils also remove dust particles from the air, making an effective air filtration system.
Diffusers can be costly. Lamp rings, heaters, candles, stove top potpourris, and little aroma fans also disperse scent. However, don’t count on them to purify your air.
Basic Applications Explained
As mentioned, in France, ingestion is also used. Quality of oil and knowledge are extremely important to this method. We concur with the sources used for this edition of Nutrition News and strongly advise against lay use of this method.
The following recipes can be used by any of the methods discussed, including simply rubbing them on your feet.
For massage, dilute the ingredients, using a vegetable oil carrier. Carriers include olive, coconut, sweet almond, avocado, macadamia, or any other quality vegetable oil.
The basic recipe is 6-9 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of oil carrier.
FYI: Any particularly strong oil, such as clove or oregano, can burn the tissues if not diluted with a carrier oil.
Common Bacterial Infections
As microbe-fighting agents, essential oils do not have the negative side effects of conventional antibiotics.6
Essential oils bolster the immune system without destroying beneficial intestinal bacteria, a loss which can lead to secondary infections.
1. Colds & Flu: Use Eucalyptus radiata or E. Australiana, (eucalyptus oils come from different kinds of eucalyptus trees).
2. Bronchial conditions: A blend of clove, cinnamon, melissa, and lavender is a powerful antibacterial and has proven to be as effective as antibiotics.
These are potent oils and should be diluted for use or used as an inhalant.
3. Sore throats and laryngitis: Sandalwood oil is a traditional Indian remedy for.this complaint.
(Recently, I rid myself of a sore throat, using very small amounts of high quality sandalwood oil neat. I put a drop on the bottom of each foot and massaged several drops onto my neck and throat, morning and night. The soreness lessened immediately, and cleared up completely in about a week. ~ Siri)
4. Herpes virus: Several European aromatherapists have succeeded in treating herpes.
The following remedies have been used:
a) A one time only application of true rose or true melissa;
b) a blend of lemon and geranium;
c) Eucalyptus radiata and bergamot.
The oils are applied at the first sign of an outbreak, directly onto the lesions. If the drying causes discomfort, dilute the oil(s) in a carrier.
Lesions reportedly dry completely within 1-2 days, and complete remission occurs in 3-5.
Well-known aromatherapist Kurt Schnaubelt, ND, reports that after treating herpes in this way 3-4 times, it “typically stops recurring”.
Common Bacterial Infections Footnote 6
Side effects of antibiotics include kidney toxicity, anemia, lowered white cell count, and deafness.
1. Muscle soreness: Because of the effect of essential oils on the nervous system, muscle spasm and soreness can be relieved.
The oils are most effective when warmed gently before applying or apply after bathing.
1 oz. (2T) carrier + 8 drops rosemary,
8 drops juniper, & 6 drops lavender
2. Arthritis: Because of their strong anti-inflammatory action, the application of everlast and Eucalyptus radiata is very helpful
These oils are reputed to relieve pain within moments.
1. Anxiety: We’re talking anxiety, not stress. Inhaling rose or jasmine right from the bottle is good. Or make this blend.
1 oz. (2T) carrier + 4 drops sandalwood, 6 drops neroli, 4 drops anglica, 4 drops marjoram, & 2 drops jasmine
2. Insomnia: The following can be put directly on a pillow. (Pure oils do not contain fatty acids.)
3 drops marjoram + 2 drops Roman chamomile, 2 drops lavender, & 2 drops ylang ylang
3. First Aid: Lavender for burns, bug bites or stings. Mix lavender with tangerine or mandarin to calm children.
“Your Basic 10 Care Kit”
In 1990, MacMillan London published Valerie Ann Worwood’s The Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy. It is subtitled “Over 600 Natural, Non-Toxic & Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, A Safe Home Environment”,
This classic remains one of the best selling books on the subject at amazon.com. If you want to be fully informed, this is your book.
Ms. Worwood’s tome includes complete charts of all essential oils and their uses, a resource guide, directions for aroma-massage, and an index.
To get started now, Chapter 2 presents Worwood’s choices for “the ten most versatile and useful essential oils for the average home medicine cabinet”.
Here are the 10 (in Worwood’s order) with their signature properties noted.
Lavender – Especially effective for burns and scalds (can be carried by aloe vera). Stimulates wound healing.
Tea Tree – Powerful antiseptic Useful against candida, ringworm, and athlete’s foot.
Peppermint – Excellent digestive, fights flatulence and bad breath.
Chamomile – Indispensable for mothers. Use for teething. Add to bath water to ease nerves and “tetchiness” (yours too).
Eucalyptus – Antiviral, antibacterial and works as an expectorant, helping to loosen mucus.
Geranium – “Works profoundly on the emotions… has many applications from frostbite to infertility”.
Rosemary – Excellent in the treatment of all muscular conditions; also memory loss and migraines.
Thyme – Never apply to skin undiluted and do not overuse. Has powerful antiviral activity. Use in diffuser when flu is going around.
Lemon – Water purifier; actions on the lymph system and digestive system; good in blends.
Clove – Never apply undiluted. Toothache; also digestive problems and muscular disorders.
Other Books Of Interest
Kurt Schnaubelt, ND. (2011) The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy. Good explanations of mechanisms.
PJ Pierson. (2007) Aromatherapy For Everyone. Perfect starter book, 140pp.
Mary Lee Patton. (2001) Mary Lee’s Natural Health & Beauty. Featured quote on cover.
Watch Your $$$ & Scents!
The first rule is to look for the words “essential oil” on the package, not fragrance, essence or extract.
Secondly, buy only oils packaged in tinted glass. Sunlight degrades the activity of the oils, and plastic containers can interact with them.
One test for purity is done by placing a drop of oil on a piece of paper. Pure essential oil will dry without a trace. An oily residue means the essential oil has been diluted.
Well-stoppered and stored in a cool place, they will keep their potency for years.
The price for a true essential oil varies based on how the plant was grown and harvested; the part of the plant used; availability of raw material; the amount necessary to yield the oil; and the energy to extract it.
For example, one-half ounce of melissa costs upward of $300 while peppermint oil is only about six dollars.
Rose otto (or Turkish rose) is the most expensive of all oils. About 2000 pounds of rose petals are needed to yield just one pound of this rose oil.
Siri Says ~
You can’t fool Mother Nature.
In the late 80s, at Yale University, Gary Schwartz, PhD, found that although the conscious mind can’t distinguish between two fragrances that differ by only one molecule in their chemical structure, they stimulate different brainwave patterns.
Don’t be taken in by synthetics. They may smell fine, but they won’t heal.