Aromatherapy is the collective name given for the therapeutic application of aroma. Aroma has a subtle effect on the subconscious mind, ranging from mood enhancement to inducing memory! As an example, when you smell Lemongrass you may suddenly remember the time you played with some friends in a field somewhere in your childhood. Furthermore, these aromatic compounds are pharmacological, meaning they exert a biochemical or physiological effect in cells, tissues, organs and organisms.

Essential Oils are by far the most commonly used ingredient in Aromatherapy. Essential oils, also known as the “Essences of plants” are oily aromatic liquids obtained from specific species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, roots and trees. The aroma results from the volatile nature of these oils, meaning the boiling temperature of these components are low and that they easily evaporate into the air in normal conditions. The rate of evaporation can be increased by applying heat to these oils.

The usual way of taking chemical medicines; orally, is the least effective method of taking essential oils because it involves passing through the digestive system where it comes into contact with harsh chemical environments such as the stomach and bacteria which alter the chemical composition of the oil. This renders the effects of the Essential Oil less potent or in most cases, null. Essential oils are instead applied through the skin through a variety of methods. These methods of application of Essential oils are collectively termed Aromatherapy, and as the name suggests, involves the use of aroma’s for therapeutic application.

Aromatherapy Methods Guideline

There are countless methods to apply Essential Oils, the most common methods being;

  • Atomizers, Diffusers, Burners – Evaporates the oils directly into the atmosphere where the aroma will fill the room or living space.
  • Bath and Massage Oils – Essential Oils diluted into a carrier oil that can be applied into the bath or be massaged into the body directly.
  • Creams and Lotions – Essential Oils diluted into a cream or lotion base that can be applied onto the body directly.

Other less commonly used methods may include;

  • Hand/Foot Bath – Essential Oils are added into a tub filled with warm water and hands/feet are soaked for several minutes. (Similar to bath oil method with focus on hands or feet. This method is suggested for a serious treatment of Athletes Foot)
  • Room/Linen Sprays – Essential Oils are diluted into alcohol (Vodka works for this) and added into a spray bottle. The mixture can then be sprayed as and where desired. (Great method for spraying linen and curtains or getting rid of odours).
  • Candles – A few drops of Essential Oils are added at the base of the candle flame that will help the aroma evaporate. (Similar to Atomizer, Diffuser and Burners – albeit works less efficiently as the Essential Oils are burned up easily through direct contact with the flame).
  • Warm Water Bowl – A few drops of Essential Oils are added into a water bowl with warm water. The aroma is then inhaled for a few minutes. (This method works well for severe cases of sinusitis and bronchitis where Eucalyptus Oil can work its wonders).

Notes about the Safe Use of Essential Oils

Essential oils are known to cause hyper-sensitization issues such as allergies, rashes, palpitations and itchiness as people tend to over apply the oils with the view that higher dosages work more effectively. This is certainly not the case and the effectiveness of these oils should not be underestimated! For this reason, essential oils should be diluted into carrier base oils to prevent such issues from occurring. It also important to note that no claim is made that the use of Aromatherapy oils will provide any permanent cure to any ailment or disease. Remember that aromatherapy is meant to be a complementary therapy. It’s not meant to replace any doctor-approved treatment plan. If any negative side effects do occur when using Essential Oils, the use thereof should be terminated immediately. Always talk to your doctor before starting any aromatherapy treatment.