What Is It?
How Does It Work?
What Happens During Treatment?
What Is It Used For?
What Is It?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils extracted from
plants to improve health and treat common ailments. The aromatic essences
are believed to contain medicinal properties and are used in massage,
steam inhalations, compresses, or added to bath water.
The use of aromatic oils to treat illness has been practised for thousands
of years, but the term “aromatherapy” was coined in the
1920’s by the French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse who used
it to treat soldiers wounded during World War I. Gattefosse classified
essential oils according to their "healing" properties: antitoxic,
antiseptic, tonifying, stimulating, calming, etc. The modern concept
of using aromatherapy as a holistic therapy was developed by Austrian
biochemist Margaret Maury during the 1950s.
Aromatherapists use up to 130 oils which can invigorate and uplift
the mind and body, or soothe and relax, reducing stress and promoting
How Does It
Aromatherapy is believed to use the mechanisms of olfaction (the smelling
of aromas), the absorption of aromas through the skin, and the influence
of aromas on the brain. Proponents suggest that when the aromas from
essential oils enter the nasal cavity, they stimulate odour-sensing
nerve cells which send impulses to the limbic system, the part of the
brain associated with memory and emotion. Depending on the type of
scent used, emotional responses can exert a calming or energising effect
on the body. Some suggest that certain aromas may stimulate the adrenal
glands to produce steroid-like hormones that reduce pain and inflammation.
Oils inhaled or rubbed onto the skin may react with hormones and enzymes
in the bloodstream to produce healing effects. Aromatherapy may also
work by evoking pleasant memories, such as a grandmother’s lavender-scented
What Happens During
Aromatherapists use only the purest, most highly concentrated essential
oils extracted from various herbs, trees and other plants. Your therapist
will ask about your general health and reasons for seeking treatment.
Certain oils will then be selected and mixed according to your specific
requirements. Aromatherapy is often used as a home remedy, as essential
oils are easy to obtain and use. Aromatherapy can be applied in a number
• massage to soothe the muscles - oils are mixed with a “carrier
oil” such as sweet almond oil
• steam inhalations for respiratory problems
• diffusion sprays to calm the nerves
• adding a few drops of essential oil to a bath for relaxation
• hot or cold compresses for bruises or to soothe aches and pains
• applied to pillows for a restful sleep
• heating oil in an oil burner
What Is It Used
Aromatherapy has been used to relieve stress, anxiety and insomnia,
to ease the pain of arthritis, and to treat cuts, bruises, colds, headaches,
nausea, digestive problems, aching muscles and many other ailments.
Aromatherapy should be seen as a complementary therapy and not a replacement
for traditional medical treatments.
Aromatherapy oils should never be taken internally. They are very potent
and some may be poisonous if swallowed.
Some oils can trigger bronchial spasms in asthmatics - consult your
doctor before using any aromatherapy treatment.
Test for allergic reactions by mixing one drop of essential oil with
a few drops of vegetable oil and dabbing this on your skin. Wait 24
hours to see if any reaction occurs.
Certain essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy, including
sage, rosemary, juniper, basil and thyme. These can induce miscarriage
if used in excessive amounts.
an Aromatherapy Practitioner
Prices are in US Dollars
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential
Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy
and Herbalism (Illustrated Encyclopedia S.)
This book contains a wealth of information about 165 essential
oils. It is a wonderful reference guide for the begining
as well as the experienced aromatherapist. Detailed information
about each oil includes; botanical name, safety data, current & historical
uses, blending companions, method of extraction, uses for
common ailmants, main chemical constituants, and photographs
pf the plant. There are also narrative sections on the historiacal
roots of aroatherapy,blending, perfumery, and an explination
of chemical constituants. This book is concise, comprehensive
, and gives information on more than just the most common
- Jason D Florin, reviewer.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
Valerie Ann Worwood
There are plenty of good books on herbs, and some of them
devote a chapter to essential oils, but there's nothing comparable
to Worwood's work. Her premise is different from other herbalists--she
believes that the most effective way to use herbs medicinally
is by external application or inhalation. Both methods allow
the essential oil to enter the bloodstream without passing
through the digestive tract. Her book prescribes oils for
everything from basic first aid and treating common ailments
to natural cosmetics and body care, fragrance for the home
and office, and cooking with essential oils. A good addition
to alternative medicine collections.
- Katharine Galloway Garstka, Intergraph Corp., Huntsville,
The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality,
Mind, Mood, and Emotion
Valerie Ann Worwood
This encyclopedia of aromatherapy presents the latest scientific
research about aroma's effects on the mind and body. This
title goes beyond listing aromas for specific ailments: it
tells how to mix oils for massage, how to understand herbal
mood enhancers, and how to review the information on aromatherapy
and personality. An essential handbook.
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