If last Tuesday was all about sound, this Tuesday is all about smell- we are moving forward with our sensory trajectory. Through our senses we form perceptions and through our perceptions we build beliefs. Beliefs grow deeply into the ground just like Oak roots do, forming branch by branch just like beliefs construct our personality layer by layer…personality in turn paints our mood just like an artist strikes the brush on a white canvas. Can you guess where am I going with this argument?
Since our personality is maturing by now, moods are already established and automatic. As different situations trigger different moods and smell being one of the five tools we experience perceptions with, certain aromas awaken certain moods. Acknowledging this revelation an entire science is build around Aromas and their power to heal both body and mind. In France, aromas have evolved into a clinical branch where they are tested against and used for treating different types of pathogens. Antiseptic qualities of essential oils such as Tea Tree, Rosemary, Thyme and Eucalyptus are recognized worldwide.
Aromatherapy is not only the fastest growing alternative medicine but also the oldest; archeological documentation shows traces of aromatic oils used for both spiritual and medicinal purposes ever since civilizations settled in Mesopotamia. Even today Aromatherapy’s approach to healing is holistic, treating both moods and diseases.
Aromatic oils essentially are chemical compounds released through a process of oil extraction. There are four extraction methods, each depending on the plant in question. The beneficial chemicals are called oxygenated compounds and their function is dual: to provide the oil’s distinctive smell and its healing property. Beneficial chemicals are in turn absorbed through inhalation (the quickest method), skin application and consumption. Once the essential oil is applied to the skin, enzymes transport the beneficial oils through the pores and into the circulatory system- hence when using a healing oil during a massage you need to allow the body 30 min to 12 hours to absorb the oil. If you desire to consume oils internally make sure you consult with your practitioner first as some essential oils are toxic.
Methods of application are many and varied, depending on whether you desire to use essential oils for relaxation and mood enhancement or to treat a specific medical problem. Massages, baths, sprays or room burners are ideal for treating stress, stimulating energy or elevating room ambience. Inhalers, steam rooms, compresses and mouthwashes are great for treating infections, skin problems, headaches and general aches. There are many essential oils to choose from, each treating a specific physical or psychological profile. If you are a beginner like me I suggest you to visit Neal’s Yard aromatherapy and talk to a specialist about your specific needs.
Making essential oils at home is also an option! It’s easy and economical- simply choose a plant for your oil and buy it in dry form (you can find most types in Neal’s Yard). Almond oil is a great base for mixing and fantastic if you desire to apply the oil onto your skin. For today I chose Chamomile because of its calming effect and Thyme because of its anti-septic qualities. I simply beat them in a stone bowl until oils started to release, added them to the almond oil and waited 24 hours (ideally you wait 48 hrs.) before passing the liquid through a muslin cloth, keeping just the oil and the released essences. See, easy! If you don’t want to go through the trouble or you are in a hurry just buy the ready (I recommend Aroma Health Texas for quality oils) made essential oil and dilute it in almond oil, hot water (for hot compress) or your bath and experience the loveliness of Aroma therapy.