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What is Aromatherapy? | Your 9 questions answered

Posted by Charlotte Nutland on
What is Aromatherapy? | Your 9 questions answered

Your 9 questions answered

1. Why we adore Aromatherapy? 

Aromatherapy is a holistic therapy that uses essential oils (extracts from plants) to promote good heath and a sense of balanced wellbeing.

Holistic Aromatherapy treats the whole person and focuses on wellbeing and the enjoyment of life in a system of self- responsibility. This means that the more we proactively take care of our body and minds, we listen, feel Intune and make space for ourselves the more connected and balanced we will feel. Yes! That means less mood swings, anxious patches, troubled sleep and energy slumps. 

2. Where has Aromatherapy come from? 

Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to promote wellbeing and is returning to popularity as we all seek ways to manage stress and anxiety. For hundreds and even thousands of years, essential oils have been used in traditional remedies, and religious ceremonies and enjoyed for their aromas and impact on feelings of wellness and pleasure. 

3. What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy, or essential oil therapy, is the art and science of using essential oils for therapeutic uses. Through the use of essential oils, is where we can truly connect the body with the mind and spirit. 

4. Is there any Science behind it? 

Yes and a growing body of scientific research and papers corroborating what we've known for hundreds of years that these tiny bottles of plant extracts can have very profound effects on our feelings of wellbeing. 

5. So what is an Essential Oil? 

In short, essential oils are highly concentrated liquids extracted through distillation or manual methods like cold pressing. Essential oils are plant essences that can be used in multiple ways to boost health and wellness. 

Essential oils are the oil form extracted from plants, fruits, barks, herbs, and leaves -  the natural chemicals that give the plant its “essence”, its specific odour and scent. They're often described as the DNA of the plant. 

6. How do you get the essential oil out of the plant? 

By steaming or pressing the parts of a plant to capture the compounds that produce natural fragrance.

7. How does it work on my brain and mood?

Essential oils work on the limbic part of the brain - the part of the brain that's responsible for our primary responses, like memory, your fight or flight response and sensuality. 

When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and are thought to impact the amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain. 

Studies have shown that essential oils are absorbed by smell receptors in your nose that are linked to the limbic system – the part of the brain controlling our emotional responses. This, in turn, can impact heart rate, blood pressure and the nervous system.

8. Do fragrance oils work in the same way? 

No. Be careful to choose brands that are 100% pure essential oils. It has to be emphasised that synthetic oils do not have any of the therapeutic qualities of an essential oil. 

9. How can I benefit from Essential Oils and Aromatherapy? 

When you smell an essential oil you really reap the mind-body benefits. The best way to find your perfect oil is to think about how you currently feel and which mood and mindset you'd like to shift. In addition, use your nose as a guide to which scents and smells you're drawn too. This can be a great help.

 

 

Abit more detail

Your Olfactory System based within your brain needs only a few molecules of something to powerfully recreate memories and associations. You know the smell of someone's perfume, popcorn in the pan, an old book? You're quickly taken to a place of comforting nostalgia. 

Smell is the strongest of our senses and with the right aromas it can influence both brain activity and learning.

The effect of smell alone has a powerful influence on the central nervous system. Evoking emotions, counteracting stress and influencing mood. 

The Brain and Olfaction

Inhaling essential oils stimulates the olfactory system, the part of the brain connected to smell and when aroma molecules reach the brain they affect the limbic system linked to emotions, heart rate, breathing, memory and learning.

Inhaling essential oils activates the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that sends messages to other parts of the body. The inhalation of an essential oil aroma can cause many changes in the body including activating the immune system, lowering stress levels and blood pressure and calming the central nervous system.

You will notice how when you breath in a scent such as Lavender how quickly this evokes a memory and reminds you of something; often sleep. Lavender is getting to work evoking memory which has one impact on the brain and also its supporting a hormonal response to calm and relax you. 

 

 ''Why natural oils?' Why not anything that smells nice whether it is natural or synthetic? The answer is simply that synthetic or inorganic substances do not contain any 'life force' they are not dynamic.'' Robert Tisserand. 

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