Experience the Beauty of Aromatherapy Essential Oils
Date Posted:17 October 2011
The practice of aromatherapy is simply the use of fragrant oils in a therapeutic way. From adding lavender bath oil to your evening soak to lighting scented aromatherapy candles in your home, aromatherapy is used by millions of people all over the world on a daily basis. You may already be using aromatherapy without even realising it! There are no complex techniques to master; if you don't want to create your own oils you can purchase ready-made aromatherapy essential oils.
Aromatherapy has been utilized for thousands of years. The Egyptians used it for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. The Greeks soaked flowers and herbs in olive oil to absorb their scents. It was thanks to Arab scientists that aromatherapy was introduced to Europe, after they mastered the distilling process. By the 16th century, it was common for women to concoct their own remedies to use in the home. As science advanced, however, the practice of aromatherapy became less and less popular until the 20th century, when several French chemists focused on studying healing properties of essential aromatherapy oils. When one scientist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, stumbled upon the ability of lavender oil to heal a burn, he devoted his time and energy to researching the potential of essential aromatherapy oils in dermatology. It was Gattefosse who first used the term 'aromatherapy', publishing a book by the same name in 1937.
Things were a little different in the east; India and China remained loyal practitioners of aromatherapy. Ayurvedic physicians (vaidyas) used herbs, floral water and aromatherapy oil massage to treat members of the Indian royal family.
So what exactly are aromatherapy oils? They are the highly-concentrated essences of aromatic plants, which can be taken from any parts of the plant. Rose essential oil is derived from the plant's flowers, sandalwood essential oil from the wood, cinnamon essential oil from the bark, basil essential oil from the leaves, and orange essential oil from the fruits. Extracting the oil is a costly, skill and time-intensive process. Certain types of oils are more expensive than others; take the rose plant, for example. Around two thousand kilograms of rose petals are needed to produce 1 kg of essential oil. It is well worth the time, money and effort, however. Essential oils are extremely effective; you only need a few drops to reap the benefits.
According to Maharishi Ayurveda, aromatherapy can be used to great effect to prevent illness, restore good health, and promote mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It is often used to protect prana (the vital force), stabilise digestion and metabolism, and boost the immune system. Traditionally, Ayurvedic practitioners burned neem leaves to fumigate, added holy basil or rose petals to bath water, and burned incense sticks to aid meditation.
Therapeutic Uses of Essential Oils: Using your Senses
Sense of Smell: The vapours released by essential oils stimulate the olfactory nerve, the only nerve in the whole body to make contact with the environment and transmit the information directly to the brain. The sections of the brain that process emotions, desires, memories and appetites are connected to the body's limbic system, which is stimulated by the olfactory nerve. The endocrine glands are also stimulated; these control the body's hormone levels. This is why aromas have an incredibly powerful yet subtle effect on our minds and bodies. Many aromas are considered to help decrease stress levels, including vanilla, orange blossom, rose, chamomile and lavender. Anxiety may be eased by patchouli oil. Choose from a wide range of Maharishi Ayurveda aromatic blends to meet your exact needs. Whether you want to relax or be energised, these undiluted, pure essential oils are guaranteed to improve your mood and take you to a happier place.
Sense of Touch: Aromatherapy may be used as part of ayurvedic massage; your body and mind will benefit not only from the aromas you are inhaling, your skin will absorb the oils and the benefits will be delivered directly to your bloodstream. Try the Moisturising Vata , Soothing Pitta or Invigorating Kapha massage oils from Maharishi Ayurveda to balance dosha; these are also good to help your body (and mind) adapt to seasonal changes.
A quick, simple way to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy is an aromatic bath. Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to your warm bath water; the oil will vaporise immediately, and as soon as you slide into the water the particles will be delivered to your brain. The benefits of the aromas will be enhanced by the relaxing sensation of soaking in the warm water. Your muscles will relax and any stress or anxiety will be reduced.
Don't forget about your skin and hair when you are using aromatherapy. Instead of using products with synthetic aromas, choose the Maharishi Ayurveda range of natural soaps, creams and lotions, which only contain pure essential oils. Products include Revitalising Cream and Oil of Lakshmi which you can apply directly to your skin to tone it. There is no way that synthetic fragrances can benefit your skin in the same way that natural aromas do. In many cases, synthetic products can cause more harm than good, by triggering skin allergies and sensitivities.
Enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy, with a little help from Maharishi Ayurveda. Experience their powerful, yet gentle, effects and you will never want to stop using them. Experiment with many different aromas until you find the one that you feel the strongest connection with. Remember that essential oils should be used with care. In their pure, undiluted form, many essential oils are unsuitable for use during pregnancy. Never let undiluted essential oils come into direct contact with your skin, and remember, a little goes a long way!
- Essential Aromatherapy Oils Keep You Balanced All Year Long (getbalance.co.nz)
- Tips for Beauty and Aging from Maharishi Ayurveda (getbalance.co.nz)
- The Power of Ayurvedic Massage Oil (getbalance.co.nz)