Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul." Robert Tisserand
Whenever I smell pipe smoke, it immediately sparks memories of my Grandpa Gus. My grandpa was a cigarette smoker; he had a heart attack when I was about 12 or 13 years old. His doctor told him he had to give up cigarettes, (which he actually never completely did), so he began smoking a pipe. His tobacco of choice was a cherry-vanilla blend that smelled heavenly. Once memories are triggered, emotions are triggered. I feel at once full of love and joy, followed quickly by a feeling of sadness and loss.
The science of smell is called osmology, from the Greek word osme, which translates to smell. Studies have proven that we as humans can differentiate approximately 3000 different smells, and our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than our sense of taste. Imagine.
Our sense of smell is one of our greatest tools for survival. If you are in a deep sleep, your sense of smell will alert you to the fact that your house is on fire by recognizing the smell of smoke. If you’re about to eat or drink something that has soiled, your nose will alert you and save you from at the very least, an unpleasant few hours.
Most of us, whether aware of it or not, use Aromatherapy in our everyday life in a number of ways. Burning fragrant candles or incense, using aroma diffusers, placing bowls of colorful potpourri around our homes. All of these lovely aromas serve to make us feel good. Who doesn’t like to walk into a room and be met with a pleasant fragrance?
Aromatherapy uses essential oils, made from a variety of plant material, including flowers, leaves, stems, bark, seeds, roots, and the peels of citrus fruit, and is based on the theory that the inhalation of essential oils triggers the part of the brain that is connected to the sense of smell, the Olfactory system, which in turn sends a signal to the part of the brain that holds memory and controls emotions.
Essential oils are very versatile, and holistic, working on not only the emotions, but also the body and the mind. In the US, France, Canada, and a number of other western countries, Aromatherapy is integrated into mainstream medicine, used for their curative properties, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic.
Below is a short list of the most well-known and available essential oils and some of their recommended uses:
Aromatherapy can be used in several different ways, as massage oil, (a few drops of essential oil mixed in a carrier oil), a few drops on a diffuser, a few drops in a warm bath, or a few drops on a sachet. Massage therapists, chiropractors, esthecians, and many energy workers use essential oils with their clients/patients during treatments.
It’s important to note that essential oils should not be taken internally, or applied directly on the skin.