Most people are probably familiar with the word aromatherapy, but, what does it mean? Aromatherapy is the practice of using plant materials (essential oils) to improve overall wellbeing. The term is credited to René Gattefossé, a nineteenth century French chemist and perfumist who studied essential oils.
Aromatherapy works with the body in these ways:
Any of the essential oils can be used aromatically, and there are great benefits to using them this way. Numerous studies have investigated the effect of aroma on reducing anxious feelings, alleviating stress, and improving mood.
Ways to use oils aromatically:
• Put a few drops in a diffuser. Most diffusers use water and are effective at dispersing the oil into the air in a fine mist. The Aroma-Ace diffuser is waterless and distributes the concentrated oil into the air for a stronger scent.
• Place a drop in diffuser jewelry. Some people make their own jewelry using lava beads, air drying clay, or terra-cotta clay. Aromatherapy diffuser jewelry is also available at gift stores and online.
• Add a few drops to the palms, rub together, and cup hands over the nose. Inhale deeply.
There are also many advantages to applying essential oils directly on the skin. Some oils can help with minor skin irritations or blemishes. Essential oils can be diluted for topical use to prevent a possible irritation, and especially strong oils such as cinnamon bark, oregano, or black pepper should always be diluted. Diluting essential oils reduces the concentration but increases the absorption rate of the oil into the skin.
Ways to use oils topically:
• Through the AromaTouch® Technique. This unique technique actually helps both through the skin and aromatically. The therapeutic power of touch has been proven by research and studies. Using positive physical touch and the combined scent of all eight oils in the technique, the AromaTouch Technique helps the receiver relax and go from overwhelmed to refreshed.
•Applying the oils with the AromaTouch technique has been shown to help enhance systemic benefits and increase feelings of overall health and well-being. The AromaTouch Technique uses 8 CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) essential oils to reduce and eliminate the impact of systemic constants on our overall health.
How AromaTouch Helps
Environmental factors can have a negative impact on overall health and well-being, disturbing homeostasis — the balance bodies need to function optimally. Such challenges, even when they do not immediately result in disease, cause our bodies to function below optimal levels. These include the following:
• Stress. Emotional distress, career choices, family discord, financial worries, and the like elevate stress levels. Clinical studies have linked high stress and chronic stress to numerous negative health conditions.
• Balance. Essential oils grounding blends create a sense of calm and well-being. They can aid in harmonizing the various physiological systems of the body and promote tranquility and a sense of balance. Lavender essential oil has been used for thousands of years for its calming and sedative powers.
• Toxic Insult. Exposure to a wide array of toxic insults, including disease-causing pathogens; hormone and pesticide contaminated food products; and increasing levels of free-radicals from pollution, foods, and cleaners, contributes to rises in the occurrence of varying illnesses.
• Melaleuca essential oil, most commonly known as "tea tree," is best known for its purifying properties.
• Inflammation. The increased consumption of food with pro-inflammatory components (foods high in polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn and peanut oil) together with high- carbohydrate, low-protein diets, contribute to increased inflammation in body systems. Stress, with its accompanying imbalance of cortisol, can also contribute to inflammation, as do various (and increasingly prevalent) immunological dysfunctions. Studies increasingly show links between fatal diseases and inflammation.
• AromaTouch essential oil blends combine the therapeutic benefits of oils that are known to relax muscles, clam tension, soothe tissues, increase circulation and smooth and tone.
• Autonomic Imbalance. The opposite of homeostasis, an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system (aka the ANS or visceral nervous system) can negatively impact health in a number of ways. Restoring the body's homeostasis can reduce the physiological impact of stressors on the body.
• Wild Orange essential oil has an aroma that is uplifting to both the body and the mind.
• Peppermint essential oil has invigorating and uplifting properties.
Summer Smith owns Yama Yoga Studio and Wellness Center in Canton where 35-40 minute AromaTouch sessions are available for $35. Learn more at yamayoga.net and call (903) 802-8599 to schedule an appointment.
The information provided in this article is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. Consult your healthcare provider if you have a medical concern.