What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy. That’s just smelling things right?

This is a question I get asked on quite a frequent basis and if you want to keep things simple then yes, aromatherapy is partly about smell and the use of essential oils. But the truth is that aromatherapy is so much more than just a nice smell.

At some point, most of us have experienced the power of aromatherapy, whether we are aware of it or not.
A certain smell might trigger a memory that could date back to childhood and we then often experience an emotional response. This known as the limbic system – the part of the brain that deals with emotion, memories, hormones and more. (If you want to read more about the limbic system, the following article gives more detail: http://www.quinessence.com/blog/the-limbic-system)

The use of aromatherapy dates back centuries to the earliest civilisations and there is plenty of evidence that the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians used essential oils for all manner of things from religious ceremonies to bathing and medicinal use; as an antiseptic, for example.

Modern aromatherapy, whilst still encouraging these time-old uses, has developed aromatherapy much further; both through combining it with the use of massage and through scientific research into essential oils.

Made from plants, trees, flowers and herbs world wide, each essential oil has specific properties and benefits that can enhance physical and emotional well-being. Basil, for example, is widely used in cooking but the essential oil can also be useful in aiding digestive problems and can encourage clarity. Jasmine, not only smells divine but can be helpful during labour and when combined with the appropriate oil or cream,   works incredibly well for skincare. Lemon is useful in dealing with bacteria and aiding with recovery from colds or flu. The number of essential oils available goes into the hundreds and list of their benefits and properties goes on and on.

These days, aromatherapy is widely associated with massage, whether through a specific technique or in combination with deep tissue work. There are oils and blends to benefit you in myriad ways from boosting your immune system to helping you get a good nights sleep. A good therapist will be able to tailor the massage, and the oils, to suit your needs at that time. But if massage doesn’t suit you, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy essential oils and their benefits:

  • using them with a diffuser
  • inhaling them from a tissue
  • using them in a bath / shower
  • applying them topically to an area of the body

Do remember, essential oils are powerful things so  please do seek advice from a qualified aromatherapist to make sure you use oils appropriate for you and in a safe way.

For more information on what conditions aromatherapy may be useful for or to ask how aromatherapy may benefit you, get in touch with me via the contact form email me: nerys@sheertherapy.co.uk

 

Posted in aromatherapy, Essential oils, Massage.