What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the systematic use of volatile plant oils known as essential for the treatment or prevention of disease. It is a form of complementary therapy designed to treat the whole person and not just the symptom or disease by assisting the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being.
Essential oils, the pure essence of a plant, have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefits when used correctly and safely. The Essential Oil Profiles area details over 90 essential oils. Absolutes, CO2s and Hydrosols are also commonly utilized in aromatherapy. Although essential oils, CO2 extracts and absolutes are distilled by different methods, the term essential oil is sometimes used as a blanket term to include all natural, aromatic, volatile, plant oils including CO2s and absolutes.

Essential oils consist of tiny aromatic molecules that are readily absorbed via the skin, and whilst breathing they enter the lungs. These therapeutic constituents next enter the bloodstream and are carried around the body where they can deliver their beneficial healing powers. Because they are highly concentrated, only a small quantity of essential oil is required to bring about results.
When using good quality essential oils correctly, the soothing combination of beautiful aromas, massage, aromatic baths and other treatments all work to regulate, balance, heal and maintain your entire being by working with nature, and not against it. A far cry from allopathic medicine, which tends to take a ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ approach.

Modes of application
The modes of application of aromatherapy include:
Aerial diffusion:  For environmental fragrance or aerial disinfection
Direct inhalation:  For respiratory disinfection, decongestant, expectoration as well as psychological effects
Topical applications:  For general massage, baths, compresses, therapeutic skin care

Some of the materials employed include:
Essential oils: Fragrant oils extracted from plants chiefly through steam distillationor expression. However, the term is also occasionally used to describe fragrant oils extracted from plant material by any solvent extraction. This material includes incense reed diffusers.
Absolutes: Fragrant oils extracted primarily from flowers or delicate plant tissues through solvent or supercritical fluid extraction (e.g., rose absolute).
Carrier oils:  Typically oily plant base triacylglycerides that dilute essential oils for use on the skin.
Herbal distillates or hydrosols: The aqueous by-products of the distillation process (e.g., rosewater). Common herbal distillates are chamomile, rose, and lemon balm.
Infusions:  Aqueous extracts of various plant
Phytoncides: Various volatile organic compounds from plants that kill microbes.Many terpene-based fragrant oils and sulphuric compounds from plants in the genus “Allium” are phytoncides, though the latter are likely less commonly used in aromatherapy due to their disagreeable odours.
Aroma lamp or diffuser:  An electric or candle-fueled device which volatilizes essential oils, usually mixed with water.
Vaporizer:  Typically higher oil content plant based materials dried, crushed, and heated to extract and inhale the aromatic oil vapours in a direct inhalation modality.