Is Aromatherapy an Art or a Science?
Lately this debate is every where, should you use oils should you not, should you ever use them undiluted or should you ingest them? These questions plague the internet, blogs and my Facebook feed daily ;). One group says YES and one says NO, who's right? It is a tough question because in all honesty we are all, even the leaders and most educated in the aroma field, are evolving and growing in the craft just as any science based field. Just like medicine, mental health, the fitness industry and the nutrition field, always evolving. We learn more and more about the therapeutic properties of an oil and this changes the way we use it, we find a component once thought safe may not be it's called growing and when we learn more the better we can do.
Is Aromatherapy a Science or an Art?
To be honest Aromatherapy is BOTH an Art and a Science. There are basic "formulas" to be used and the science of knowing components that make up the oil and being able to use that to create our blends to reduce pain, anxiety or help someone suffering from depression. On the flip side of that it is also an Art, the beautiful aromas and harmony of bringing oils together to soothe, uplift and work through emotions is a wonderful thing. Aromatherapy has a rich and beautiful history where the information, recipes and knowledge was handed down and many things work even though they haven't been "proven" and others have been proven ineffective or dangerous. This is why I believe the marriage of science and art is so wonderful we can "play" and create beautiful aromas with these powerful tools and utilize science of them when we choose create something in a more clinical situation.
Using essential oils in a more clinical environment, trying to reduce pain or ingesting oils for a specific condition should be treated with respect and caution. Slugging them down any old time could cause serious erosion of the esophagus and the skin can have reactions to the oils so using caution is necessary. For ingestion I always recommend checking with an aromatherapist that is clinically trained and can help you with a protocol that is effective and safe. I do share many recipes on using oils topically that I feel have been modified to meet many needs without causing unnecessary risk or great potential for injury however, is important to remember that any oil could cause a reaction in someone so spot testing or using a very low dilution and adding if it is new to them is a good place to start.
What does that mean for you and me?
This is great news because we can use some basic precautions and effectively use oils in our homes and enjoy it! Don't let the fear keep you from trying essential oils and the lovely gifts they offer us as I mentioned use some basic precautions and go for it. For example:
- Dilution is always best, start low and add more if you need it. (Read more on Dilution)
- Aromatherapy is powerful, don't underestimate the power of inhalation of essential oils for many things such as pain, emotional well-being, congestion, etc. It often is tossed aside for topical and ingestion but inhalation is amazing and works so well in most cases, it also reduces the risk that comes with both topical and ingested use.
- On children or elderly folks low dilutions are best, like 1%, and some oils like Peppermint, Rosemary ct camphor, and Eucalyptus are not recommended in little kiddos faces.
- Read more on safety and usage by visiting here.
What are these oils?
Aromatic essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, wood and roots have long been a source of healing, aiding in relaxation, circulation and wound healing. However, the use of these medicinal oils declined as the modern pharmaceutical industry developed. In 1928, French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse revived the use of essential oils and developed the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from botanical to balance and harmonize the health of body, mind, and spirit. Gattefosse coined the practice aromatherapy.
Because of aromatherapy's affect on emotional health, many practitioners incorporate this noninvasive treatment into their practices. Dispensers or diffusers filled with Essential Oils may be used to scent the room, and specific essential oils may be used on the client's skin during massage. Because each oil has unique characteristics and benefits, the choice of oil or oils can be customized to the client's needs and emotional state. Whether inhaled or applied topically, aromatherapy requires an understanding of how each essential oil interacts with the body, as well as the mind. I recommend most essential oils be diluted, as they can cause irritation when applied directly to the skin.
The emotions listed below can be gently eased by one or a combination of the following essential oils:
Anxiety: Bergamot, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Lavender,Patchouli, Roman Chamomile, Rose, Sandalwood.
Fatigue/Burnout: Basil, Ginger, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sandalwood.
Stress: Bergamot, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Mandarin, Neroli, Patchouli, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang.
Anger: Jasmine, Neroli, Orange, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Roman chamomile, Rose, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang.
Try making yourself an inhaler blend using some of these oils or create yourself a diffuser blend by choosing a few oils that sound wonderful to you and add a drop or two and they will surely put a smile on your face and soothe away the stresses of the day. Search my blog for more recipes for mood and muscles and step into the beautifully aromatic world or essential oils. What is your favorite oil? Do you have one that just seems to speak to your soul? Share in with me below I'd love to chat all things oils :)