Collection: Aromatherapy

Let's start with defining what essential oils are, then discuss aromatherapy.

What are essential oils? What is aromatherapy?

aromatherapy definition

They are the natural extracted plant materials taken from the stem, leaves, bark, roots, flowers of plants, trees and other flora.

Types of essential oils.

With an estimated +350,000 types of plants in this world

And any number of parts of the plant to extract the oil from, it is no wonder that entering the world of essential oils can be a confusing one.

Buy Individual Essential Oils

Quality of Plant Material

Pesticides, soil conditions, climate, nutrient rich soil, genetics, contaminants and a whole host of other growing conditions play a role in determining the health and medicinal properties of the plant.

How to make essential oils?

How much does this matter depends on the type of plant itself. This is why when looking at the quality of plant material you need to know what you are dealing with.

 

Distillation

Once you have your raw plant material then it is time to distill it.

Distillation removes the larger particles (the physical materials) and leaves you with a liquid. 

Further distillation refines the liquid further to get rid of water, leaving you only with the oil. 

You can distill as many times as you like to refine the oil further. See How...

However, the jury is still out in terms of how much more beneficial it is to distill further. Try and see for your self. 

How many times do you distill your essential oils? What processes do you use?

Tell us how have you found the potency of the oil after?  

A matter of perspective 

It can take a whole dump truck's worth of raw plant material (eg. rose petals) to create just a single small bottle of essential oils. 

Essential oils uses and what essential oils for?What are essential oils used for?

Aromatherapy Benefits - The Medicine - Essential Oils Benefits

There is with strong certainty that essential oils are good for your health.

There are over 540 peer reviewed academic journals, well published reports and personal anecdotes to back this up

Even in front of the most scathing critic, the worst someone would say about essential oils is that they provide no medical benefit but make your environment smell better. Essential oils mask odors just as well, if not better than artificial / chemical alternative. 

Imagine if your house would smell great all the time?

How do they help? Different essential oils can assist the physical body, our mental state and our emotional state.

Think of all the ways you can feel in your body. Tired, energized, focused, in pain, relaxed, etc.

Think of all the mental states you go through in a day. Stressed, calm, at ease, productive, etc.

Think of all the emotional states you might go through in a day. Excited, nervous, fearful, happy, confident, social, balanced.

Now think of which of those experience you want to have more or less of. 

This is what essential oils can help with.

Delivery system.

How to use essential oils?

There are two primary delivery systems of Aromatherapy.

Inhalation and Absorption 

Aromatherapy Diffuser

Aromatherapy nebulizers and diffusers like the one above are the best method for bringing essential oils into your home.

Inhalation occurs when essential oils are diffused into the atmosphere.

How they are diffused makes a big difference. 

There are different methods of how to diffuse essential oils.

Candles are popular. Though the medicinal benefits of this method are debated.

So too are the medical benefits of Oil Candles, you know the kind with the little bowl above a tea light candle?

Essential oil burner (s). The issue is that the essential oil particles are very sensitive and they can become damaged on a cellular level if they are burnt or exposed to a higher temperature.

Candles have too much heat, so you get the smell but not the medicinal benefit. 

Don't get us wrong, these methods are fine for a nice scent and beautiful ambiance. It's just that they are are not the best for therapy.

The best method is to use a diffuser designed to keep the structure of those essential oils in tact. 

Essential oil diffusers like this one can be used in your bedroom to help sleep or combat illness, in the living room to put your guests in a great mood or your children's room to calm them down.

Absorption - Aromatherapy Massage

This is through contact with the skin. 

The essential oil passes through epidermis, dermis and into your fat, which then distributes the essential oils through your limbic system and circulatory system interacting with the cells of your body.

Layers of Skin

Imagine the essential oil going fully through your body, touching and healing cells, changing how they behave.

This is what's happening. 

This is why essential oil immersion in the bath can be so therapeutic. Your whole body gets coated in the oil. 

It can relax and heal your muscles, help with aches and pains, relieve headache. Any physical ailment can be aided in its healing with the use of essential oils. This is a complimentary therapy.

Inhalation

The inhalation of essential oils works the same way.

Essential Oil Lung

The essential oil particles travel in your mouth, nose, down your windpipe and into your lungs. Along the way they are absorbed by your lymphatic system, upon reaching the lungs the oils are then absorbed by the capillaries and absorbed into the blood stream. 

They can aid in insomnia, fatigue, stress, focus, happiness for depression, pain, mood. 

Brain

Once in the lymphatic and circulatory system the essential oils are carried to the brain, there the oils help guide the brain towards a mental or emotional state.

This is why essential oils are so powerful for treating a wide variety of mental and emotional conditions.

History

How do we know all this?

Fortunately, essential oils have been used by people all over the world for thousands and thousands of years. 

In that time through trial and error, shared common experiences, people began to notice how different plants affected them, which ones had the right medicine for an ailment. Whole systems of natural medicine developed independently of each other, all across the globe.

Their collective and expanding knowledge grew for thousands of years. Thousands.

We know the ancient Egyptians used essential oils.

They had vast shelves filled with hundreds of essential oils, it was part of their main stream culture and an established medical tradition. 

During the time of the plague, essential oils made another resurgence in Europe.

Bodies in the street, whole parts of the city under quarantine. Mass deaths. Everyone worried that another family member might die or they themselves. 

Open graves everywhere. Rats and pigeons feasting on the dead and carrying the disease to the living. 

The poor hygiene of the era contributed to the proliferation of the plague.

This was a horrible time to be alive. Millions and millions of people died.

Everyone was worried about the plague but yet life had to go on.

Over time, living in these conditions. People began to notice that those who worked in the perfume shops never became ill. 

It began to be a rumor in cities that they were sorcerers with magic potions.

This then became an established fact. 

Having learned about this, enterprising criminals broke into the perfume shops and coated themselves and drank every essential oil in there. 

They would then visit the abandon homes and bodies of the dead and loot them. 

Many becoming quite rich in the process. 

venetian plague mask

The venetian plague mask and accompanying garb became a popular choice of attire when committing these crimes, as the criminals would coat their uniform and store a large batch of essential oils in the beak constantly breathing it in.

Imagine the haunting image. Death is on your doorstep. You are a child living in a second floor apartment on a narrow lined cobblestone street. In the next room your brother coughs, dying, soon he will join your sister. You feel awful yourself. 

Looking out the window at the candle light lanterned lined empty street you see the figure in the picture above moving about visiting each corpse on the street, then going into different homes.

The horror that child must have felt feeling that they are witnessing death himself.

... It unlikely the criminals ever thought about that image but it worked. They didn't get sick and made a livelihood. 

What the people of the time didn't know and what we do in hindsight is that the perfumists were not getting sick because they spent all day handling and breathing in essential oils that had powerful antibacterial, antiviral and sterilizing properties.

Accidents happen

The modern era of aromatherapy dawned in 1930, when the French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse coined the term aromatherapy for the therapeutic use of essential oils. He became extremely interested in the benefits of lavender oil in healing his burned hand without leaving any scars. He started investigating the effect of other essential oils for healing and for their psychotherapeutic benefits.

Everyone knew essential oils worked but they didn't really know how.

In his laboratory, he distilled various essential oils and started to catalog their effects. He developed a systematic and evidence based approach to determining the medicinal properties of essential oil. 

One day early on, he accidentally burned his hand badly in the lab. In a panic to douse the flames and cool the hand he stuck it in the first liquid he saw, a bucket of Lavender essential oil he had made. 

Instantly he felt relief, though his pain was still high. 

He sat for several hours with his hand in the bucket, fearful of what it might look like if he were to see it. He thought about being unable to use it in the lab, having it bandaged up and how it would hinder his work. 

What he noticed after was that his hand felt much better. He took it out and saw that it was only slightly inflamed. The hand had been healed.

For the next few days, he would keep his hand in lavender oil for as long as he could and quickly it was healed to normal. 

For him it was to be a pivotal moment, as he then decided to dedicate his life to the science and understanding of essential oils. 

We have him to thank for his works of research and for inspiring others to continue to dig deeper and learn more about essential oils.

Aromatherapy diffuser

Diffusers like this come in a variety of designs to fit your home's aesthetic.

Essential Oils helped the war effort

During world war II, the French army surgeon Dr. Jean Valnet used essential oils as antiseptics.  In 1964, he published the book “Practice of Aromatherapy” which triggered the aromatherapy practice in Europe. As a result, numerous homeopathic clinics that focused on aromatherapy were built in Paris, Sweden and England.

Later, Madame Marguerite Maury, a noted physician, started prescribing essential oils as remedy for her patients. She is also credited with the modern use of essential oils in massage.

Today, corporate America has caught on.

Almost every high end retailer under stands that scent is part of the buying experience, and if you can use essential oils to influence the moods of your customers then why not? Some people even talk of a "buying blend", something that puts you into a "buying mood". What's a buying mood? Imagine, the ideal customer, happy, calm, enthusiastic. Essential oils can help produce that state in both the employee and customer - a perfect sales environment.

Now how effective this is of course debatable. We have free will right?

Well, some law makers didn't think so when they prohibited the use of fragrances in retail environments because it manipulates people... "Retail environments manipulate people" right, they are designed to in every way. So are you going to ban the use of music because it could be manipulative because it puts people in a mood?

One place that essential oils are alive and well is Las Vegas. Aromatherapy is big business for casinos. It's well documented that their ventilation systems pump in fresh air to keep people gambling. They also pump in their own scents. 

The entrance and lobby's scent is to make you feel like you are coming home.

The room or floor may have a particular scent depending on the theme. Other amenities and spaces may all have their own scents to put people into a certain mood, i.e. Energizing at the gym, Calming at the spa.

Of course the gaming floor is no exception. That's where we see a blend designed to keep you up, gambling and OK with losing your kid's college fund, or so I imagine.

Essential Oils Scam

Not all essential oils are the same. Some are simply scent therapy, water and 20% plant matter, without distillation. The quality of the essential oils is determined by the plant matter and the distillation process.

Where to get essential oils?

Doterra and Young Living are probably two of the most popular companies, at least according to Google. I won't make any recommendations or review of their products, judge for yourself.

Doterra vs Young Living

Dangers of essential oils. Are essential oils safe?

Essential oils are not dangerous. Do not digest them, eat them, swallow them or put them in your digestive system without consulting a physician as interactions can occur between medications, this is only when taken orally.

Inhalation or absorption are almost always safe if you do not have any allergies to the plant materials.

 

 

 

Blends and Baths

essential oils in bath

Whew, you're still with me! Good. One more thing to note is that many popular essential oils are blends, a combination of complimentary essentials oils that share similar healing properties. Blends are powerful, in fact a Thieves Blend was developed based on the formula used during the time of the plague.

Before putting your essential oils in the bathtub you will need to emulsify them. Water and oil don't mix, this is why you need an emulsifier (a third liquid) to diffuse essential oils in the tub. Getting bath ready essential oils is easy or you can make them yourself in a few minutes.

 

Blend Essential Oils

What Essential Oils are Good for?

Essential oil recipes; some common blends are:

essential oils for relaxation

  • Lavender and chamomile for sleep and relaxation.

lavender essential oil uses

  • Eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, oregano for cold and flue (anti bacterial, anti viral.)

essential oils for depression

  • Peppermint, orange for energizing, motivating and up lifting.

Sample packs like this are perfect for those just starting out with essential oils and aromatherapy.

 

Every home should have essential oils. Its great for setting the tone, mood and scent when entertaining. Good for helping you relax or for ease of pretty much any physical, mental or emotional ailment.

Get started with our entire Aromatherapy Collection  

MuchMoreDecor.com sells aromatherapy and essential oil products. See below for our catalog.

Like the article? Hate it? Have an idea to add to the conversation, something you want to share. Leave a comment or contact us.
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