Aromatherapy is the art of utilising the therapeutical properties of essential oils to promote health, beauty and state of mind. Essential oils have no side effects when used with care and correctly. Aromatherapy is a Holistic Alternative system of treatment gaining popularity as a complementary medicine. Each drop of the essential oil is an extreme concentration of the plant material and is invariably diluted before use. Essential oils can be used in many ways. E.g. Inhalation, Compression (warm or cold), and Cosmetic preparation. They have many other scientific applications too.
During inhalation or external application the vapours are inhaled, where the blood absorbs the essential oil molecules into the lungs. These molecules circulate in the whole body for several hours before getting eliminated. The skin absorbs the essential oils directly into the bloodstream through the pores in the skin. During a massage, the Aromatherapist comforts and heals with the simultaneous use of essential oils and his hands.
Essential oils have a three-fold effect. Firstly the chemical compounds of an essential oil have specific properties such as Antiviral, Antibacterial, Haemostatic or Hormonal. Secondly, it has a Bio-Electric effect, while positive molecules are stimulating with their tonic properties, the negative molecules are calming, anti-inflammatory, and act like a sedative. The third effect is to carry information to different parts of the body at various levels. The first two reactions can to a certain extent be measured and tested scientifically, while the third reaction can only be evaluated subjectively.
But it is clear that when an oil is inhaled or absorbed through the skin, the message is sent more rapidly than the chemical or even the bio-electric response to the brain and other parts of the body. This is effected by helping the life energy of a person to regenerate and restore itself to health.
In April 1995 a discovery was made by scientists, Linda Buck and Richard Axel, at the Columbia University’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute, on how fragrances are associated with emotions and memory. Odours reach the brain through two Mucus laden spots, the size of small buttons located high on the nose. There the odour molecules are swept in with the breath, and they bind to the microscopic receptors attached to the nasal nerve cell. These cells reach into a part of the brain connected to the memory and emotions. They also discovered a family of genes that hold a blueprint for hundreds of receptors, that most likely pick up the scents that human can smell.
Aromatherapy today is used in India basically for an aesthetic purpose by beauticians for skin treatment with great success. Many people have a wrong impression about Aromatherapy being merely a beauty treatment. There are a very few well-trained practitioners who use essential oils as an alternative, holistic treatment, where the Medical History, Diet, Exercise, General Lifestyle of an individual are taken into consideration. In other words "Going into the very root of the problem and then treating it."
In Switzerland and France, Aromatherapy is also clinically practised, involving the use of essential oils internally. This is done by taking tiny dilution’s orally prescribed by qualified medical doctors who practise Aromatherapy and is not recommended for self-medication.
Latest researches show that when an essential oil is applied externally, it is detected in the urine within thirty minutes. On the other hand, when taken orally, it takes up to three hours to be traced. This proves that essential oils used externally work more quickly than taken orally. Here, it is directly absorbed into the skin.