Wednesday, February 11, 2009

EO Facts #2 : What is Aromatherapy?

Q. What is the true definition of "aromatherapy"?

Currently this term is used to market pretty much any scented item such as candles, potpourri, lotions, and room deodorizers. Its true definition is " the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes". We will explore the crucial meaning of therapeutic grade essential oils in a future EO Facts post.

There are three different models or frameworks followed in therapeutic treatment using essential oils.
  • The English model advocates diluting a small amount of essential oil in a carrier oil and massaging the body for the purpose of relaxation and relieving stress.
  • The German model focuses on the inhalation of essential oils.
  • The French model utilizes the ingestion and neat (undiluted) topical application of therapeutic-grade essential oils.

Note that the majority of aromatherapy books and reference guides available, as well as aromatherapy educators, only promote the English and German models of aromatherapy. The reason for this is largely due to the fact that most EOs commonly sold in health food stores and online are NOT labeled as EO Supplements, and are NOT safe for internal use. If your EOs do not carry this label, don't use the French method.

For an excellent selection of EO Supplements available from Young Living Essential Oils , you may visit my website.


Veronica Lee said...

Welcome to MBC and Happy Valentine's Day!

Annette Piper said...

That's really informative - I never realised there were different forms.

Bach Flowers are taken internally - how do they fit in with aromatherapy or are they completely different?

Jennifer Nordin, LMT, CPT said...

Thanks for your question Annette. Bach Flower Essences are homeopathic remedies,greatly dilute infusions of botanicals in a water and/or alcohol tincture.They do not have a scent or fragrant influence on the brain. Essential oils on the other side of the spectrum,are the extremely concentrated result of distilling massive amounts of plant material. It often takes an acre of lavender plants to make up one bottle of essential oil. I have used very few homeopathic remedies, but I asked a practitioner about using homeopathic remedies and aromatherapy together. She told me that homeopathics follow the theory that very, very small amounts of flower essence can balance the body,but essential oils are very potent and can overpower that action. I always recommend using essences and essential oils separately so one is able to determine which one offered the most benefit for bringing the body back into balance.

Ms. Salubrious said...

I LOVE YOUR BLOGS! They are sooo informational and helpful! So, when would you reccomend using a carrier oil with an essential oil? What are the most ideal carrier oils to use? Thanks

Jennifer Nordin, LMT, CPT said...

Hi Herbster,glad you are finding my blog helpful! My favorite carrier oil for topical use and massage is pure jojoba,I fell in love with its silky smooth finish in my clinical aromatherapy class as we compared carriers. Jojoba is actually a plant wax and is the closest in similarity to our own body oils. It is always a good idea to use a carrier oil when applying EOs to the skin. The dilution depends on what the EO is being used for. Fighting infection will take a much higher ratio of EOs vs mixing up a blend for a relaxation massage. See my post on Carrier Oils 101 for basic dilution ratios. I usually dilute on a case by case basis depending on the situation.
For internal use, olive oils works great to dilute EO Supplements when filling a capsule. Don't want to sound like a broken record, but NEVER take any EOs internally unless it is labeled as an ESSENTIAL OIL SUPPLEMENT.