Tag Archives: Sense Of Smell

What Are Essential Oils?

Maybe you have heard the term “essential oils” but didn’t know what was meant by it. Perhaps you had a vague idea that it was connected in some way with aromatherapy, but didn’t know how. Now is as good a time as any to learn what essential oils are. Essential oils are made from different parts of plants. They can be made from leaves, like peppermint oil. They can be made from petals, like rose oil. Some are made from bark or wood, like sandalwood.

Others are made from other parts of plants. If a so-called “essential oil” has any animal products in it, it is not truly an essential oil. Also, true essential oils do not contain synthetic ingredients.

Essential oils are usually made by distillation to make the natural oils in a plant substance very concentrated. It takes an enormous amount of plant material to make just a small amount of essential oils. For this reason, they are very expensive. It only takes a few drops of these essential oils to have a powerful effect. Most essential oils are not used directly on the skin. Most are either inhaled or applied in a carrier oil. Sometimes the oils are put into a bath.

You can buy individual essential oils or you can buy blends. If you buy blends, it’s up to the maker to decide what oils to mix together and in what proportions. You can save money this way, because you only have to buy one bottle of a blend rather than several bottles to mix yourself. If money is no object, you might like to have the choice.

Essential oils have been used for centuries to promote physical and mental well-being. There are many varieties of essential oils and there are different ones for almost every ailment out there. There are several choices of oils for many of the conditions. Essential oils enter the body through the sense of smell. This is why they are often inhaled in some way or another. However, they are also absorbed into the tissues of the skin and into the bloodstream. This is especially true when they are used in baths or massages.

When essential oils are inhaled, they reach the limbic system of the brain and go on to affect all the systems that it interfaces with. These include the circulatory system, the respiratory system, the endocrine system, and memory. In the bloodstream, they affect the organs as well. When you have had a massage treatment with essential oils, it is wise not to bathe or wash it off for a couple of hours. This is because the systems of the body take time to absorb the oils from the skin.

Both psychological and medical conditions have been treated with aromatherapy through the use of essential oils. Some can be very expensive, especially those that come from exotic plants. However, by using the few drops as recommended, a small bottle can last a long time. Essential oils are effective tools in controlling uncomfortable symptoms.

The History of Essential Oils

In modern times, essential oils are used in aromatherapy to aid people with their physical and emotional health. In the past, they have been used by many people all over the world and in different cultures to do just that. The history of essential oils is a long one. Thousands of years ago, the Chinese were using plants with aromatic qualities for healing. Although these plant substances were being used in the medical practices of the day, they had not yet been distilled into essential oils.

The Egyptians, and perhaps also the Persians and the people of India, were the first to make distillation machines. Oil of cedarwood distilled with such machines was used along with myrrh, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg oils to embalm the dead.

The Egyptians were concerned more with the sense of smell than with any of the other senses. They believed that it was the most important and dominant sense. They adopted the essential oils they made to their medicine, cosmetics, and fragrances.

The use of essential oils was taken up by the Greeks next. Hippocrates did an ancient form of aromatherapy. A Greek named Megalleon invented a perfume called megaleion. This substance was used in aromatherapy and as an essential oil as an anti-inflammatory and to heal wounds. A Roman, Discorides, wrote on the uses of 500 different plant substances. Distillations were also made of such substances. However, these distillations didn’t produce essential oils. Instead, they made floral-smelling waters.

Avicenna was a Persian man who refined the process by inventing a distillation machine with a coiled cooling pipe. This allowed for more effective cooling. Eventually, the focus shifted towards more emphasis on true essential oils and their uses.

Paracelcus was a doctor of the fifteenth century who began using the term “essence.” His emphasis was using essential oils for medicine. During this time, many new essential oils were being produced. Among them were juniper, rosemary, rose, and sage. During the sixteenth century, people would go to their apothecary to get essential oils for many different uses. Around this time, the advent of new essential oils flourished. In the next few centuries, essential oils changed little except in their use in perfumes.

The major chemical ingredients of essential oils were identified. Scientists became more interested in the subject of essential oils. In the twentieth century, this became a problem for those interested in the use of true essential oils.

Much of twentieth century science has been consumed with creating synthetic versions of essential oils. However, an early twentieth century Frenchman named Gattefosse became increasingly involved with the study of essential oils and their medicinal values. He was the first to use the term “aromatherapy”. Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils were not well known in English-speaking countries. Robert B. Tisserand changed all that. He wrote the first English book on the subject, and many other books and articles.

As the years go by, people are becoming more and more interested in natural ways of doing things. They want to find ways to soothe their minds and comfort their bodies without synthetic drugs. Essential oils give them a way to do it.

Do Essential Oils Really Work?

Creighton University Medical Center School of Medicine is out to determine if alternative therapies actually work. Aromatherapy has long been recognized for the treatment of minor ailments as well as the promotion of emotional stability. But how does it actually work? The Medical Center reports that while there is widespread use, there is still not much scientific evidence to support claims of the ability to treat these ailments.

What studies have been done? The school has tested the lavender, chamomile, marigold and peppermint essential oils in several studies to see if there was a reduction in the perception of pain. Placebo tests were also performed in these studies as well. The results showed that there positive effects through the use of the essential oils although they were not conclusive. Does that mean that essential oils do not work? Absolutely not! What the studies do show is that there are positive physiological effects when aromatherapy was used as a complementary form of treatment.

The use of aromatherapy is rooted in our history with its use dating back some one thousand years. The Egyptians used essential oils for embalming the dead, but they also used them as medicines, for perfumes and as cosmetics. Throughout the centuries following the use of essential oils in medical treatments were refined through the use of improved distillation equipment and additional studies of plants. While the term “aromatherapy” is new, the practice of using essential oils as medicines is not.

We do know that aromatherapy combines uses the sense of smell to regulate emotional behaviors. We know that certain essential oils are known to induce feelings of peace, harmony, reduce stress, anger or fatigue as well as other emotional facets. Essential oils can also reduce anxiety or feelings of loneliness. There is an essential oil that can aid in the treatment of just about every negative emotion and enhance the positive ones as well. But how it all works has still not been proven.

We also know that essential oils used as a topical treatment have been known to exhibit anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic responses. Topical treatments are normally diluted mixes of essential oils with carrier oils such as apricot kernel oil or almond sweet oil. Essential oils have been used in the treatment of acne, athlete’s foot, eczema and other skin ailments. Essential oils have also been noted to reduce scarring tissue and stretch marks. Citrus oils have also been used to treat insect bites as well as act as insect repellant. There are so many uses!

While there still might be little evidence to support or validate the scientific processes of healing or emotional balance that take place within the body, we are still seeing positive responses! We are still seeing and experiencing the benefits of what aromatherapy can do when we add this to our regimen. Whether or not the use of essential oils is right for you, only you can decide. Take some time to consult with your doctor or aroma therapist and see how you can add nature’s benefits to your life!

Massage Oils Provide a Therapeutic Effect

Massage therapists know best. They make use of special massage oils to bring forth the feeling of rejuvenation that each and everyone asks for.

The Benefit of the Oils as Employed in Massage Therapy

As used in the science of massage therapy, the oils are the best additions to a relaxing and healing experience. They don’t only bring you into such a relaxing state in the course of the massage session but they trigger healing, so to speak. There is nothing new in the use of oil because it has been practiced since time immemorial. In fact, the great men Plato, Homer, and Socrates had mentioned in their writings the benefits of the oils in assisting in the relief of body pain. The latter is also one of the main reasons why oils are utilized during the execution of massage. Other benefits of which include the enhancement of the skin condition and of course, the improvement of the overall health.

Selecting the Type of Oil to Use

Is there a particular guideline in selecting the oil to be used during the therapy itself? Well, it is best to remember that people’s skin type varies. One kind of oil may be safe for one but it may irritate another person’s sensitive skin. There are also individuals who may not find the scent too pleasing to their sense of smell.

More so, when choosing the oil it is important to get those that are expeller-pressed or cold-pressed. They have gone through an extensive processing so they are known to last longer. Likewise, you may combine the essential oils of your choice but just ensure that they will produce a good scent. Your massage therapist is likely to ask you of your preferred combination.
Different Types of Oil to Use

For massage therapy, you have a wide range of options. Stated below are the various oils that are commonly used.

The sweet almond oil bears the anti-inflammatory components. It is light and applicable generally for many skin types. It works best for people who have dry skin.

The apricot kernel oil is known to employ balance in the skin. It heals the prematurely aging skin too.

The avocado oil is defined as heavy so it is important to dilute it in lighter oil.

The Castor oil is sticky and thick yet is best in drawing out the toxins. It is best used to treat the scar tissue.

Coconut oil has to be warmed first. It treats cracked skin.

Emu oil is good for sore muscles, arthritis, eczema, and bruising.

Grapeseed oil is safe to use because of its non-allergenic components.

Jojoba oil and kukui nut oil contain anti-bacterial elements.

Olive oil provides relief to stiffness due to its warming effect.

The wheat germ oil is high in vitamin E component as well as in the essential fatty acids. It aids in the healing of scar tissue, stretch marks, sun damaged skin, in improving the circulation of the blood, and in treating the symptoms of dermatitis.

Holy oil is best recognized for its molecular structure. It goes deep into the skin.

Hazelnut oil is a best moisturizer which tightens and tones the skin while assisting in the regeneration of the cells and enhancing the capillaries.

Massage oils are simply therapeutic. They don’t only soothe your tired and tight muscles but they are also able to make you feel better emotionally and mentally.