Updated: 3 days ago
With all the latest essential oils, aromatherapy has become a booming industry, but did you know that it's history goes way back? We've all stopped to take in the smell of a new flower on the vine, the aroma of fresh scents in the outside air or the comforting scents of holiday spices in the kitchen. Don't these scents take you back? That's the power of mood-altering that transports your mind and spirit.
Cultures from all over the world have used essential oils for ritual, purification, celebration and meditation for more than ten thousand years. Today, both individuals and wellness practitioners harness the therapeutic value of essential oils through the practice of aromatherapy.
What exactly are essential oils?
Essential oils are the concentrated and potent botanical extracts derived from plants. These extracts are 70 to 100 times stronger than the plant itself. What you smell in a flower is only a small fraction of what can be extracted for an essential oil. Essential oils are highly aromatic and can quickly evaporate, unlike oils like olive or coconut oil. Found within flowers, roots, leaves, seeds and fruits, essential oils are commonly extracted through steam distillation that, at high heat, produces two components: essential oil and hydrosol (or flower water). Both retain the therapeutic properties of the plant from which it was extracted, but to different degrees: the hydrosol being a gentle and subtle therapy, contrasted by the essential oil’s high concentration.
How to use essential oils.
An important first step to using aromatherapy is to source responsibly. Seek sources that provide only organic or wild-harvested essential oils, which denotes sustainable farming practices and a commitment to avoiding overharvesting. A wonderful local source for lavender is 2nd Life Lavender of Bend, Oregon. At Bella-Nuova, we have used the oils from this local business and love them in our apothecary products including our lavender bath bombs.
Creating ambiance with aromatherapy.
On an emotional level, essential oils lift our spirits, invigorate and stimulate our memories, and warm our souls. An easy way to introduce oils in your space is by the use of diffusers. With a variety of shapes and sizes, it's easy to find one that matches your environment. Add a few drops of your favorite scent to the water and the vapor will instantly start filling the room. There are a wide variety of scents to choose from and you may find that mixing a few drops of multiple oils provides an aroma that takes you back or offers an uplifting environment. Some scents can be very powerful like lavender and peppermint. Use these sparingly as they can be overcoming.
Aromatherapy has many holistic benefits.
Aromatherapy can be truly healing and provide therapeutic benefits for everyone. Some essential oils are perfect as antibacterial and probiotic agents as they stimulate life support. They can help purify the room for family, friends and customers without a sterile scent or chemical environment. They can be warm and welcoming as opposed to aerosols without being artificial. Aromatherapy is a perfect option to allow relaxation of the nervous system. You can incorporate aromas in your bath and lotions, body care essentials, hot, damp towels, foot or hand soaks and much more.
Use aromatherapy to create sanctuary, rest and healing. Whether it be in your home bedroom, bath, living area, work space, or car: aromatherapy can be an integral part of your own well being as well as to those around you. Everyone can benefit from the properties of aromatherapy including children.
Of note: essential oils are not good for the respiratory of our beloved pets.
Many oils are actually toxic to our pets because it can change their body chemistry, affect their respiratory system, or even cause death. Some oils, in small quantities, are mostly harmless to our pets but be on the watch if your pet starts drooling (in unusual amounts), difficulty breathing, fatigue or weakness, muscle tremors or difficulty walking, pawing at their face, appearance of burning on their mouth and nose, or even vomiting. Consult your vet immediately if you find these symptoms with your pet.