Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote healing. Essential oils are the lifeblood of plants and as such are extremely potent medicines. For example one drop of Roman chamomile oil is equivalent to 300 cups of chamomile tea! They have been used for centuries as remedies for everything from insomnia to wound healing.
Essential oils have almost immediate effect on the body. When applied topically, as in an aromatherapy massage, they enter the bloodstream through the skin and are measurable within 5 minutes, most potent after 20 minutes, and still show trace amounts 90 minutes after application. Additionally they set off chemical reactions that continue their healing effects for hours and even days.
Essential oils, unlike synthetic pharmaceuticals, are carbon-based (like us) and because of their chemical structure move quickly and effectively throughout the human body. Rose oil has at least 500 (maybe closer to 1000) different chemical constituents that make it versatile as well as powerful.
There are two primary methods of application we use at Sphere. The first is topical application on the skin through massage oils. The proper essential oils are selected to meet the client’s needs. Specific oils, such as peppermint, provide analgesic effects while others, such as ginger, promote blood-flow while others still, such as German chamomile, are strongly anti-inflammatory. This is an extremely effective method of application that is enhanced by the benefits of massage therapy.
The second method of application is inhalation. By simply breathing in the aroma molecules from the essential oils the limbic brain, which is associated with long-term memory, emotions, primal responses such as sexuality and fight/flight, is stimulated by-passing the ‘thinking brain’ to set off immediate chemical responses specific to the oil chosen. For example ylang-ylang reduces cortisol levels in the blood while peppermint is stimulating and rosemary promotes memory response.
Aromatherapy should be customized to the client’s personal needs, whether migraine headaches or out of control stress levels. By exploring specific needs and lifestyle choices the aromatherapist can develop a suitable intervention using these beautiful and pleasing plant medicines.