Throughout history, herbal medicine in the form of herbs, plant aromas and essential oils have been revered as sacred — both for treating ailments and disease, as well as providing life-enhancing benefits. In most ancient cultures, people believed plants to be magical, and for thousands of years herbs were used as much for ritual as they were for medicine and food.
Essential oils have an effect that is more than just a pleasant scent. Essential oils have the ability to trigger emotions and memories, and are therefore very powerful when it comes to wellbeing, on a physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual level. Every time that you hold a bottle of essential oil, you are holding the pure “essence” of botanicals (hence the term “essential” oils). It can be said that essential oils are the “soul” of a plant.
Pure essential oils are powerful. They are about 70 times more concentrated than the whole plant, and work more deeply than dry herbs, delivering potentially very fast and effective results for holistic health and wellbeing. From scientific studies, we know that essential oils comprise a powerful blend of antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties, just to name a few. But they also vibrate at particular frequencies that may effect energy and activate certain altered states of wellbeing and consciousness.
How Essential Oils work
Whilst an aromatherapy massage or bath can be a beautiful once-off treatment, essential oil “aromatherapy” can be integrated into your daily lifestyle in a holistic way, for ongoing wellbeing of mind, body and soul.
Oils enter the body via three delivery systems:
1. Through aroma, following the olfactory nerve pathways from the sinuses into the central glands of the brain (the Amygdala and Hippocampus), which control emotional, neurological, hormonal and and immunological functions. Bypassing the reasoning brain altogether, the smell is processed according to emotion, memory and learning.
2. By massaging them into the skin, which allow the oils to become absorbed into the bloodstream dermally via the hair follicles, and to have a systemic effect.
3. Through the respiratory system as you inhale the aroma, which has a direct effect on the sinuses, throat, and lungs.
Passing the Blood / Brain Barrier
The blood brain barrier — the barrier membrane between the circulating blood and the brain — is very selective as to which substances it allows to pass through it. Essential oil compounds are extraordinarily small, making them uniquely suited to cross the blood brain barrier, and postively impact the brain and overall health. Once crossed, essential oils can rapidly absorb and interact with receptors in the central nervous system to help support healing and normalisation of stressed or dysfunctional cells.
Aromatherapy as Vibrational Medicine
Each essential oil has its own frequency — and since our bodies vibrate at certain frequencies — if our bodies are out of balance, then essential oils are a modality that can help us to regain homeostasis. Some research claims that, of any natural material, essential oils have the highest measurable frequencies —which are measured in Hertz, a measure of cycles per second — creating an environment where disease, bacterial, virus, and fungus cannot live. The average frequency of a human body that is healthy will measure a frequency of 62 to 68 MHz whilst essential oils have been measured at the following high frequencies:
Rose (Rosa damascene).....................320 MHz
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)........118 MHz
Blue Chamomile (Matricaria recutita).....105 MHz
Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma)............98 MHz
Peppermint (Mentha peperita)..............78 MHz
The higher ranges are said to affect spirit and emotions while the lower frequencies have more effect on all areas of the physical body. It is theorised that a stronger frequency will entrain a weaker frequency, and this is how essential oils work as vibrational medicine: their harmonious high-frequencies overcome or neutralize imbalances and dis-ease in our beings – physical and otherwise.
Quality & Organics
The quality of your essential oils is important. Oils need to be chosen for being extracted through careful steam distillation and cold pressing, which preserves the integrity and power of the extracts.
Essential oils are highly concentrated and enter the body quickly, therefore look for a trusted producer that makes quality, pure oils without anything added. You’re more likely to have an allergic reaction to oils that are of lower quality or have synthetic enhancement added.
If pesticides have been used in plant production there may be concentrated residue in your product, which will enter the body at the same time. Essential oils — as with other products applied to the skin — are ingested by the body like a food. And like foods, 100% organic certified products or ingredients are worth the higher price if you care about truly safe, natural products.
How to use Essential Oils safely
For daily use, oils can be diffused, inhaled, applied topically (chakra points, behind the ears, the neck, wrists or directly on to an area of concern) and incorporated into massage. Or you might simply carry them with you as you would a crystal.
Essential oils are usually lipophilic ("oil-loving") compounds that are not miscible with water. The most common way to safely dilute essential oils for topical use is in a carrier oil. This can be a quality vegetable oil such as jojoba, coconut, wheat germ, or olive.
Its important to note that just because it is derived from a plant, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to rub on your skin, or breathe, or drink, even if pure or organic. Natural substances can still be irritating, toxic, or cause allergic reactions. Like anything else you put on your skin, it’s best to test a little bit on a small area and see how your skin responds.
Always use oils on the skin in a dilution of 1-3%, versus applying the neat oil to the skin or hands. That means if you have one teaspoon of carrier, you would add 1 drop of pure essential oil to make a 1% solution. Young children and the elderly may be more sensitive to essential oils, so you may need to dilute them more. Alternatively, find an aromatherapy roll on or body oil that has been pre-blended in the right quantity. In baths, add a little milk to help disperse the oils through the water, otherwise they can end up sticking to your skin.
Taken by mouth, many essential oils can be dangerous so be sure to seek the medical advice of a qualified aromatherapist or integrated medical professional before ingesting oils. Pregnant women should seek specific medical advice before using any oils, topically or internally. Avoid direct sun exposure or use on a non-exposed area with all essential oil concentrates and dilutions as some oils may be photosensitising.
Aromatherapy is holistic and enjoyable, with benefits for body, mind and soul. It is the art and science of using botanical extracts and their physical, energetic and vibrational properties to create and maintain emotional, physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. When used correctly, essential oils are a beautiful addition to daily life and mood.
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Battaglia, Salvadore, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2nd Edition, The International Centre for Holistic Aromatherapy, 2003
Lee, Myeong Soo; Choi, Jiae Choi (2012). "Aromatherapy for health care: an overview of systematic reviews". Maturitas. 3 (71): 257–260.
Keville, Kathy, Aromatherapy for Dummies, Wiley Publishing, 1999
Worwood, Valerie Ann, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, New World Library, 1991
Ryman, Daniele (1984). The Aromatherapy Handbook: The Secret Healing Power Of Essential Oils. Century Publishing CO. Ltd. pp. Chapter 3. ISBN 9780852072158.