The Basics of Aromatherapy:
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are concentrated essences of aromatic plants. Aromatherapy is the art of using essential oils to aid in healing of the mind, body and spirit. Every essential oil used in Aromatherapy can be used alone or in combinations giving you the effect that you want. It is important to know what effect the oil your using will have and how it works. The oils are extracted from different parts of the plant such as the leaves, bark, stems and flower petals, or the fruit rind. It is a lengthy, expensive process to produce a high quality essential oil. A great deal of skill is needed for this process.
The methods used to extract the oil are time consuming and expensive and require a high degree of expertise. It takes more than 220 pounds of rose petals to make 4 or 5 teaspoonful of oil, it is a process best left to a professional! The large amount of plant material needed, pure essential oils are expensive, but very effective - only a few drops at a time are required to gain the desired effect. Synthetic oils are available at a lesser price, but they do not have the healing power of the natural oils.
How Essential Oils Work
Essential oils have an impact on our sense of smell. When essential oils are inhaled, our olfactory system is stimulated and impulses are transmitted to emotional centers of our brain via the limbic system. The limbic system is linked to parts of the brain that control memory, breathing, and blood circulation. The specific oils fragrance determines determine what part of the brain is stimulated. In massage therapy these essential oils are absorbed through the skin as well as being inhaled.
The "Notes" of Essential Oils:
There are three recognized classifications for essential oils, they are: top note, middle note and base note. Each term relates to rate of its evaporation, how long the scent will last
A top note essential oil will be the most stimulating and uplifting oil. They have a strong scent, but only lasts for 3 - 24 hours.
Some Top note oils are:
A Middle Note lasts about 2 - 3 days, and affect body functions and metabolism.
Some Middle note oils are:
A Base Note is the slowest oil to evaporate and lasts up to a week long. They possess a sweet, calming scent and are relaxing, comforting to the body.
Some Base note oils are:
Making blends for Aromatherapy
In order to make a well balanced aromatic blend, for best results a combination of all three notes is needed. The better acquainted you are with certain fragrances and its effect the simpler it would be to create blends that are right for you and the desired effects you are seeking.