Long before the term alternative medicine was being used, aromatherapy was being practiced by the Egyptians for over 5,000 years. When being used by the Egyptians oil was being extracted from the many aromatic plants around them through infusion and then used for their not only cosmetic and medicinal purposes but also for embalming as well. They then passed the knowledge they had gained on to the Greeks and it served as the beginning of their research into how to use the oils and fragrance of some flowers for their relaxing and stimulating effects. In fact when looking back further in history we find that ancient man depended very much on his environment for their basic needs and to survive which led them to discover the more natural ways of preserving food and how certain conditions could be treated using herbs and aromatics.
First of all we will look at Eastern Roots. The use of aromatics are shown in a Chinese Herbal Book by Shen Nung dated 2,700 BC and which provides specific details on over 300 plants and how they can be used. Also the ancient Chinese would burn incense and wood as part of their religious beliefs and practices and even in today’s modern society many Chinese still observe these practices today. You will also discover that the Chinese used aromatics in relation to the acupressure, massage and other therapies that they used.
Whilst now in modern society many people place a very high premium on their health and well being but due to the high cost of traditional and conventional medicines available (surgery and Medicare) more and more people are turning to aromatherapy and essential oil therapy as well as other forms of alternative medicine.
The basics of using essential oils in an aromatherapy bath are as follows:-
1. It facilitates equilibrium of both the physical, mental and spiritual health of a person through natural means.
2. In some cases it has been found that alternative treatments are considered as strong and effective as complementary treatments to regular medical practices.
3. The main component of aromatherapy is the essential oils and are highly concentrated essences which are known for their healing effects.
Essentials oils are aroma producing oils which come from flowers such as the rose, from leaves such as basil, twig, bark, fruit rind and many other parts of plants. Although experts say that extracting the oils can be quite time consuming and complex and needs a large amount of patience on behalf of the person carrying out the work the benefits at the end are great. Certainly you need to recognize and accept that if you want to get about 5 tsp of oil from rose petals it will take about 220lbs of petals to do it and this is why pure essential oils are so expensive. Although the effectiveness of the oils is not comprised as it only takes a few drops to generate the effect needed. However there is a cheaper alternative namely synthetic oil, however they do not offer the person the same healing properties as their natural counterparts.
Essential oils work by stimulating a person’s olfactory system and later on the brain or limbic system. The fragrance along with other properties and effects relating to the oils will determine how a person’s body system and its parts are stimulated. Whilst having a massage using these oils they are not only absorbed by the body but are inhaled at the same time and eventually when being absorbed through the skin they will reach the organs and body system of the person being treated. The time it takes for the oils to absorb through the skin can be from as little as 20 minutes and take as long as 2 hours or more and there it is wise to avoid taking a shower or bath straight after any massage so that the maximum effect is received from the massage therapy.
The time that the effect lasts on a person can vary from 3-24 hours to 2-3 days or even as long as week. Oils that have a short live time span in regard to their scent are Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Thyme and Bergamot whilst Hyssop, Lavender, Balm and various other oils can last between 2 to 3 days. The oils that take as long as a week to completely evaporate are Jasmine, Sandalwood, Ginger and Cedar Wood.
Many people when using aromatherapy are looking to achieve a sense of calm in their lives and these people will look to using a combination of three types of oils to help with this and they will base them on how long they last. They can be used by mixing them into a warm bath and will help the person to become relaxed and calm, they will help to eliminate the stress and depression that they are feeling as well as both energizing and soothing the body of any aches that they are feeling. Certainly by using essential oils during a massage will help increase the healing and calming effect that the person is feeling. However any massage carried out using essential oils must also include a carrier oil to help prevent irritation and skin reactions on the person being treated. Such carrier oils that are used to help dilute the essential oils are avocado oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, almond oil, soya oil and hazelnut oil.