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Aromatherapy - What is Aromatherapy?

by Penny Keay

Aromatherapy means simply - the study of scents used in a therapeutic manner.

The more detailed definition is the skilled and controlled use of essential oils for emotional and physical health and well-being.

Lavender in bunch

The practice of aromatherapy goes beyond smell, though. It involves "pure" essential oils and treatments many believe have a chemical effect on the body.

They can be applied with massage, in the bath, in the air, and in hair care.

In Europe and other parts of the world, not so much in the US, essential oils are taken internally.

Essential Oils are used as an Alternative Medicine (we prefer "Complimentary") Health modality.

Various oils can be used in Meditation and Yoga and many are used as Preventative medicine, to prevent colds, flus and other ailments.

Essential oils are used for those wishing to practice Natural health for their own well being by using all natural products.

Lately there are companies claiming their products are "Aromatherapy such and such". They advertise - as candles and various bath products.

PLEASE be aware that this is not "THERAPEUTIC AROMATHERAPY".

What they are advertising are "scents" that undoubtedly will make you feel good but may not be made with 100% Pure Essential oils but with artificial, man-made petroleum based fragrances.

They do not contain the Pure Plant Essence that has the true, natural, healing properties.


Essential oils are the subtle, volatile liquids that are distilled from plants, shrubs, flowers, trees, bushes and seeds.

An ancient process, oil distillation is a delicate and precise art that had been almost forgotten. Science is just now re-discovering the incredible healing power of essential oils, which are the life blood of the plant kingdom, and beginning to acknowledge their value.

Immune stimulating, Anti viral, Anti infectious, Anti-bacterial, Anti microbial, Anti-septic, Anti tumoral, Anti fungal, and Anti parasitic properties.


The history of aromatherapy goes back thousands of years. Although not called Aromatherapy until the early 1900's, Aromatic plants and essential oils were used in biblical times. (Think of the gifts brought to the new born.) Plant oils are mentioned several times in the Bible.

Cleopatra was also known to use essential oils in her perfumery. Ancient Greeks and Romans used the oils in their medical treatments. The Egyptians used aromatic plant essences to treat both physical and mental health problems. In the East, Chinese and India, doctors also knew the therapeutic benefits of plant essences.

Today's Aromatherapy and concepts began with a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse. It is he that coined the term "aromatherapie". He was convinced that the oils had antiseptic properties - more powerful than the antiseptics that were used at that time (1920's). He also knew that they had other important healing abilities.

While conducting an experiment in distillation he burned his hand and needing to cool it down, put his entire hand into a vat of pure lavender essential oil. The pain was gone almost instantly. Over the next few days his burn healed with no blisters, scars or infections. Thereafter he continued his research of this incredible phenomenon and uses of essential oils for other possible medical uses.


Aromatherapy can be used for treatments from acne (Rosemary and Geranium) and other skin problems such as eczema (Chamomile), dry, chapped (Rose, Lavender, neroli) , oily, insect bites, athletes' feet and other fungal infections (Tea Tree).

Respiratory ailments such as sinusitis (Eucalyptus, Lavender, Thyme, Peppermint) , bronchitis, coughs, sore throats, the common cold, the 'flu', other types of nasal congestion - which may be due to allergies (some essential oils used may be Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Roman Chamomile, Peppermint);

It can be used in mouth washes for bad breath (Myrrh) and toothaches (Cloves); for those suffering from head aches (Peppermint and Rosemary) and migranes, arthritis and joint pains (anise, black pepper, Marjoram, Ginger,) including backaches (massage with essential oils added to the massage oils), and everything in between.

Nursing homes and medical facilities are using Aromatherapy on Alzheimer's Disease (Bergamot ans Lavender) and other aging related health concerns - memory problems (Rosemary), agitation (Bergamot,Lavender, ylang ylang), nervous legs (Bergamot, Lavender).

Everyone benefits in the use of essential oils from babies to adults, even the family pet - great for deodorizing and disinfecting (pine oils and lemon).

The aroma has an emotional effect on everyone. From stress relief to being uplifting for fatigue relief (grapefruit), anti depression (basil, chamomile, grapefruit, rose, ylang ylang) and for grief (Rose, Marjoram), it can have a calming (Chamomiles) and relaxing effect especially for those troubled with insomnia (Lavender, Chamomile and Neroli); it is wonderful for meditation (Frankincense) and enhancing memory (Rosemary); some people feel it can be an aphrodisiac; it can give relief to those troubled with PMS (prementral syndrome), it can aid in digestion and and many more far to numerous to list.

What more can it do for you? Start by trying a few oils. Read a few books or study charts and decoders. Those so inclined may want to experiment with perfume blending - come up with your own blends.


Read, Read, read, all you can, to get an idea on what all the possible uses of essential oils are and what oils may help you achieve the goal you wish to address, be it relaxation, becoming more alert, anti microbial, etc.

The best idea is to get to know 3 or 4 oils really well and what they can do. After that, try a couple at a time and pretty soon you will have a lot of oils, you will know about.

Make sure you get them from someone who is educated about essential oils and their uses. If you should ever have a doubt or a question - ask!!


Not when your are just starting out.

You can use oils on cotton balls, tissues, a handkerchief, on a pillow case (for a really good nights sleep).

A diffuser is a way to get the aroma out in the room.

There are different ones out there such as:

Scent rings, that fit over a light bulb (but these are very hazardous), as essential oils are flammable and the bulb does get very hot;

Scentballs plug into outlets, and Car Diffusers plug into your car lighters; both are very inexpensive and very efficient diffusers;

Tea light diffusers - these are usually ceramic with a tea lite candle under a bowl filled with water and a few drops of oil;

Electric Fan diffusers and atomizers- these devices release minute particles of essential oils into the air;

Passive diffusers - like little ceramic figures, vases or discs. Just put oil on them and they disperse in the air.


Many products have essential oils in them. Here are just a few:

Beverages and soft drinks: bitters, rums, wines, carbonated beverages cola drinks, root beers, drink powders

Preserves: fruit butters, jams. jellies (Peppermint)

Candies (Anise, Peppermint, Spearmint, Orange, lemon)

Rubber products: gloves, shower curtains. toys, waterproofing products Soaps: Detergents, laundry and household soaps, shampoos, deodorants, tooth pastes

Veterinary supplies: deodorants, dog and cat soaps, ointments, insect powders, cattle sprays

Diversified products: Optical lenses, candles, ceramics As you can see, we use them already in our daily routines.

Continued on Next page Click Here

© 1998, 2015, 2017 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

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