I’ve been an aromatherapist since 1995. In recent years I studied aromathology which is not how oils work on the physical body as with aromatherapy, but rather a study of their compounds and potent volatility.
Essential oils have long been a major part of going to the spa or for a massage. I try to visit a massage therapist every month because working in the production barn at Norfolk Organics means being stood on my feet for long periods of time. It can also be quite strenuous when I’m lifting and packing away the contents of heavy boxes of organic supplies, so my shoulder muscles and arms become quite tense. I go through phases of having a favourite blend and currently I like Frankincense and orange, mixed in a base oil of meadowsweet macerate that works on an anti-inflammatory level.
Aromatherapy doesn’t replace orthodox medicine, although its roots were here longer than what is known today as traditional medicine. I see aromatherapy as a tool that helps enhance wellbeing both physically and psychologically, because using scents stimulates certain bodily responses. When performing aromatherapy, the goal should be to use essential oils to shift your mental state and assist the body's natural ability to regulate, heal, and balance itself. So where one may pop a tablet for a certain condition for a physical symptom (with no positive effect to the mind as in traditional medicine), aromatherapy works to treat not only the physical level (through the oil volatility), but also heals on an olfactory level, healing the mind too, through their scent. These 10ml bottles, in my opinion, are filled with potent, multi-faceted magic.
In addition to the above, essential oils work on the olfactory level because they stimulate the hypothalamus. This gland is what regulates important bodily functions, like sleep and emotional responses. Once the aroma reaches the hypothalamus, the stimulus of the oils’ scent travels through the limbic system and into the hippocampus, this is a part of your brain that's crucial for memory. Not only does this help us associate a certain scent with a specific memory, but this is also what allows the body to react to the healing scents of aromatherapy.
If a person is prone to anxiety, this can cause many other issues, including pain, hair loss, lowered immune system, skin rashes, and much more. By using essential oils to affect the part of the brain that supports the emotions and behaviour, we can bring about a greater balance to the whole person.
Essential oils don’t just have to be used in a diluted fashion upon the physical body, they can be diffused into the air by way of a burner or diffuser. Diffused oils can be used in a couple of ways. One of the ways is aerial diffusion. This is where essential oils are added in a mixture and placed in a diffuser, usually with a little oil, which emits the vapors of the oil and these permeate around the room. Another way is by direct inhalation. People suffering from insomnia may use oils in their bath and inhale the scents to ensure natural and peaceful sleep. Or if you have a cold then you may place a few drops of eucalyptus, (which is great for nasal congestion and has fantastic anti-bacterial properties), in to a bowl of hot water and, with a towel over your head to directly inhale the aroma.
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and some Indian tribes used essential oils for therapeutic purposes dating back some 6,000 years. They were used in perfumes, cosmetics, and certain drugs. More commonly they were used for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic, and for ritualistic purposes. There are many products on the market today that are being sold as aromatherapy. These products consist of synthetic fragrances which do not have the same properties as essential oils, so you need to understand the basics of essential oils and purchase them wisely, and from a reputable supplier. I try to buy organic oils if at all possible. Yes, the cost a great deal more, but boy do they smell superior.
The concentrated extracts which are taken from roots, seeds, leaves, or the blossoms of plants are how essential oils are made. The mix of active ingredients determines what the oil will be used for. The usual process to create aromatherapy essential oils is extraction through a steam distillation process. However, some other processes - like solvent extraction, carbon dioxide extraction, cold pressing are also popular methods of process.
I would actually love to explore a deeper realm of aromatherapy and that’s the process of creating my own hydrosols from a copper alembic still.
As an aromatherapist, I see the practice of using essential oils as a total life balancing process.
The simple act of relaxing your mind, breathing the healing scents in and allowing yourself to release the tension in your body is not to be underestimated. Once the mind is calm, the body can start to repair itself. It's truly amazing what a small drop of pure essential oil can do for your entire mind and body. Everything from alleviating pain so you can get back to your tasks, to helping you fight against illness, and helping you to look and feel your best - all of these are just a few of the amazing benefits of aromatherapy. Starting with your mind, and then your body, aromatherapy helps you balance your life naturally.
To book a Gua Sha Facial Chirapsia or an Eastern Head Massage, both using essential oils, please contact me. My treatment room is near Hingham, Norfolk.
Niki senior – Founder and Formulator of Norfolk Organics