Aromatherapy is the art of using essential oils for healing. It consists of using highly concentrated extracts from certain varieties of trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, roots and flowers. It is the most concentrated form of herbal energy available.
Its actions range from medicinal and cosmetic to psychological, affecting both states of mind and our emotions.
Different oils specifically affect various organs and bodily functions. Many boost the immune system and some affect our hormones as well. They can sedate or stimulate the body and mind in different ways and sometimes do both at the same time to create balance.
Many oils have a strong impact on our attitudes and reactions. Certain oils can enhance receptivity, meditation and clear the chakras.
The effects range from quite noticeable physical changes to very subtle effects like the Bach flower essences and homeopathy.
The sense of smell acts mostly on a subconscious level.
Olfactory nerves run from the bridge of the nose to the brain itself, acting like an extension.
As aroma particles float into the nostrils and make direct contact with the nerves, they spark off a reaction in the brain. This links into the Limbic System, the center of emotions and memory. This also affects our basic instinctual drives and automatic responses.
Through the limbic system the hypothalamus and pituitary glands are stimulated. This causes reactions in the autonomic nervous system, affecting nerves, hormones, body temperature, appetite, thirst, digestion, insulin production, stress, repulsion and sexual arousal.
We all have a highly developed scent communication we are mostly unaware of. Subconsciously it can affect influence how we are attracted to a mate or repulsed by another person, without knowing why. Women living or working together will find their menstrual cycles will often synchronise after a while.
Certain aromas can bring good or bad memories, that relate to associations with past experiences or lovers when certain cooking smells, perfumes or environmental scents were present reminding us of a person or event that strongly affected us in our lives.
Please observe the following guidelines for using oils, and do not use toxic oils unless prescribed by a qualified aromatherapist.
|Toxic oils to avoid||Wormwood, wormseed, thuja, hyssop, rue and sassafras oils|
|Continual use of these oils may cause side effects or irritate the skin if not sufficiently diluted||aniseed, camphor, cassia, clove oil, cinnamon,fennel, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, pennyroyal, pine , age and wintergreen.|
|Oils to generally avoid during pregnancy||aniseed, armoise(mugwort), arnica, basil, clary-sage, cypress, fennel, hyssop, juniper, marjoram, myrrh, origanum, pennyroyal, peppermin sage, thyme and wintergreen oils as they can either harm mother or child. Some may induce menstrual flow, risking miscarriage.|
|During the first 3 to 4 months avoid||fennel, peppermint, rose and rosemary oils. Jasmine, lavendar and chamomille oils are to be used in small amounts only. Also avoid drinking peppermint tea.|
|In the last few months lavendar and rosemary oils are great in a massage blend to relieve backpain.
Clary-sage, geranium, lavendar, rose-geranium and jasmine are great to have on hand for the birth. Clary-sage aids contractions and the respiratory system, while geranium calms and is great after the birth.
|High blood-pressure||Do not use any blend containing hyssop, rosemary, thme or sage.|
|Epilepsy||Fennel, hyssop, sage and wormwood (often contained in herbal preparations against parasites) can trigger an attack|
|Skin||Basil, black pepper, cinnamon, citronella, fennel, fir, lemon, lemongrass lemon verbenna, melissa, nutmeg, parsley, peppermint, pimenta, tea-tree and thyme oils may irritate the skin and if used, must be diluted as 1-2% in a carrier oil. In baths use only a drop and mix thoroughly in milk or water before adding. Take the same precautions with any other citrusy or minty oils. If you have very sensitive skin………avoid altogether.|
|Photosensitive oils, to avoid wearing in the sun||angelica, bergamot, cumin, lemon, lime orange and verbenna.|
By Mirella Parry
This information has been provided by Mirella Parry of the Magical Garden in Byron Bay