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Aromatherapy Information

Getting Started with Aromatherapy?

Here's a little primer for the beginning to intermediate student of this practice, with some important notes about essential oil safety - There are three traditional methods of using essential oils for 'aromatherapy', which have been termed the English, French and German models.

Topical application is the preferred method of use for many essential oils. However, MOST essential oils require significant dilution (often to less than 3% of the total volume) as they can cause skin irritation. Lavender Oil and Chamomile Oil are two essential oils that can be applied 'neat' or without dilution; others, such as Cinnamon Oil and Oregano Oil should never be applied topically undiluted - they may be applied once highly diluted to the bottoms of the feet. A VERY small amount should be tested first.

Discussion of Different Models

The interesting thing about topical application is that essential oils tend to pass through the skin fairly readily, as they are lipotropic (fat soluble) and their molecular structure is fairly small. In this manner, their possible effects can be targeted - if one has digestive trouble, rubbing Peppermint Oil diluted in a carrier oil (a pure vegetable or nut oil) into the abdomen may help. In the same way, rubbing Chamomile Oil or Lavender Oil into the solar plexus (bottom tip of the sternum) may help relieve tension.

French Model

The French model consists of ingestion and 'neat' or undiluted topical application of essential oils. Perhaps these somewhat bravado methods are a result of the French producing some of the world's finest Lavender oils - also considered one of the safest oils in aromatherapy. As in the English model, essential oils will easily pass through the skin and into the bloodstream. Many individuals directly apply oils such as Frankincense, Sandalwood and Myrhh to their temples to enhance meditation, for example.

German Model

The German model is that of inhalation, where the essential oils will directly affect the lymbic system, and the intimately associated emotional and hormonal systems. Oils are often diffused in a cold-air diffuser, warmer or oil lamp - these tools disperse tiny droplets of essential oils in the surrounding air. When inhaled, the oils connect directly to the nervous system's chemical sensors. Certain oils that are high in sesquiterpines such as myrrh, sandalwood, vetiver and frankincense oils, have been noted to dramatically increase activity and oxygenation in certain areas of the brain when used this way.

With inhalation go slowly and start with a small amount - essential oils are effective in very low doses. You will know when you've had enough - we tend to notice a distaste for the smell or even a mild headache coming on if the concentration of certain oils in the air has gotten too high.

Inhalation is often effective for mood - altering effects of essential oils; Rosemary for mental 'stimulation', Lavender for relaxation, etc. These effects are a result of essential oil components on the lymbic system of the brain - which again is closely tied to the emotional centers to this.

   
   

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