Aromatherapy refers to the therapeutic use of essential oils to affect a living organism on a physical, mental, emotional and energetic level.

Essential oils

Essential oils are not essential, nor are they oils; they are the concentrated extracts of plants. An essential oil is the name given to the highly concentrated liquid extract from a plant. They can come from the leaves, petals, stems, barks, nut kernels, stalks, gum, resin, fruits or the roots of plants. Essential oils are obtained through either water or steam distillation, solvent extraction or cold press. They are phenomenal healing tools and are the oldest form of natural plant medicine in existence.

How They Work

Essential oils directly influence the brain and the nervous system through either the limbic system of the brain (via the olfactory bulb via inhalation) or transdermally (application to the skin). They can also be ingested but this is a little controversial and has shown to be the least effective way of using essential oils.

Aromatherapy is most often enjoyed through the application of organic carrier oil containing a small percentage of essential oils applied to the skin (this of course has the added benefit of also working through the olfactory area because the EO’s are also being inhaled). Their teeny tiny molecular structure allows them to penetrate the skin easily and mix with our fatty tissues, lymph system and blood stream. This is how they affect the entire human physiology.

What They Do

Essential oils are very powerful antioxidants and have antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. They support the immune system by providing oxygen and nutrients to the cells. They can be described as biotic, meaning that they strengthen living tissues while destroying harmful bacteria. Essential oils are true adaptogens and assist in keeping our stress levels and subsequently our nervous system in check.

 Aromatherapy and Detox

Essential oils are incorporated into all my detox protocols for several reasons. Mainly, they are so helpful in assisting the nervous system to stay in the parasympathetic mode, the only state the body can detox and repair. Essential oils can also be very affective in deep sleep promotion, another detox essential. Essential oils also have an incredible way of stimulating our lymphatic system when applied to the skin, our largest organ or elimination, a key focus point. Finally, they strong antibacterial + biotic qualities assist the body on a deep level to rid of the unwanted and noxious while fortifying and replenishing the foundation.

Aromatherapy, Secondary Nutrition + The Ayurvedic Perspective

We can be “fed” in so many ways. This means we can also feel satiated through means other than food. I strongly encourage the exploration of this concept while we change our relationship with food. The expansion into this awareness is extremely enjoyable and fun to explore. Here is one of my favorite quotes on the topic: “Diet is defined through Ayurveda as something you take in from any field of perception, from any mode of intellect. What this simply means, is that when you are looking at your food, you are looking at 1/5th of your diet. You take in what you touch, what you smell what you feel, what you hear and what you think. Everything that goes in becomes a part of your nutrition”. Dr. R.E. Svoboda