Saturday, February 11, 2017

Aromatherapy Pt 1

I thought a good place to start would be to explain what are aromatherapy, meditation and yoga.  How can they help us to be better & how to use them.  We’ll look at the different facets of them & how they intermingle to affect our balance & spirit.
This week we will talk about aromatherapy.  We’ll look at the different ways we can infuse the air around us with aromas.  We’ll look at how aroma oils have been used to   ease many discomforts.
I feel Wikipedia covers it best for our purposes: “Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds for improving psychological or physical well-being.
It can be offered as a complementary therapy or, more controversially, as a form of alternative medicine. Complementary therapy can be offered alongside standard treatment, with alternative medicine offered instead of conventional, evidence-based treatments.”
Aromatherapists, who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of therapeutic essential oils that can be issued through topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion to stimulate a desired response.
There is no good medical evidence that aromatherapy can either prevent or cure any disease, but it might help improve general well-being.”
That being said, let’s take a quick look at aromatherapy history. 
Aroma Therapy (fragrance treatment) has been used for more than 6000 years, but the term was only recently coined.
Fragrant oils such as myrrh, frankincense, cinnamon, cedarwood & juniper berry are all known for their use in Biblical times.
China has a medical book, dated around 2,700 BC, that contains over 300 different aromatic herbs & how they were used as cures.
Hypocrites (400 BC), Father of Medicine, believed that a daily aromatic bath & scented massage promoted good health.
It was in the early 1900’s when a French chemist accidentally burnt his hand & immediately immersed it in the nearest liquid.  That liquid happened to be lavender oil.  His  injured hand healed quickly, without infection or visible scar.  Since then there  have been numerous studies conducted on the healing powers of essential oils.
Now you may be wondering just what is an “essential oil”?  It’s the essence of the plant’s fragrance.  The oil is produced then held in specialized glands of the aromatic plants.  It is usually extracted by distillation or expression (cold-pressed). 
There are other methods, but these are generally considered to be the best methods & the purest oils.
Essential oils are divided into two groups.  Some oils consider “hot” or “inflammation”.  These are generally the spices.  Cinnamon, ginger, oregano, clove, even peppermint need carrier oils for any kind of topical use.
Others are considered “cold” or “hypo-function” oils. Flowers make up this group.  Lavender, gardenia, plumeria & lotus are some examples.  These aromas usually calm & soothe.  Usually anti-inflammatory, excellent when mixed with Epsom Salt & dissolved in a warm bath.
Other terms I will be using for these two groups comes from Ayurveda & Chinese medicines.  The hot oils are consider of the sun or agni.  The cool oils are of the moon or soma.  We’ll talk more about that at another time.
Please join me next week for the next installment on Aromatherapy.
Be Blessed to our next meeting.  LB

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