How Aromatherapy Works
Aromatherapy is the skilled use of essential oils to enhance a person's physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.Essential oils are the volatile aromatic molecules inside various parts of the plant, giving each a distinctive scent. The six main sources for essential oils are
- flowers, and
Essential oils are believed to be effective because the molecules are small enough to pass through the mucous membranes in our noses as well as through our skin. When odors are inhaled, the receptors located at the top of the nasal cavity in the olfactory bulb signal nerves to carry this information to various parts of the brain including the limbic system. The limbic system, which is part of the hypothalamus, monitors a person's emotions and responses. The hypothalamus also affects the functions in the body through the autonomic nervous system and regulates hormones released in the pituitary gland. It is in the hypothalamus that odor formation is perceived and scent perception occurs.
Essential oils also travel below the skin surface to fatty areas and through the blood stream. Applying essential oils through the use of warm towels or baths helps to accelerate the rate of absorption. They can also be mixed with massage oil and applied directly to the skin or combined with water and sprayed on clothing or bed linens.
Selecting Essential Oils
The best way to gain knowledge about essential oils is by smelling a variety of oils to determine if they are right for you. Make sure to visit our Therapeutic Essential Oil table to find out more about essential oils and their properties.