Aromatherapy is the practice of using pure essential oils for their therapeutic, healing and aromatic properties for health and wellness.
How Did The Use of Aromatherapy Begin?
The word “aromatherapy” is derived from the Latin word aroma, and the French word thérapie.
In the 1920’s, a French chemist and perfumer by the name of René-Maurice Gattefossé became interested in the use of essential oils for their medicinal properties after he burned his arm. He grabbed lavender essential oil and put it on the burn to discover it healed quickly and no scar was left.
This event led to his ongoing study of the use of essential oils for medicinal purposes.
It is Gattefossé that is credited with coining the term aromatherapy in 1928. Gattefossé wrote a book called Aromathérapie: Les Huiles essentielles hormones végétales that was later translated into English and named Gattefossé's Aromatherapy.
It is still in print today and is an excellent read for anyone interested in Aromatherapy.
Even though Gattefossé coined the word aromatherapy, essential oils have been used in healing for millennia; there are records of their use by Babylonian physicians as early as 5000 BC. Similarly, for Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine from 2000 BC, as well as Biblical passages that speak of their healing properties.
In today’s world, essential oils are used for Aromatherapy (and other Holistic practices), perfumery, flavoring, spiritual rituals and a natural lifestyle.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids obtained from plants (bark, roots, buds, bulbs, seeds, leaves, flowers, fruit, skins, trees) that have the plants characteristic properties and aromas.
Essential oils are believed to carry the “essence”, the soul or the life blood of the plant as they have the plants unique blueprint. Essential oils are produced by steam, hydro-distillation or mechanical pressing of the raw plant matter.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
- From an aromatherapy perspective, people respond to the sense of smell on an emotional level more strongly than any other sense. For example, a single smell of an aroma can trigger a whole string of forgotten memories.The area of the brain associated with smell is the same area that is associated with memory.The olfactory nerves are located within the nasal cavity and respond to particular aromas.They send the information to the part of the brain where memory and emotions lie.This area connects with other parts of the brain (hypothalamus and pituitary gland) which governs our hormonal systems.Aromas trigger a variety of chemical actions within the body, including the release of specific chemicals.As an example, Enkephalin and Endorphins reduce pain and create a feeling of well-being. Serotonin helps relax and calm... Because the olfactory nerves are a direct extension of the brain’s limbic system, reaction to smell is relayed immediately throughout the body.Many spas use essential oils when giving a massage as they understand the immense benefit to the mind and body.
- From a health and wellness perspective, essential oils are used topically for many health issues. Tea Tree essential oil is widely used for toenail fungus, acne, herpes, gum disease, dandruff and many more concerns.In World War II, it was standard in soldier’s first aid kit! Eucalyptus essential oil is used for warding off colds and flu. Lavender is used for burns and troubled skin.The list goes on.As many plant species as there are that is how many essential oils there are…and they each have their own unique healing properties.Today, we are seeing people use essential oils in every aspect of their lives.The onset of chemical sensitivity has driven many people to look for natural solutions by eliminating chemicals in their daily life, including making their own household cleaners using essential oils.
There Is A Counterfeit!
Now, don’t get confused and think that everything that smells nice is an essential oil. Quite the contrary…. Essential oil is very expensive to produce. It takes a large amount of plant matter to make even a single drop of essential oil and the process is very laborious.
Most all products that you buy on the market today are made with synthetic chemical substances called ‘fragrances” or “natural fragrances” (derived from natural and synthetic sources but are not essential oils).
These substances contain many chemicals, including Phthalates (which make a fragrance last longer). Scientific studies show that Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and have been linked to allergies, asthma, reproductive-health issues and many more illnesses.
These fragrances have no healing or therapeutic value but rather cause harm to the body. Fragrances are very inexpensive to manufacture and that’s why companies use them!
Check your labels on anything that you buy that has a smell to it…you’ll be surprised at how many products you use on a daily basis that contain harmful chemicals.
There has been a great deal of research done by many countries over the years but not much has been done to eliminate the use of these chemicals in the products we buy. Here’s a link if you want to know more about Phthalates.
Not to confuse you anymore…but there are many companies who market that they use essential oils in their products (the label will read "made with essential oils"….and don’t get me started on labeling laws!). Or that their product is "all natural".
We have even seen companies sell synthetic fragrance oil as pure essential oil!
A quick way to tell if it’s the real deal is if the label states 100% Pure Essential Oil or contains the botanical name, which is usually in Latin.
Anything on a label that reads “fragrance”, “natural fragrance” or just essential oil is usually a chemically derived counterfeit!
So How About Plantlife?
Plantlife’s mission statement in 1994 was “for people and planet” (yes, way before it was cool to be green). We really care about the products we manufacture because they are made for you!
Plantlife’s products are made with 100% pure essential oil and fresh, pure, natural ingredients (no harmful chemicals, just everything natural, nothing synthetic).
The bottom line…you get the highest quality products which actually nourish the body. They bring life…yes plantlife, to your daily health and wellness lifestyle. Everything we make contains the healing, therapeutic values of pure essential oil.