Introduction to Aromatherapy:
The word “Aromatherapy” in broad terms means therapy through aroma, without specifying the source of the aroma. But, aromatherapy in practice are only essential oils, and no’ other form of aroma.
The great thing about aromatherapy is that it has so many aspects, which are complimentary to each other, and which may also overlap, but which are nevertheless distinct.
In professional medicinal practice, it is the substances or oils and their bio-chemical effects that are central, and in many home uses of essential oils it is the aroma that counts and the pleasure of the aroma is the main reason for using the oils. Aromatherapy must be unique in having so many facts, and in offering such a wealth of pleasurable, practical and therapeutic uses.
Aromatherapy is a truly holistic therapy, taking account of the mind body and spirit of the person seeking help, as well as their lifestyle, eating patterns, relationship etc.
History & A Bit of Background
Aromatherapy has its root in the most ancient healing practices of human kind.
The plants from which we now derive essential oils had been used far thousand of years before the technique of distilling oil was discovered.
The people in earlier times probably discovered by chance that some of the leaves, berries and roots they gathered for food made sick people feel better. or that their juices bushes or trees were thrown on the fire as may have
made people drowsy, or happy, or excited, or may be even given rise to ‘mystical’ experiences.
When the twigs of certain bushes or trees were thrown in the fire as fuel, the smoke produced might had aromas that might have made people drowsy, or happy, or incited, or may be even given rise to ‘mystical’ experiences.
If the same reinsertion was felt by all the people around that fire, and if the same thing happened next time that some things from the some bushes were burnt, then that bush would be possibly be regarded as ‘magic. Early man associated bad smells with disfavor of the God’s, illness and disease. A healthy person had a clean and fresh odour. Early man observed sick animals feeding on special herbs, and raw feeding on special herbs, and raw herbs recover their health, in this way they accumulated plant wisdom, the beginning of herbology. They discovered that herbs
and spices helped to preserved food, ailed in digestion, and enhanced taste. Herbs and aromatics became one of the few things important enough to carry, preserve and maintain.
Primitive man raw in every plant a gift from creator, a secret to be revealed, a plant ally to be cherished, a way coming back into health and favour of the gods.
Essential Oils & Aromatherapy:
Essential oils are natural, organic substances. They are like milk in a mother’s breast — a part of the plant, and yet a separate substance from the rest of the plant. As long as they are kept in proper conditions after distillation they will not lose their organic quality and hence their therapeutic value.
Although the properties of essential oils do represent herbs to a large degree, the oil may not contain all the chemical constituents of the herb but its vibration is similar and it usually turns out to have the same properties. The oil is not the herb, but speaks for the herb and has the same personality. The oil as its name implies, is more concentrated and
subtle than the herb, it acts on higher levels, and has a more pronounced emotional effect.
Why natural oils? Why not anything that smells nice whether it is natural or synthetic?
The answer is simply that synthetic, or inorganic substances do not contain any ‘life force’; they are not dynamic. Organic substances are those which are found in nature, like essential oils. ‘Organic’ also means ‘structural’, something which is characterised by systematic co—ordination of parts in one whole.
Nature has a structure which cannot be duplicated artificially. We can synthesise chemicals, but we cannot structure them to make something organic.
Take any fruit for example and put it through a juice extractor, you get juice out of one end and pulp out of the Other. Now, put the juice and the pulp back together again. Do you get the fruit back? The structure of the fruit is destroyed. and no scientist in this world can duplicate that structure. We now, know from experiments in Russia with Kirlian photography that every living, organic substance gives
off radiations. which can be seen as light.
This is a manifestation of ‘life force’ the power which gives life. We also know that inorganic substances, such as, drugs usually have unfortunate side-effects which are often cumulative, and may not become apparent for some years. Everything is made of chemicals, but organic substances like essential oils have a structure which only Mother Nature can put together. They have a life force, an additional impulse, which can only be found in living things.
It seems logical to suggest that the comparative harmlessness of organic substances has something to do with the filet that they are natural; that a man and a flower are both being sustained by the same life force, and are therefore in harmony, the organic structure of the flower renders it comparatively harmless to the organic body of the man; that the beneficial effect obtained from herbs is as much due to their life force (and their organic structure) as it is to their chemical constituents.
Can Essential Oils be Reconstituted?
Although the composition of most essential oils is complex, it is now possible to make a complete analysis of their chemical constituents. The oil can then be reconstituted by combining the same chemicals in the correct proportions. The only reason for following this process is that it can prove cheaper than using the natural oil.
The odour of reconstituted oils is never superior to that of natural oils; the reverse is usually the case. Neither, as one would expect. can they compare with natural oils as far as therapeutic potency is concerned.
Can Aromatics from Animal Sources be Used in Aromatherapy?
The tools of aromatherapy are natural, botanical essences and vegetable oils. We never use aromatics from animal sources, such as, civet, musk, and castoreum. Not only do these substances come from the intestines or sex glands of animals, but they necessitate the death or suffering of the animals involved. The vibrations of death and suffering have no place in healing. For the same reason we do not use fatty oils such as turtle, spermaceti (whale oil). and fish-liver oil. Needless to say, this goes hand in hand with the vegetarian principles of natural therapeutics.