“Aromatherapy is the power of “aroma”, through essential oils to improve your wellbeing “therapy”. Used in ancient cultures for thousands of years, the term aromatherapy was coined by a French perfumer and chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé in 1937. Now gaining it’s rightful place in the science and medical arena, it’s more relevant for our wellbeing than ever before.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the life of the plant, highly volatile fragrant chemical compounds.
Why do plants have them?
Over millions of years, plants have evolved with essential oils playing a key part in allowing them to survive and flourish. Aroma, as we see in humans is used to attract, such as insects to pollinate or conversely to defend, the aroma on citrus skin fruit repels predators. We even see oils collecting on leaves in harshclimates to protect against water loss.
The antimicrobial use of essential oils has been well documented, evergreen trees in forests release phytoncides that protect them from harmful fungi and bacteria. We use many of the essential oils for the same or similar applications they were initially used for by the plant from which they came.
How does Aromatherapy work?
It’s all about the aroma. Our sense of smell is established to be 10,000 times more acute than other senses. Scent travels faster to the brain than both sight or sound, and registers even faster than pain. The sense of smell is linked directly to the power and the deepest parts of the brain and the mind. Essential oils are incredibly volatile meaning they becomes gases and spread quickly, going directly to the ‘limbic system’ in the brain, this system is our primary response unconsciously controlling elements such as our breathing, here the aroma alters out brain chemistry.
So before you have even registered the aroma in your conscious brain, a cascade of reactions has already happened, both physical and hormonal such as releasing endorphins to boost your mood or relaxing the central nervous system to instil calm, having a holistic effect on your wellbeing.”