Introduction to Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural plant aromatics, including essential oils, for both psychological and physical well-being. Essential oils are the pure aromatic essence of plants. They have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefit when used correctly and safely. Other natural plant aromatics including absolutes, CO2s and hydrosols are also commonly utilized in aromatherapy. Although essential oils, CO2 extracts and absolutes are distilled by different methods, the term essential oil is often used as a blanket term to include all concentrated, liquid, natural aromatics.
Aromatherapy also encourages the use of other complementary natural ingredients including cold pressed vegetable oils, jojoba (a liquid wax), hydrosols, herbs, milk powders, sea salts, sugars (as an exfoliant), clays and muds.
What are the Benefits of Aromatherapy?
Inhalation and Natural Room Fragrancing:
Essential oils that are inhaled into the lungs offer both psychological and physical benefits. Not only does the aroma of the natural essential oil stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction, but when inhaled into the lungs, the natural constituents (naturally occurring chemicals) of the oils can supply therapeutic benefit. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil, for example, can help ease nasal congestion.
Essential oils that are applied to the skin can be absorbed through the dermal layers into the bloodstream. Some essential oils can also improve circulation or act as natural anti-inflammatories. The constituents of essential oils can aid in health, beauty and hygiene conditions. Since essential oils are so powerful and concentrated, they should never be applied to the skin without first being properly diluted. To apply essential oils to the skin, essential oils are typically diluted into a carrier such as a cold pressed vegetable oil. Common carrier oils include sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil and grapeseed oil.
In addition to therapeutic benefit at the emotional and physical level, essential oils are helpful in other applications. Essential oils like frankincense, myrrh, juniper berry and helichrysum are amongst those that are often used for spiritual purposes. They can help to ground, calm and focus the mind during meditation. Essential oils can also be used in household and laundry cleaners. Some oils act as a natural insect repellent. You may recall using citronella candles during the summer to keep mosquitoes away. Citronella essential oil is the ingredient in the candles that is responsible for repelling the mosquitoes.
What Type of Holistic Aromatherapy Products are Available?
One of the many advantages of holistic aromatherapy is that consumers can both purchase pure essential oils and carrier oils to create their own aromatherapy products, or they can choose to purchase ready-made essential oil blends and other aromatherapy products:
- Single Essential Oils
- Carrier Oils
- Therapeutic Blends
- Spiritual Blends
- Diffuser Blends
- Other Aromatherapy Products
- Custom Aromatherapy Formulators
Products that include synthetic ingredients are frowned upon in holistic aromatherapy. Fragrance oils, also referred to as perfume oils (and usually listed as "fragrance" on an ingredient label), are not natural and are not the same as essential oils. Fragrance oils and perfume oils contain synthetic chemicals. They do not provide the therapeutic benefits that essential oils do.
The United States does not regulate the use of the word "aromatherapy" on product packaging, labeling or in product advertising. Any product can be marketed as a product suitable for aromatherapy. There is a growing number of commercial products containing unnatural ingredients including fragrance oils that claim to be aromatherapeutic. It's important to look at the ingredient label when seeking holistic aromatherapy products. For legitimate aromatherapy products, avoid those that contain any synthetics.
Also, use caution with marketing claims that state a product is "Made With Essential Oils" or "Made With Natural Ingredients." Claims like these can be misleading. Products that include these types of claims may contain heavy proportions of synthetic fragrance oils and may only contain a minute quantity of essential oil.
Don't let false marketing hype scare you away from the benefits of holistic aromatherapy. If using an all-natural product is of utmost importance to you, learn to read product labels and steer clear of those that list synthetic ingredients like "fragrance," or that don't list their ingredients at all.
Shop Confidently for Aromatherapy Products With Beauty By the Batch
Beauty By the Batch is a practical resource for assisting you in finding artisans that provide genuine, natural aromatherapy products. Begin your search for aromatherapy products by visiting the Aromatherapy category of Beauty By the Batch's Artisan Directory. Not only do the artisans that appear within the Artisan Directory support the efforts of Beauty By the Batch, but they have all agreed to adhere to Beauty By the Batch's Artisan Code of Conduct. By agreeing to our Artisan Code of Conduct, artisans agree to abide by truthful and accurate marketing as well as a number of other practices that are in the best interest of consumers.
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