Alternative Medicine

An Introduction to Aromatherapy – Various Techniques

Posted by Alternative Medicine on September 6, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

The science of aromatherapy is very old, as people used essential oils from ancient times to treat their health problems and improve their appearance. Still, the term was only introduced in the 20th Century, when this science was officially recognized as extremely efficient in promoting the psychical and physical well-being.

Thus, an introduction to aromatherapy should start with the ancient times, when Chinese and Egyptians used plants extracts for cosmetic purposes but also for balancing their mind. The first perfumes were made of essential oils mixed with different vegetal extracts and lots of ancient civilizations used these products for embalming the dead people.

Nowadays, aromatherapy is mainly used for treating various health problems and relaxing the body and mind. The main forms of practicing this science are through inhalation and topical application. While in the first technique the patient doesn’t have a direct contact with the oil in the second practice the product is applied on the skin, being quickly absorbed and starting to exert its effect inside the body as well.

Regardless of the chosen method, it’s important for the used oils to be perfectly pure and undiluted, as through this process their properties may be affected. However, for financial reasons, lots of producers mix the essential oils with different chemicals, making them less efficient.

An introduction to Aromatherapy techniques

  • Inhalation involves smelling the oils directly from the bottle or mixing them with hot water and putting the liquid in an opened bowl in the aromatherapy room.

Another technique involves lowering your face over the bowl, covering your head with a bowel and maintaining this posture for few minutes. During the procedure you have to breathe deeply in order for the oil to do its action.

Then, you can use a device for dispersing the oil into the air or you can opt for a humidifier, which should be used together with a tissue on which you sprinkled a few drops of essential oil.

  • Topical application in aromatherapy involves applying the oil directly on certain areas of the body, such as the neck, upper back, on the crown of the head, temples or abdomen. Also, the essential oils can be applied on ankles and over the vital organs, depending on the purpose for which aromatherapy is used.

Usually, 2-3 drops of natural oil are place in the palm of the practitioner and then applied through circular motions on the skin. Rubbing and other massage techniques are also efficient in speeding up the absorption of the oil into the skin.

The particularity of this technique is that the oil has to be diluted and never applied in its concentrated form, as it passes into the bloodstream very fast and may lead to an allergic reaction. Although most essential aromatherapy oils are safe, this problem is quite common among uninformed users.

Then, essential oils applied locally make the skin absorb the ultraviolet rays faster than normal and this also causes various problems, among which sunburn is the most common. This side effect is called photo toxicity and can be easily avoided by diluting the oil before applying it on the skin.

Welcome to the home of the best aromatherapy oils you’ll ever need!

Using Essential Oils to Enhance Your Life

Posted by Alternative Medicine on July 13, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

The use of essential oils dates back to ancient times. Our ancestors used these wonderful essences for perfumes and cosmetics, medicinal purposes, incense, religious ceremonies and rituals, and culinary purposes. Essential oils are derived from plants primarily through steam distillation and some through methods of solvent extraction. They are highly concentrated, therefore, small amounts of the oils are sufficient for use in various applications. For this reason it is recommended that the oils not be used directly on the skin. Instead blend them with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil or any of the other vegetables oils available utilizing a ratio of 1-3% essential oil.

Lavender and tea tree oil are two oils that be used neat or directly on the skin. It is recommended that a skin test be done prior to using these oils neat by placing one or two drops on the skin and waiting 24 hours for any possible reactions that may occur.

Therapeutic oils are those that are pure meaning they are not diluted with a carrier oil such as a vegetable oil and are taken from the first pressing of the twigs, bark, leaves, stems, or flowers. Almost all essential oils have bactericidal properties such as being antiseptic, antimicrobial, diuretic, antidepressant, antispasmodic and more.

As those who have used essential oils in the past know, sometimes you may purchase an oil and find that at some point in the future that same oil that you purchase in the future may have a different scent or effect or even a different price. A number of factors, including the skill of the distiller, growing region, climate, and variations in cultivation and harvesting will influence the quality and character of the finished oil. Environmental factors are sometimes conditions growers have no control over. Distilling essential oils is more closely related to producing a fine wine than to making a standardized fragrance: both are dependent upon the interplay between humans and nature.

I have used essential oils for many years due to their healing capabilities and generally because they nourish my body, mind and soul. I utilize them in place of chemical drugs for healing due to the numerous side effects and toxins that result from drug usage, as a natural insect repellent, for cleaning my home naturally, for cleansing and purifying the air, for wounds and injuries, for relaxation and meditation, for massage, in the bath for detoxification, sore muscles, illness, and scent. Of course, please consult your medical practitioner before using essential oils in place of any prescribed drugs you may be taking.

Oregano Oil and Its Powerful Antiviral Properties

Posted by Alternative Medicine on June 22, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

The Greeks called it “joy of the mountain,” and the Italians called it a natural “flavor enhancer,” which eventually became a signature ingredient in Italian recipes.

Oregano has been used by tribal healers for over 5,000 years. Ancient medicine men believed oregano could cure fungi and bacteria as well as eliminate pain and inflammation. The Greek goddess Aphrodite reputedly created oregano as a symbol for happiness so bridal couples were crowned with garlands of oregano, and plants were placed on tombs so the departed could find peace in the next life.

Modern researchers have discovered numerous benefits when oregano oil is used in food recipes because it has the ability to stop the growth of microbes, which can cause several gastrointestinal issues. That ability has made it one of nature’s finest preservative. The mineral and vitamin content of the oil is impressive with iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, boron, magnesium, copper, and manganese being the main minerals, and vitamins C, A, (beta carotene) and niacin enhancing the mineral content.

It’s not just the minerals and vitamins that make oregano oil such an important antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory substance, it’s the oils within the oil that produce some amazing qualities. The carvacrol in oregano oil is effective against salmonella, Escherichia coli, and listeria monocytogenes. The thymol has antiseptic properties, and the terpenes in essential oils are found in several plants and flowers, and those oils have antibacterial properties.

The rosmarinic acid in the essential oil has antihistamine and antioxidant properties, plus it can reduce free radical cell damage, which lowers the risk of cancer and atherosclerosis. The naringin in oregano oil is a powerful antioxidant. It can inhibit cancer cell growth, and the tocopherols like vitamin E found in the oil are incredible antioxidants as well.

All of the chemical compounds in oregano oil help it produce amazing aromatherapy results. This ancient oil helps the internal as well as the external cells function normally. According to Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs, oregano oil can help reduce fevers, bronchitis, cramps, childhood diseases like the mumps and measles, and it also helps regulate irregular menstruation. One of the most important uses for oregano oil is to prevent cell damage cause by free radicals, which are the unstable oxygen molecules that steal electrons from other molecules.

The antiviral properties of the oil go hand-in-hand with free radical control. Viruses attack damaged cells and take control and destroy them. The essential oil helps the immune system destroy the viruses so the cells can regenerate and begin to function normally.
Michael D. Thompson, an organic perfumer and accredited Master Herbalist, is the founder and director of Florapathics, LLC which manufactures all-natural, organically-derived personal care products that are infused with pure essential oils for aromatherapy.

Pure Rose Oil and Benefits in Spa Facial Treatments

Posted by Alternative Medicine on June 17, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

The rich perfumed fragrance of a rose is unmistakable. The aroma of the rose has enamored cultures around the world for centuries. The first rose came from a Persian garden, and the bush quickly spread around the ancient world. The Romans used rose petals when they had extravagant banquets, and they extracted the oil for medicine and perfumes. The rose symbolized love, passion, innocence, and desire as well as beauty, elegance, and grace.

In Greece, India, and Egypt roses were macerated in hot fat. Fragrant pomades were the end products and they were shaped into a cone, which was placed on top of the head. When the sun melted the fat, fragrant rose scented oil would trickle down the face and the scent would linger all day.

The healing qualities of rose oil are as remarkable as its beauty and fragrance. The English physician Culpepper wrote that red roses strengthen the heart, back in the 17th century. He could have meant the physical action of giving a rose, but anyone who has be exposed to the aroma of a rose or rose oil and inhaled it as an aromatherapy oil knows that the heart is strengthened emotionally as well as spiritually by rose oil.

Culpepper wrote about the astringent properties of rose oil and recommended it for tired eyes and headaches. He suggested a rose ointment to relieve red pimples that embarrassed and annoyed folks back then. Today rose oil is used in lotions, creams, and oils for its bactericidal and anti-viral properties, along with other essential oils. Rose oil and rose water are used to cleanse and refresh dry sensitive skin.

The difficulty of extracting the oil from the plant has always been an issue. One rose blossom only contains 0.02% oil and that makes the essential oil expensive. It takes about 40,000 pounds of rose blossoms to produce one pound of rose oil. Even though the oil is expensive it’s a great investment, especially in aromatherapy sessions.

Some rose oil aficionados claim that the best rose otto oil comes from Bulgaria. The oil is distilled from newly opened flowers that are picked in the cool mornings. Distillation is done in two phases. The first phase produces a little concentrated green oil and a lot of rose water. The second phase distills the rose water, and the result is yellow oil that’s combined with the green oil to produce the final essential oil. Most of the rose absolute, which is used in perfumes, is harvested and extracted in Morocco using a hydrocarbon solvent. Most aromatherapists prefer rose otto oil because the rose absolute extraction process has an impact on the therapeutic properties in the oil.

Michael D. Thompson, an organic perfumer and accredited Master Herbalist, is the founder and director of Florapathics, LLC which manufactures all-natural, organically-derived personal care products that are infused with pure essential oils for aromatherapy.

The Many Uses of Essential Oils

Posted by Alternative Medicine on May 31, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

Essential oils extracted for therapeutic aromatherapy are potent natural remedies. These natural plant oils represent the life force of the plant. These extracted oils and aromatherapy can be very effective for many alternative medicine applications. Many common essential oils have medicinal properties that have been applied in folk medicine since ancient times and are still widely used today.

The oil is located in tiny secretory structures found in various parts of plants; leaves (eucalyptus), berries (juniper), grasses (palmarosa), flowering tops (lavender), petals (rose), roots (angelica), zest of fruit (orange), resins (frankincense) and wood (cedar).

The oils are captured by steam distillation, cold pressed or an alternative method called absolute. After the extractions, the oil is a highly concentrated liquid that contains the aroma and therapeutic properties if it’s source. The best essential oils are made up only of this oil extraction and nothing should be removed or added, especially if to be used for aromatherapy.

The chemistry of an essential oil is extremely complex This complex mixture of natural chemicals is what makes these oils such effective healing agents; for example eucalyptus oil is refreshing and invigorating – plus it is a very powerful antiseptic agent. This combination produces a unique set of therapeutic qualities.

The special oils have a wide range of healing properties that can be used effectively to keep you in the best of health as well as looking good. These health-giving benefits include improving the complexion of your skin by stimulating cellular renewal, fighting bacteria, fungi and other forms of infection and balancing your emotions. They re-establish harmony, revitalize systems and organs where there is a malfunction or lack of balance. They boost the immune system, making it strong enough to fight off the diseases attacking every day.

Essential Oils are absorbed into the body a couple of ways:

  1. When massaged into the skin, the aromatic oils are absorbed into the hair follicles and mix with sebum at the base. They are then diffused into the bloodstream.
  2. When the scent is inhaled, it enters the nose, moves to the lining of the lungs and is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Aromatherapy has an almost endless list of therapeutic uses. The essential oils can be applied by massaging or rolling onto the skin, diffused into the air, sprayed onto oneself or in the air or through candles or air fresheners.

There is a wide source of essential oils available. When purchasing look for organic oil product and ensure there are no additives to the product.

Where Do Essential Oils Come From?

Posted by Alternative Medicine on May 21, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

Where do all the essential oils come from? The simple answer is everywhere in the world. From around the corner to the a field in India and everyplace in between is where you will find the thousands of the essential oils available on the market.

Many of the essential oils which come from plants, trees, roots or types of grasses have a wide distribution across many continents. This is true with caraway, lemon balm, calendula, white birch, tarragon, celery, dill, cumin, lemongrass and hundreds of other essential oils.Then there are those other oils which are found only in a few areas such as sandalwood, lingonberry, cedarwood atlas, rosewood, citronella, peppermint eucalyptus, texas cedarwood, sweet birch, tea tree and hundreds more found all over the world.

All the essential oils that are cultivated such as lavender, rose, lemon, orange, ylang ylang, elemi, marigold, tarragon, parsley, dill and more than can be listed here were at one time wild harvested. Then when the demand increased for a particular plant and that type of plant was easily cultivated people began to grow the plants in large fields or groves.

There are some plant oils that do not do well being cultivated due to the growing cycle, slowness of growth or the susceptibility to pest infestation. These include rosewood, snakeroot, cajeput, peru balsam, myrrh and again many other plants & plant parts.

Except for the Antarctica essential oil plants are found on every continent on earth. The original uses of the essential oils throughout the world mainly had to do with health issues. The medicine man, shaman or healer did & still does use these indigenous plants to help heal and treat people of the tribe, town or general surrounding area.

In modern times there are the holistic practitioners, alternative Md’s and aromatherapists that utilize various essential oils to treat ailments from depression to gout and everything in between. Obviously you must do your own homework before relying on someone else to cure you. Look at the credentials of the practitioner before your entrust your future health to him or her.

Before you use an botanical oil please do careful research on the particular oil and it’s possible harmful effects. Just because it is natural does not mean it is safe! Two good reference books to use are “Essential Oil Safety by Tony Balacs & Robert Tisserand” and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless”.

It is imperative that do careful research to ascertain which distilled botanical oils are beneficial and which may be potentially harmful. All people will not react the same to the various essential oils but the extremely dangerous oils should be avoided at all costs.

All the hype on the internet should be looked at with the eye of a skeptic because either the ads and sites are just plain wrong and are recycling old information or they are just trying to separate you from your money. Aromatherapy seems harmless enough but when these scents are released into the ambient air it goes into your lungs and throughout your body. Nothing is totally harmless especially compounds that enter the body.

Cinnamon Bark Oil and Its Antiseptic Uses

Posted by Alternative Medicine on May 7, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

Ancient texts list cinnamon as an important ingredient in incense and in perfume making over 4,000 years ago. The Egyptians used it everyday thanks to its irresistible aroma and taste. The Hebrew Bible mentions cinnamon several times. Moses said the oil should be used in the holy anointing, and Proverbs mention it as a perfume for a lover’s bed. Cinnamon was also a component in Hebrew incense (Ketoret), and it was described in the Hebrew Talmud as ‘Haketoret.’

Cinnamon bark oil has always been a highly prized gift; it was given to monarchs and even gods like Apollo to express appreciation. Middlemen kept the source of cinnamon a secret in the Mediterranean region back in the early days because spice trading from Asia was so lucrative. They wanted to protect their monopoly at all costs, and that strategy work for years until the versatility of the oil continued to expand.

Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, but Vietnam, India, and Madagascar also cultivate cinnamon and steam distilled the inner bark to produce the essential oil. The Dutch gained full control of the cinnamon business in Sri Lanka in the late 18th century, but by that time other countries were cultivating the trees so the monopoly that existed for years was rapidly dissolving.

Sri Lanka still produces 90% of the world’s cinnamon. China, India, and Vietnam also produce substantial amounts of the spice, but the species are different, which means there is a distinct difference in quality when the bark of those trees is steam distilled.

The aromatherapy properties of cinnamon oil are well documented. Those properties include antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, digestive, carminative, and stimulant. The oil blends well with other essential oils like bergamot, benzoin, clove, cardamom, frankincense, grapefruit, ginger, lemon, marjoram, mandarin, nutmeg, orange, peru balsam, peppermint, rose, petitgrain, and vanilla.

  • The effects of cinnamon bark oil as an antiseptic have been overshadowed in recent years by other uses, like covering the disagreeable aroma of other oils as well as for relieving stomach cramps and other digestive issues.
  • Essential cinnamon oil has powerful antioxidant qualities as well as important antimicrobial properties so the antiseptic uses for the oil continue to amaze people who have not been exposed to any sort of aromatherapy treatments.
  • Recent research suggests that cinnamon oil impacts cell activity, and an anti-melanoma response results at the cellular level. More research is needed to support recent findings, but the preliminary results suggest a chemopreventive factor in colorectal carcinogenesis.
  • The oil from Chinese cinnamon is also playing a part in the treatment of type 2 diabetes so cinnamon essential oil continues to help alleviate human issues like bad breath, common cold prevention, and an assortment of antiseptic and antimicrobial issues.

Michael D. Thompson, an organic perfumer and accredited Master Herbalist, is the founder and director of Florapathics, LLC which manufactures all-natural, organically-derived personal care products that are infused with pure essential oils for aromatherapy.

Learning About Aromatherapy

Posted by Alternative Medicine on May 4, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments


There is one technique that combines the benefit of meditation and aromatherapy that provides relaxation to mind and body resulting to good health and stress relief. The procedure is so simple even for those who are new to this practice which they will find exciting and challenging. With the busy lifestyle, aromatherapy meditation helps you clear your mind from distractions. With the soothing scent that comes out from essential oils help you heal the mind, giving you inner strength.

Whatever health problems you have in mind and body caused by changes in the hormones or in the way of life you live, aromatherapy meditation could be a great help to calm your body system. It is a possible treatment without the use of medicines, thus avoiding the unwanted effects that could trigger complications.

Here are simple steps to enjoy the complete therapeutic effects of aromatherapy meditation.

1. Find a comfortable place or ideal atmosphere where there would be no distractions.

2. Light a stick of incense and focus on the smoke that curls upwards.

3. Just focus on watching and immerse yourself in the different patterns of smoke that takes out.

4. If some thoughts come to distract your mind, slowly bring back your attention to the trail of smoke and enjoy the moment.

5. For as long as you are able to do this technique, maintain the process even for few minutes, at first, a few sessions in a week, taking the availability of your time and the ability to focus. The length of time will increase as you enjoy the sessions.

Sometimes it is not just easy to relax the mind and dip into a meditation, and one technique to calm your mind and body is soothing the scent of essential oils. The lighted candle brings out the aroma of the oil of your choice. One great suggestion would be the use of lavender oil with health benefits of relieving pain, nausea, and nervous tension, enhancing blood circulation, and treating respiratory problems. Others may mix different scents of oil. These essential oils can be inhaled, massaged into the body or dropped in a bath.

Indulging in aromatherapy meditation, smelling the aromatic scents stimulates the regions of the brain that improves your mood. Medical studies show that this method is helpful with the following conditions like hair loss, itching, pain, insomnia, skin problems, agitation, and constipation. It also stimulates the immune system and gives positive effect on health conditions of cancer patients and other related quality-of-life issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety. Health benefits of meditation include increase in self-awareness, gaining new perspective, and reducing negative thoughts.

Aromatherapy – The Science of Scent

Posted by Alternative Medicine on April 23, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

Need to relax? Try lavender. Need a boost? Try spearmint. Chances are you’ve heard about aromatherapy. After all, retailers promote the therapeutic properties of scent in everything from candles to alarm clocks. In fact, its use is growing, especially in fighting stress, anxiety, fatigue, depression and anger. But how does aroma alter the way you feel scientifically?

It’s based on this simple premise: We all have a very strong sense of smell, and smell can trigger reactions in the brain. It’s not so much that a specific oil will relax or stimulate you as much as the aroma of a certain oil will help cause the brain to do it internally.

Unlike the other senses, which pass through several regions of the brain first, a whiff of fragrance travels from the olfactory track directly to the response center, leading researchers to conclude that smell has the most ability of all the senses to evoke an emotional response.

Over the centuries, people have learned what smells help trigger the body’s own defense and self-healing systems–what smells help the body relax, stimulate, arouse or heal itself.

There’s an evolutionary component to aromatherapy, too. Mammals are constantly enticed by fruit and flowers–their scent lets us know they’re ready to be eaten. We find their scents pleasing because we must eat them to survive.

Aromatherapy is the world’s gentlest form of medicine. It also happens to be of the oldest. It started more than 4,000 years ago, and was practiced in ancient Egypt, India, Greece and throughout the Arab countries.

This science of scents involves the use of essential oils–including bay, jasmine, chamomile and sandalwood–made by boiling down certain plants, roots, flowers and leaves. Modern science has discovered that, aside from producing powerful aromas that trigger the brain to perform certain actions, a number of the essential oils have definite antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Most libraries and health food stores have numerous books about the properties of various oils, how to use them and how much of each to use.

Oils can be mixed in different ways, and many health food stores sell them as preblended oil compounds. Keep in mind that the way you use the oils will have a major impact on how effective they are.

For example, massages can be very calming and relaxing all by themselves, but add an essential oil that promotes relaxation and the entire experience is enhanced. Likewise, a warm bath can soothe an aching body and an anxious mind. Drop in some lavender, ylang-ylang and rose absolute oil and your bath becomes a spa.

To retain the quality of your essential oils, buy small bottles. Air trapped in bottles can accelerate the deterioration of oils.

Dangers of Aromatherapy: Don’t Be Afraid

Posted by Alternative Medicine on April 21, 2011 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

Essential oils (E O’s) will tell you when you do something stupid. It just works that way. So don’t be afraid. Open up the bottle take some drops out – and use them.

My early days of aromatherapy were loaded with the don’ts – The two biggies are:
• Don’t use E O’s undiluted directly on the skin
• Don’t take E O’s internally

OK. So there I am, a budding aromatherapist sitting in a class with Dr Daniel Pénöel, the preeminent “doctor” and expert of aromatherapy – who was taking and suggesting internal use of essential oils and pouring copious amounts of essential oils on the back of his volunteer, some of which are in the big caution category of “hot” and irritating oils. OK. So what’s up with that?

– He’s breaking the rules. I was inspired.

To this day, over 20 years later, these “don’ts” are still big players in the aromatherapy rulebook. NAHA, the most enduring aromatherapy organization in the states, does not allow members, according to their membership form, who use E O’s undiluted on the skin or recommend internally. They also don’t allow members who use “Raindrop Therapy” a technique using E O’s named by the multi-level aromatherapy developer Gary Young. By the way, Raindrop Therapy is Young’s refashioned “Live Embalming,” Dr. Pénoël’s name for pouring copious amounts of undiluted oils on the spine. I guess that leaves Dr. Pénoël out of NAHA. Leaves me out as well. Yes, I do, when appropriate, use and recommend E O’s internally and use them directly, undiluted (or “neat”) on the skin. I “don’t” do Raindrop Therapy. Not interested in all that ritualistic stylizing. But, I will do Live Embalming, if not just for the fact that I like to say I use “copious amounts of essential oils.”

There is too much fear being placed with the use of E O’s. Don’t do this, don’t do that, this will hurt you and that will kill you. I don’t think so. One thing the mulit-level aromatherapy world has shown us is that the E O’s don’t abide by the rules. They’ll bite when necessary, but not according to our fears. Use them undiluted – no problem. Take them internally – no problem. But, just smell the beautiful no contraindication essential oil of lavender and break out in a hellacious rash. There are reason’s for this and other types of E O unexpected oddities. E O’s have their own rules. Often inconsistent, hard to define, and individual. This is a topic for another blog.

Nature’s rules, not ours

Point is, nature does not care or abide by our rules. The “irresponsible” use of E O’s by French Aromamedicine and the more recent multi-level armies have proven that. Essential oils are safe and can be used with awareness and respect in any way you want – even if that awareness is not supported by the aromatherapy establishment. When you do something stupid the oils will let you know, like my example of using cinnamon in the bath. I did dilute the cinnamon, just not enough. My parts were screaming, but are functioning quite nicely – no damage. The oils said I did something stupid, there was temporary irritation – I’m fine and won’t do that again.

There are contraindications and what can be called safety concerns when using essential oils – and possible irritation.

Use caution and awareness with essential oils – not fear.