Aromatherapy Definition - Aromatherapy Essential Oils

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is an alternative treatment, based on the use of essential oils of herbs, flowers and other plant parts. Aromatherapy is a contraction of the words and aroma therapy and state for treatment odors. Aromatherapy is mainly used for symptoms associated with stress, anxiety and insomnia. The smells would act on the subconscious and impaired nervous system back into balance.

Often administered through aromatherapy massage with essential plant oils, but also squirt or evaporation of the oils regularly occurs.

Within aromatherapy are different currents each having different approaches, methods and practices.

 Aromatherapy is an alternative treatment Aromatherapy Definition - Aromatherapy Essential Oils


As long as use is made of odorous substances in medicine. Essential oil is created since the late Middle Ages in Europe. The new dispensatory, a pharmacy manual from 1753 describes around a hundred different essential oils.

However, the aromatherapy as we know it is not very old.

In general, the Frenchman Rene Maurice Gattefosse is regarded as the founder. The story goes that he when walking up a burn by chance at a bottle of lavender essential oil grip to cool the burn. The burn would result heal faster and better than usual, and Gattefossé has deepened in the healing powers of essential oils. In 1936 he published the first book in this area titled "Aromathérapie".

The book he wrote about was in World War II in the hands of the French doctor Jean Valnet. Valnet applied certain principles from the book as an alternative to poorly or not prescription drugs. After the war Valnet worked this out further and wrote a book. From the 1960s the aromatherapy was first in France and later elsewhere foothold.


There are two ways to explain the alleged effects of aromatherapy. One is the influence of odor on the brains, especially in the limbic system through the olfactory system. The other is the direct pharmacological effects of the essential oils. According to the supporters can aromatherapy itself not cure conditions, but it helps the body to heal itself in a natural way and to improve the immune response.


Scientific research into the effects of aromatherapy is limited, although in vitro testing has revealed some essential oils have antibacterial and antiviral effects.

Some small-scale clinical studies of the effects of aromatherapy to show a positive effect (sometimes in combination with other techniques). Particularly in the context of care provided by nurses and caregivers attempts have been made to investigate the effects of aromatherapy as a means of improving the well-being. In that context reported successes in reducing anxiety and increase the quality of sleep in patients, hemodialysis patients and in patients undergoing angiography. Also, in the treatment of symptoms of menopause (in combination with massage) successes.

There is support for the use of peppermint oil and Ylang-Ylang for the improvement of memory and attention.

The use of aromatherapy for pain relief during childbirth, according to a Cochrane review insufficient evidence.

Also in other areas, there is no evidence that aromatherapy massage has therapeutic effects, other than the effect on well-being obtained with a pleasant-smelling massage. The consensus among most medical professionals is that even though some odors effects on mood and relaxation are demonstrated, which related benefits for patients may have, there is currently insufficient evidence to support additional claims for aromatherapy.


Application areas
Skin and Hair
  • Treatment of small wounds, for example lavender oil.
  • Treatment of fungi, for example, tea tree oil.
Muscles and joints
  • Treatment of muscle pain, for example, black pepper oil.
Heart and vascular system
  • High blood pressure could for instance work lemon oil.
  • Low blood pressure could for instance work rosemary oil.
Respiratory Tract
  • Against cough, mucus and the like one uses eucalyptus oil for example.
  • Treatment of stress, for example bergamot.
  • For example, a stimulant would be Ylang-Ylang.
The above examples are intended to be illustrative, since there are no fixed rules exist in the aromatherapy.

According to many aromatherapists is the self unwise to get started with aromatherapy. According to them should be a thorough study precede the use of essential oils. Essential oils for home use are freely available.

Route of administration
Aromatherapists themselves do not agree on the method of application (massage, inhalation, ingestion by mouth). Also, there is much disagreement about what oil should be used at a particular diagnosis. Treatment depends mainly on experience and knowledge of the aromatherapist and hardly based on scientific research.

  • Squirt: a device is used to squirt the ethereal oil in the air. In this technique, the oil is not heated. The disadvantage is that relatively little oil will be included because the vapor spreads in space.
  • Evaporation: In this case, the oil is heated until it evaporates. Usually, the oil is done in a little water, including for example, a candle is placed. This has the same disadvantage as squirt.
  • Inhalatiebad: This is a little essential oil in hot water done, the vapors are inhaled over this bath. It is much more of the oil absorbed than on evaporation or squirt into the space.
  • Aromatherapy candles : The wax is essential oil which included again released during burning. The disadvantage is that a part of the oil will burn.
  • Massage: Essential oils are added in small amounts to a carrier oil. This mixture is used to massage. As carrier oil fatty plant oils used, such as sunflower oil, almond oil and jojoba oil. The disadvantage is that only a limited number may be included of the components of the essential oil through the skin. In addition, the skin also allows the agents who can penetrate the skin (such as L-carvone and 1,8-cineol) but to a limited extent. Many aromatherapists, however, believe that the essential oil that is absorbed through the skin into the blood.
  • In bath: The oil is added to a bath oil or to a support and placed in oil bath. This has the same disadvantage as with a massage, although it will be absorbed by evaporation, in any case a portion of the oil through the lungs.
  • Oral: Since essential oils usually contain highly concentrated alcohol-like compounds that can irritate the mucous membranes, are taken orally at a maximum of 1 to 3 drops. For example, a droplet of essential oil on the tongue or in a capsule. The strong flavor of certain essential oils can be annoying. In addition, the digestion will make some of the inactive ingredients of the oil before it could do its work. Not all essential oils are used internally, some are too toxic or too strong irritant.

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