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Introduction to Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

A Kashmiri Muslim collects saffron flowers at a farm in Pampore, about 20 kilometers (13 miles) south of Srinagar, India, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. The stigma of the mauve flower is used as an aromatic herb around the world. It takes 75,000 flowers to produce a pound (0.45 kilogram) of saffron, an expensive spice used for colo
A Kashmiri Muslim collects saffron flowers at a farm in Pampore, about 20 kilometers (13 miles) south of Srinagar, India, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. The stigma of the mauve flower is used as an aromatic herb around the world. It takes 75,000 flowers to produce a pound (0.45 kilogram) of saffron, an expensive spice used for colo
AP Photo/Dar Yasin

Essential oils are pure herbal extractions in highly concentrated forms, which are used for psychological and physical well being.  Essential oils provide a feeling of internal warmth and security, which is directly linked to the idea that, when used as aromatherapy, they can treat emotional conditions.  This phenomena occurs because of the belief that pleasant aromas cause the brain to trigger a positive reaction.

The purpose of aromatherapy and the use of essential oils is to promote a feeling of well being, to create harmony.  

Can you remember walking down a street when you were a young child, and passing a neighbor's front garden that was dotted with lilacs and lilies of the valley on a warm summer day?  Certainly, the smell of those aromatic scents today may well trigger pleasant and perhaps nostalgic memories of the past, thus creating a feeling of calm throughout your being.   

Regaining total calm reduces stress, and allows for an increased balance of overall well-being.

Aromatherapy is also used to purify the air, and to help stop the spread of bacteria.  This is done by diffusing essential oils and oil blends directly into the air through various apparatus, such as diffusers.

Essential oils can also be applied topically onto the skin with the addition of a carrier oil.  Essential oils must be blended with carrier oils in proper proportions prior when used on direct skin application.  Carrier oils can be olive oil, almond oil, and various other oils that are specifically used to blend with essential oils.  When applied  in this manner, the oils are absorbed into the blood stream and act as a type of external herbal medicine.  

NEVER apply oils directly on the skin, and NEVER apply oils near the eyes.   Always check with your health care provider or medical professional before applying essential onto your skin.  This is especially true for anyone who suffers from skin conditions or who has sensitive skin.

Thoroughly wash hands after touching essential oils.  NEVER ingest essential oils.  They are medicinal in nature and should be treated as such.  Keep essential oils away from children.  These are medicinal in nature and must be treated as any other toxic substance.  

Although children may benefit from aromatherapy, it is not recommended to expose children directly to essential oils.  Indirect contact, such as applying eucalyptus in a diffuser to benefit inhalation of a scent when a child is congested may be helpful; always check with a pediatrician, your health care provider or medical professional before using essential oils within proximity of a child.

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