Aromatheray is the use of concentrated plant extracts (essential oils) in treating a large variety of physical, emotional and psychological conditions. Many of the modern medications are based on the 'active' ingredient in plant extracts but are synthesized in laboratories with the other parts of the plant that also have therapeutic value are ignored and left out of the product. By using essential oils you gain the therapeutic value of all parts of the plant extract and the value of the 'active' ingredient in its pure form.
Essential oils are not only used in health and healing but are also extensively used in the food industry as flavourings for many different types of foods.
When used for health essential oils are absorbed through your skin (massage, poultices, perfumes, baths) and
through your lungs (vaporisers, oil burners, steam inhalation), in this way entering
your body for a therapeutic action.
As essential oils are extremely concentrated its important to make sure that only the amount specified in each recipe is used as with some oils toxicity is possible and with others adverse reactions may occur, for example using too much of some essential oils in a massage oil may cause skin irritations.
Each person has a very individual sense of smell and its important to use the oils that you find attractive. Its of no value using an oil that you don't like as you will not achieve the therapeutic value that you're looking for. Personally, I find the smell of chamomile and clary sage cloying and very unpleasant. Both of these oils are extremely valuable in reducing stress and anxiety and for aiding sleep and lifting depression. Other people love the smell of them and use them extensively. If a reciepe has an oil that you don't like then you can substitute it for another with a similar therapeutic value and still achieve the desired result.
There is a subtle difference between brands of oils in their aroma. I currently use 8 different brands of oils which I've selected after smelling all the different brands available. Recently I purchased a brand of Palmarosa which, to me, doesn't have that light acrid smell to it. It really does pay to shop around and smell as many different brands of oils that you have available to you before selecting which one you will purchase.
At all costs avoid any oil that is marked as 'scented oil' or 'fragrant oils' as these oils are manufactured and do not have plant extracts in them. They have no therapeutic value at all and the contents are unknown. Use only those oils that are marked as 'Essential Oils', the higher the quality the better.