Aromatherapy - Janet Len


How Does Aromatherapy Work?

The essential plant distillates (essential oils) interrelate with the human body within four distinct modes of action, pharmacological (as phytopharmaceuticals), physiological (physically and chemically), psychological (affecting mental states and processes) and incorporeal (spiritual). Our body uses the aromatic molecules (essential oils) both (1.) through our olfactory system which is connected to the limbic system in the brain where our most primal feelings, urges and emotions reside, (2.) and by inhalation and skin absorption of the low weight molecular structure of essential oils. Aromatherapy works best within a holistic approach to wellness.

Is Aromatherapy New?

We know from the study of ancient manuscripts that priests in India some 4,000 years ago practiced aromatherapy very much like it is practiced today. Modern Ayurvedic medicine includes an aromatic component that has evolved from this ancient practice. Scent was very important to ancient Egyptians who used plant-oil infusions, gums and resins, as well as aromatic herbs and flowers in rituals, relaxation and skin care extensively in their culture. Modern aromatherapy, as we know it today, was revived in 1910 by the French chemist, Gattefosse, after having been badly burned in a laboratory explosion and plunging his arm into a nearby vat of lavender essential oil. The amazing speed of recovery and lack of scarring led him into a lifetime study of essential oils and their medicinal uses for skincare.

Can I Do This Myself?

Most essential oils have been approved as G.R.A.S. (generally regarded as safe when used by various trades at their normal levels of use). However, these standards were developed by the food and perfume industries and were not developed specifically for the use of essential oils in aromatherapy. Aromatherapy, as a medical healing modality, has been in existence in England and parts of Europe for quite some time, and the United States is fast developing a similar model, however there is at present no FDA approval for the use of essential oils medicinally. An individual can use essential oils themselves (self medication) provided they are thoroughly familiar with the uses, safety precautions and contraindications and have available thorough and accurately referenced information on the potential hazards associated with using essential oils.


Essential oils are very potent and strong concentrated plant constituents (chemicals). Always keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets. Do not apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin. Avoid contact with eyes and mouth and other tender mucous membranes. Essential oils are flammable and should be kept away from fire or flames. Some essential oils can cause dermatitis; always do a skin test with 2% dilution before applying to large area. Some oils are not recommended by use in infants and very young children, pregnant women, persons with epilepsy, hypersensitive individuals, just to name a few. Some essential oils can cause photosensitivity. Some essential oils may not work well when taking prescription drugs. Be well informed before you use any essential oil. When not used properly, essential oils can be harmful and they should never be used indiscriminately.

Essential Oils, when applied topically, can quickly affect every cell of the body. It appears that the Essential Oils derived from plants and human blood share many properties. The protein-like structure of both appears to enable Essential Oils to be readily identified and accepted by the human body.

Essential Oils have properties that appear to fight infection, contain hormone-like compounds and initiate regeneration. They also contain the key elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are metabolized like other nutrients, but unlike synthetic chemicals Essential Oils do not disturb the body's natural homeostasis or balance. Their effects can be long lasting and helpful for adults, children and family pets.

Essential Oils may be of benefit for a number of symptoms and conditions including:
   · Allergies and Mold
   · Digestive Problems
   · Fatigue
   · Hemorrhoids
   · Hormonal imbalances
   · Insomnia
   · Skin irritations
   · Stress
   · Trauma

Essential Oils only require a few drops to be effective because of their purity and high concentration. These oils are free of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides. When applied topically they penetrate instantly and are virtually undetectable to your nose and those around you.

Ancient records over the millennia describe the use of Essential Oils for medicinal applications and religious rituals. The Bible contains numerous references to essential oils, incense, and ointments. The Egyptian’s Ebers Papyrus, from 1500 B.C., also known as the 'medicinal scroll' sited 800 different formulations of plant-based remedies. Other scrolls, temple carvings and hieroglyphics reveal the valued role that Essential Oils played in the everyday lives of ancient peoples.

Recently there has been resurgence of interest in the power of Essential Oils. There is a range of literature containing recently discovered uses of Essential Oils. These updated sources are helpful in finding the best formulation for stimulating natural balance and health.

Practitioners use a number of methods to determine oils or oil blends for the client including muscle testing. Practitioners may suggest blended oils that have proven beneficial to other clients as well as have been found useful by other practitioners or suggested in literature.

Essential Oils may be of benefit to all ages and is complimentary to most medical and alternative health modalities. Essential Oils are not meant to and should not replace sound advice and treatment from your family physician.