Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

essential_oilsSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Essential oils have been in use since ancient times for a wide variety of applications including physical, cognitive and emotional wellness. Throughout ancient history, the healing power of essential oils was recognized and utilized in medical practice, religious ceremonies, personal hygiene and beauty products. In more modern times, the health and wellness benefits of therapeutic-grade essential oils and aromatherapy have made them more familiar as an alternative treatment for physical and emotional healing. While some continue to dispute the medicinal use of therapeutic oils due to lack of scientific evidence, clinical studies show that inhaling biologically active essential oils or massaging them onto the skin may reduce pain, improve mood, promote physical healing, reduce stress and enhance relaxation.

Essential oils are natural products extracted from the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, berries, fruits or peels of certain plant species, with each part of the plant having its own chemical blueprint. Oil extracted from a single plant may contain hundreds of complex chemicals, which have therapeutic qualities designed by nature to protect the plant by aiding in reproduction, infection control, survival and other processes. Inhalation of diffused essential oils is believed to encourage homeostasis and wellness by promoting harmony of the mind, body and spirit. The unification of physiological, psychological and spiritual processes is believed to enhance innate healing processes and assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate and heal itself.

Aromatherapy is the diffusion of pure aromatic essences derived from plants and botanicals. Some researchers believe that our sense of smell plays a huge role in determining how essential oils aid healing. Inhaled essential oil molecules may stimulate certain areas of the brain that influence physical, emotional and mental health. Aromatherapy, as a type of alternative medicine, is widely used in France and Western Europe for the antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties of the oils. In the U.S., aromatherapy is becoming more widely accepted as a complementary or alternative treatment for a variety of conditions and is used in a wide range of settings from home use to health spas to hospitals.

  • Essential oils may be inhaled through use of a room diffuser, which disperses micro molecules into the air. Specific oils may be used to create a relaxing, uplifting or energizing environment or to dispel unpleasant odors. Diffusion is an effective and noninvasive way to reap the benefits of essential oils.  
  • A few drops of oil may be placed in water filled spray bottle, shaken well and sprayed into any area of the home or office to encourage wellness, tranquility or inspiration.
  • Several drops may be placed in a warm bath, which also enables the oil to be absorbed through the skin. Be sure to add a dispersant, such as bath salts, to ensure the oil mixes well with the water. Oils can make the tub slippery, so use caution and watch your step.
  • In general, essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin but rather should be diluted in a carrier oil, such as such as almond, jojoba or avocado oil, before applying or massaging into the skin.

The price and quality of essential oils can vary widely. Fresh botanicals and meticulous extraction methods separate quality, highly concentrated essential oils from lesser quality products. Pure essential oils are far more powerful than the original botanicals from which they were extracted. For example, it can take as many as 12,000 rose blossoms to distill 5 ml of authentic, unadulterated essential rose oil. Quality oils are 100% pure and are not processed or diluted with solvents or additives. Many are identified by their Latin names and are tested to meet the standards of the species.

Professional Supplement Center offers a nice selection of BPA-free aromatherapy diffusers from Greenair that are designed to work perfectly with essential oils. Find the one that’s right for you!

(For a great selection of essential oils to use in conjunction with your new diffuser and a selection of carrier oils for direct application, please see accompanying article, Essential Oils from Now® Foods.”)

SpaVapor+ Ultrasonic Oil DiffuserSpaVapor+ Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser – This quiet, ultrasonic, high-output diffuser atomizes microscopic essential oil particles and creates negative ions that help purify the air. This virtually silent diffuser features 4 rotating color LED lights and diffuses for up to 5 hours.
Serenity Ultrasonic Oil DiffuserSerenity Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser – This Asian inspired diffuser disperses water and essential oil into a fine therapeutic mist. In addition to diffusing essential oils, it acts as mini-humidifier, air purifier and ionizer. It quietly operates for 4-5 hours and features an automatic power off water sensor and a bottom blue LED light when misting.  
Jasmine Flower Porcelain Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser
Jasmine Flower Porcelain Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser – This stylish diffuser instantly utilizes 60 Hz ultrasonic action to produce negative ions that help purify the air while diffusing essential oils for up to 4 hours. Features a 1 and a 2 hour timer.
USB Aroma DiffuserUSB Aroma Diffuser – Perfect for the office, travel or small spaces, this diffuser utilizes a USB port to produce a micro-fine aromatherapy mist, remove odors and purify the air. Diffuses up to 4.5 hours and features continuous and intermittent output operation.
How Do I Choose and Use Essential Oils?
What is Aromatherapy?
How Do I Determine the Quality of Essential Oils.