CALM and FOCUS: Aromatherapy 101
In Kingdom of Embers, the main character, Alena, uses essential oils to help her calm down, as well as re-energize and focus. I brought this element into the story because Alena must deal with her vampire quirks, aggression and day-time lethargy, using natural products. Her mentor, Orm, creates these aromatherapy mixtures for her.
Here today to talk about aromatherapy is my friend and certified Aromatherapist, Christy Hires! Welcome, Christy!
(Insert clapping sounds!)
Q: What is aromatherapy?
A: Aromatherapy literally means “healing through sweet odor.” Due to social media and network marketing aromatherapy and the use of essential oils continues to increase in popularity. The words aromatherapy and essential oils are often used interchangeably, although use of essential oils does not mean aromatherapy is being practiced. To use aromatherapy as true therapy, we need to know a little more about essential oils than just their aroma.
Q: What are essential oils?
A: A more accurate name for essential oils is volatile oils. These volatile oils come from plants and are lightweight molecules that contribute to its scent. Depending on the plant, these oils can be found in the root, stem, leaf or flower. Volatile oils are extracted from plant matter through steam or, in the case of citrus fruit, through pressing the peel. They are not essential for the plant’s survival. They merely help a plant thrive. What a great way to describe how we can use volatile oils in human bodies!
Q: Is there scientific evidence that these oils work?
A: Modern science and current research indicate that volatile oils can tangibly affect our minds and bodies. Most essential oil use relies on anecdotal evidence (such as “I’m not sure why, it just works,” “It healed my friend’s daughter’s excema,” or “Grandma always used it on me and I loved it”). Clinical aromatherapy points to research to explain how our bodies benefit from oils beyond the happy smell. Scientific studies on volatile oils help quantify the safety, the efficacy, and the most effective use of these powerful tools. As a professional aromatherapist, I show scientific evidence to validate that grandma’s advice is more than a wives’ tale.
Q: How do I use essential oils? Are they safe?
A: The practice of aromatherapy can be via inhalation, skin application, safely diluted in an organic carrier oil (grape seed, avocado or jojoba oil), and/or ingestion of essential oils. Ingestion is recommended only while under a certified Aromatherapist’s supervision.
Q: How do the oils work?
A: Volatile oils contain molecules that when inhaled enter the bloodstream quickly. Each plant’s oil contains different concentrations of these natural chemicals to aid in healing our bodies from the inside out. For example, ginger’s essential oil is made up of molecules that aid in stomach digestion related to nausea or gas, as well as molecules that are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Combining ginger with energizing essential oils such as sweet orange and peppermint can increase productivity. Combining it with an essential oil that contain sedative properties, such as sandalwood and lemon, can bring a calming effect.
For the scents I mixed for Kingdom of Embers, essential oils of cedarwood, lemon, and lavender are included in CALM. This blend will help your body relax due to antispasmodic and sedative properties. For FOCUS, ginger, mandarin, and peppermint essential oils are included to improve circulation and alertness. To find FOCUS and CALM go to http://superiorearthessentials.com/product/kingdom-of-embers/.
Q: What advice can you give us about using essential oils?
A: If you are just beginning to explore Aromatherapy or you have been practicing for years, my advice is, be open. Be willing to explore and question. Volatile oils can be a powerful tool in your medicine cabinet. To keep you and your family safe, make sure the advice you are getting has evidence to support the claims.
More about Christy Hires, Aromatherapist and Owner of Superior Earth Essentials...
Before practicing as a Clinical Aromatherapist, Christy attended the Franklin Institute of Wellness, an accredited college offering a 300-hour Clinical Aromatherapy certification program. This program included courses in anatomy/physiology, botany, psychology and aromatherapy. She conducted research and submitted case studies for review before graduation. Her practice is found in Colorado and can be found online at www.SuperiorEarthEssentials.com.
It is important to note that the United States does not regulate the essential oil industry, so claims on products may not be true. There are no standards to verify the validity of an oil company label that may read therapeutic, five-star, gold sealed, or 100% pure. Pure volatile oils should always be used. Purity can be determined by chemical tests done by qualified scientists. This information should be available from the company you purchase the oils from. Companies face penalties if they claim “organic” without having proper documentation. Christy always recommends finding companies that are selling organic essential oils.
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