First off, what is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is defined as a form of alternative medicine in which essential oils are inhaled to achieve therapeutic benefits.
What is now considered “alternative” medicine, was once the norm. Going back to the history of medicine, there has been quite a shift throughout the years.
2000 B.C. “Eat this root”
1000 B.C. “That root is heathen. Say this prayer”
1850 A. D. “That prayer is superstition. Drink this potion”.
1940 A.D. “That potion is snake oil. Swallow this pill”.
1985 A.D. “That pill is ineffective. Take this antibiotic”.
2000 A.D. “That antibiotic has side effects. Eat this root”.
Not long ago, plants were once our only source of medicine and they have served the civilized human race for the last 6000 years. Most of us have forgotten how to use them and we no longer see them as the miracles they truly are. Medicinal plants, including their essential oils and components have the ability to decrease pain and inflammation, promote circulation, boost memory and the immune system, reduce cholesterol and heal the body with their antioxidant packed forms. From seed to flower and everything beneath and in between, plants and trees offer us a world of therapeutic restoration for our minds, bodies, and spirits.
Although some of the world today still recognizes plants as the best source of medicine, much of our society only trusts what is chemically produced in a lab, even though those very products come with a laundry list of side effects. Our country is built on treating the symptoms, rather than tackling the problems at the source.
Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils has the power to change the world and how we look at health.
1. Aromatherapy is backed by science.
What was once thought of as “snake oil” has been proven to show real benefits on a chemical level.
Frankincense has been studied for its cancer fighting and tumor reducing abilities; ginger can be used to assist with chronic pain and digestive disorders. Lemon is an immune booster, detoxifier and overall pH balancer for the body. Rosemary has been studied to increase memory, as much as 75%, and white willow bark is the true source of aspirin.
Essential oils can regulate hormones and orchestrate the production of enzymes in the human body. When essential oils are applied topically to the skin, the healing components are absorbed by the blood stream. From there, they will travel to specific organs and other systems on which they work. Some components are able to pass the blood brain barrier into the limbic system where they will then influence the endocrine and autonomic nervous systems. Whether inhaled or applied topically, essential oils can and do bring significant changes to the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing by strengthening the body’s natural responses.
2. Aromatherapy can help with stress and anxiety.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 40 million American adults — roughly 18% of the population — have an anxiety disorder (1). As of 2013, it was reported that 1 in 6 U.S. adults took a psychiatric drug, such as an antidepressant (2). TIME magazine reported that “clinical depression affects about 16 million people in the U.S. and is estimated to cost the U.S. about $210 billion a year in productivity loss and health care needs. Global revenue for antidepressants is projected to grow to nearly $17 billion by 2020” (3).
With stress and anxiety continually on the rise, it is important for people to know that aromatherapy can make a huge impact in their daily life and it can greatly improve their quality of life.
Scientists believe a chemical called serotonin may be responsible for maintaining mood balance. This chemical carries a signal alongside and between nerves (a neurotransmitter), and it is thought to be especially active in regulating and contributing to wellbeing and happiness. Some think that having too little of this chemical can lead to depression while too much of it can lead to anxiety.
Medicinal plants contain a variety of chemical compounds and some of these plants also contain essential oils. When essential oils are inhaled through the nose, aromatic molecules travel through the lining of the nasal cavity stimulated by olfactory nerves and are sent to the limbic system, where they communicate to parts of your brain. The limbic system influences the endocrine and autonomic nervous systems. These systems control mood, metabolism, heart rate, digestion and many other key functions that help moderate the body.
3. Aromatherapy is natural.
Unfortunately not all essential oils are created equal and therefore, it is important to know where your oils come from. We are proud to say that Mindful Mixtures gets its oils from several reputable distillers, who have provided us with their Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) reports on every batch of oil they sell. We only use organic, therapeutic grade oils and therefore, each report is thoroughly read to make sure the components match the therapeutic properties we are looking for in that particular oil. This also guarantees that the oils are free from heavy metals and other contaminants. If a company refuses to share their GC/MS report with you, take caution. You want full transparency on where your essential oils come from so you can ensure they are free of toxic chemicals and that they come from sustainable land.
Everything we need to be balanced and healthy can truly be found in our own backyards and forests! We hope this helps shed some light on the importance of aromatherapy, essential oils, and how they can make a positive difference in your life!
Jody, Tami & Taylor