Aromatherapy works on three main levels: through the sense of smell, through absorption and through absorption via skin.
I actually started studying Aromatherapy when my son started suffering from anxiety at age 6. My goal with Calm Families is to use what I've found to work for my family and make it for yours.
It is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. It enhances both physical and emotional health.
The sense of smell is one of the most primitive senses and is linked to some of the oldest and deepest parts of the brain. As we breathe in the aromas, it can trigger emotional and even physical responses and allow strong images in the the mind that recall of people or places.
When we breathe in aromatic molecules, they travel to the top of the nose where the molecules come in contact with Olfactory cells. These cells have small hairs which recognise a specific aroma through the ‘lock and key’ process.
The lock-and-key mechanism was first proposed in 1890 by Emil Fischer (1852–1919) to explain binding between the active site of an enzyme and a substrate molecule. The active site was thought to have a fixed structure (the lock), which exactly matched the structure of a specific substrate (the key). This means each hair will only recognise a specific aroma.
This process produces nerve impulses which travel to the limbic system, the part of the brain which is most concerned with survival, instincts and emotions.
It is believed that the activity of the nerve signal passing through this region causes mood change by altering brain chemistry.
Absorption Through Inhalation
Another way aromatherapy works is through the inhalation of essential oils which then travel internally to be absorbed. This can be effective within the respiratory system as antibacterial and antiviral properties make them ideal for maintaining a healthy respiratory system. This includes the sinuses, throat and chest as well as helping relieve symptoms of infections and allergies.
You can try it for a moment of peace during a tough day, try inhaling with one of our natural Calm Aromatherapy Inhalers. With its blend of essential oil, it's plenty to give you a moment of comfort before taking back control of your day.
Absorption Through Skin & Natural Skin Care Products
The molecules in the essential oils are also small enough to allow them to penetrate through the skin. They travel through the the top layer of skin (epidermis) to reach a deeper layer of skin (dermis ) and onward to the blood vessels allowing them to circulate throughout the body. You get this as well as the Aroma in all our natural skin care products.
Most essential oils have antibacterial properties; some are antiviral, anti-fungal and/or anti-inflammatory. Essential oils also contain antioxidants which help to prevent cell damage and protect against the build up of toxic waste in skin cells, helping reduce signs of ageing.
In skincare products, by penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin, essential oil based products like ours can have a positive effect on the skin. Optimising the cellular renewal process, enhancing blood circulation and addressing problems such as acne, eczema and ageing skin.
Once the constituents of essential oils enter the bloodstream they can be carried to all areas of your body. They reach areas with a good network of blood vessels more quickly; for example, the liver, kidneys and some muscle groups.
The majority of essential oil constituents leave the body within hours, mainly through excretion via the kidneys, although their effects can last much longer within the tissues.
How Long Has Aromatherapy Been Around?
Humans have used aromatherapy for thousands of years. Ancient cultures in China, India, Egypt, and elsewhere incorporated aromatic plant components in resins, balms, and oils. These natural substances were used for medical and religious purposes. They were known to have both physical and psychological benefits.
Essential oils distillation is attributed to the Persians in the 10th century, though the practice may have been in use for a long time prior to this. Information about essential oil distillation was published in the 16th century in Germany. French physicians in the 19th century recognised the potential of essential oils in treating disease.
Medical doctors became more established in the 19th century and focused on using chemical drugs. However, the French and German doctors still recognised the role of natural botanicals in treating illness.
The term “aromatherapy” was coined by a French perfumer and chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé in a book he wrote on the topic that was published in 1937. He had previously discovered the healing potential of lavender in treating burns. The book discusses the use of essential oils in treating medical conditions.
Aromatherapy has an array of benefits. It’s said to:
- reduce stress, agitation, and anxiety
- treat headaches and migraines
- fight bacteria, virus, or fungus
- improve sleep quality
- improve digestion
- soothe sore joints
- boost immunity
- manage pain
Scientific evidence for aromatherapy is considered to be limited in some areas. Research to support the use of aromatherapy in treating Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and heart disease is lacking.
Always talk to your doctor before starting any aromatherapy treatment. Remember that aromatherapy is meant to be a complementary therapy. It’s not meant to replace any doctor-approved treatment plan.