What Is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the “skilled and controlled use of essential oils for physical and emotional health and well-being”. (Cooksley, 2002, p. 3). When essential oils are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, they can have a profound effect on the physical and emotional states of the body.
Essential oils are obtained by distilling or pressing the oils sacs in the plants to express the oils. Oils are obtained from various parts of the plant: the flowers, seeds, leaves, wood, bark, stems, and fruit. (Cooksley, 2002, p. 4) Each essential oil has many uses for medicinal and emotional purposes (Fulcher, 2014, data sheets)
There are many ways that essential oils can be used: inhalation, topical application (English method), ingestion or suppositories (French method). (Penoel & Penoel, 1998, p. 28) Inhalation can be done with a room diffuser, steam inhalation over a bowl of hot water, with an inhaler, or just smelling the oils right from the bottle. Topical application can be done with a lotion, cream, or carrier oil, or in a bath with bath salts. With ingestion, a few drops of oil are placed in a capsule with carrier oil and swallowed. Care must be used with this method; good quality oils are imperative with this method.