Aromatherapy – how to use essential oils

Aromatherapy is a healing art that makes use of the natural aroma of plants – essential oils. Essential oils are fragrances obtained mostly by hydrogen distillation from the various parts of the plant, flowers, fruit, leaves, peel and root.

An example from aromatherapy is the use of orange oil. It comes from the fruit, petitgrain oil from the leaves, and neroli oil from the flowers. Each essential oil has its own unique scent and special effect in aromatherapy. For example, neroli is relaxing for emotional and physical tension, orange has a detoxifying and cleansing effect, petitgrain helps with listlessness and depression.

But how does the effect within aromatherapy actually come about? The essential oils work through the sense of smell and through the skin: If they are inhaled, they enter the bloodstream through the lungs and help wonderfully with colds and sinusitis (e.g. inhalation with eucalyptus, myrtle, peppermint, rosemary). In addition, smells are very strongly associated with feelings and thus influence our mood.

Aromatherapy: always follow your nose

If you are totally angry and oversensitive, essential oils from chamomile ensure that you quickly come back down to earth. Jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang have an aphrodisiac effect. Is it really so easy to influence the psyche with a fragrance via essential oils? It does indeed work, because there are about ten million olfactory cells in the nose. They transmit the scent to the limbic system, a part of our brain that controls our moods and emotions. Thus, with the help of aromatherapy, one can positively influence anxiety, sleep disorders, concentration and sensuality.

Essential oils used correctly

Very important: essential oils should be natural, pure not come into direct contact with skin and mucous membranes. They can be very irritating and should therefore only be used in diluted form. Essential oils can be used, for example, in fragrance lamps, for inhalation and massage, as sauna infusion, bath additive or as mouthwash.

Lead photo: Brittany Neale, Photo: Tiara Leitzman