An aromatherapist explains – what is aromatherapy?

The word “aromatherapy” occurs in so many places and in so many products that it is not surprising that many people are very confused about what it really means.

Unfortunately, there is no legal definition of “aromatherapy”, so unfortunately this will not change in the near future.

So what exactly is “aromatherapy”? Is it more than just something that smells good?

The word “aromatherapy” may indicate that the therapy is only about aromas. But more than just beautiful scents, use aromatherapy aromatic components in plants for their healing and health benefits.

Aromatherapy is the method of using essential oils, volatile plant extracts, to promote and improve the health of body and soul.

It is important to remember that the essential oils used in aromatherapy are all pure herbal oils. They do not include synthetic oils or fragrances or other aromatics such as incense and do not include many products on the market that use the word aromatherapy to denote a product that smells good – even if there are no therapeutic benefits. (Watch out for more information on essential oils in future blog posts.)

Another characteristic of aromatherapy is that it is one holistic therapy in the sense that the effects can be felt on several levels – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic. This means that aromatherapy can have benefits for everything from physical ailments, to mental and emotional effects and more.

For this reason, aromatherapy sits very well alongside other modalities. So you can see aromatherapists who also practice in massage, natural medicine, nursing, midwifery, kinesiology and many other areas. Or essential oils that are incorporated into other modalities by a variety of practitioners. (To use essential oils, all practitioners should have appropriate training – many do, but some do not – we will cover how to tell in a future blog post.)

Aromatherapy, when practiced as a professional modality, is focused on an individual’s special needs, using the therapist’s detailed knowledge to create a unique treatment program. This may include massage or other body treatments or treatments to be used by the client at home.

Of course, aromatherapy can also be practiced on a more basic level at home with essential oils in diffusers, inhalers or in massage or body oils and skin care products. They can even be used for cleaning and other uses in the home.

There are many ways to use aromatherapy to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. Stay tuned for future posts with more information on the many ways you can use essential oils.

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