Aromatherapy: The body's wondrous healing remedy

Aromatherapy With Aqua Oleum

Aromatherapy, a beauty buzzword that conjures up images of evocative scents, scenic landscapes and incense sticks. We know that it is beneficial for your mind, soul and wellbeing but what actually is it and how does it benefit your skincare and mood? We speak to Aqua Oleum, one of our esteemed Soil Associated certified brand's, to share their extensive knowledge of aromatherapy, how it can nourish and heal the skin, how to integrate it into your daily life and how to make your own aromatherapy concoction...

Aqua​ ​Oleum​​ ​is​ ​a​ ​family​ ​business​ ​with​ ​a​ ​heritage​ ​spanning​ ​over​ ​three​ ​generations,​ ​based​ ​on expert​ ​knowledge​ ​of​ ​essential oils and​ ​aromatherapy.​ ​For​ ​over​ ​30​ ​years,​ ​the​ ​company​ ​has built​ ​its​ ​market​ ​reputation​ ​based​ ​on​ ​outstanding​ ​product​ ​expertise​ ​and​ ​high​ ​ethical standards.​ ​Aqua​ ​Oleum​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​first​ ​aromatherapy​ ​companies​ ​to​ ​be​ ​established​ ​in the​ ​UK​ ​and​ ​has​ ​pioneered​ ​many​ ​innovations​ ​in​ ​the​ ​field​ ​over​ ​the​ ​years.

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So,​ ​what​ ​actually​ ​IS​ ​aromatherapy?

The​ ​term​ ​'aromatherapy'​ ​was​ ​generated​ ​in​ ​the​ ​1920's,​ ​however​ ​it​ ​was​ ​practiced​ ​by​ ​ancient Egyptians,​ ​Persians,​ ​Indians,​ ​Chinese​ ​and​ ​Arabs​ ​long​ ​before​ ​its​ ​definition​ ​existed.​ ​Our ancestors​ ​used​ ​aromatic​ ​plants​ ​and​ ​oils​ ​for​ ​their​ ​medicinal​ ​and​ ​healing​ ​properties,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as in​ ​perfumes,​ ​incense​ ​and​ ​cosmetics The​ ​'essential'​ ​in​ ​essential​ ​oils​ ​is​ ​due​ ​to​ ​the​ ​extraction​ ​process​ ​capturing​ ​not​ ​just​ ​the fragrance​ ​but​ ​also​ ​the​ ​plant's​ ​healing​ ​properties.​ ​All​ ​essential​ ​oils​ ​are​ ​extracted​ ​from​ ​the plant​ ​kingdom;​ ​flowers,​ ​herbs,​ ​trees,​ ​spices​ ​and​ ​vegetables.​ ​They​ ​are​ ​organic​ ​compounds that​ ​occur​ ​naturally​ ​in​ ​a​ ​wide​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​different​ ​species​ ​and​ ​can​ ​be​ ​found​ ​in​ ​leaves (rosemary),​ ​bark​ ​(cinnamon),​ ​blossoms​ ​(neroli),​ ​fruit​ ​(orange),​ ​wood​ ​(cedar),​ ​resin​ ​(pine), roots​ ​(vetivert)​ ​or​ ​buds​ ​(clove).​ ​Modern​ ​household​ ​products,​ ​perfumes​ ​and​ ​toiletries​ ​tend​ ​to contain​ ​synthetic​ ​elements​ ​over​ ​natural,​ ​organic​ ​ingredients,​ ​although​ ​this​ ​of​ ​course​ ​isn’t​ ​the case​ ​for​ ​the​ ​myriad​ ​of​ ​wonderful​ ​products​ ​holding​ ​the​ ​much-coveted​ ​Soil​ ​Association certification,​ ​which​ ​are​ ​entirely​ ​free​ ​from​ ​synthetics,​ ​toxins​ ​and​ ​chemicals.​ ​When​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to fragrance,​ ​the​ ​pure​ ​and​ ​natural​ ​essential​ ​oil​ ​plays​ ​a​ ​vital​ ​role​ ​in​ ​its​ ​overall​ ​healing​ ​quality which​ ​acts​ ​upon​ ​the​ ​individual​ ​in​ ​a​ ​unique​ ​and​ ​subtle​ ​manner.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​why​ ​essential​ ​oils​ ​are the​ ​tools​ ​used​ ​in​ ​the​ ​practice​ ​known​ ​as​ ​​aromatherapy.

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What’s​ ​the​ ​point?

While​ ​it​ ​can​ ​initially​ ​seem​ ​a​ ​little​ ​daunting,​ ​aromatherapy​ ​is​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​and​ ​can​ ​be integrated​ ​easily​ ​into​ ​our​ ​lives,​ ​whether​ ​that’s​ ​in​ ​the​ ​form​ ​of​ ​treating​ ​a​ ​specific​ ​skin​ ​condition, aiding​ ​relaxation,​ ​stress​ ​or​ ​anxiety,​ ​or​ ​purely​ ​enjoying​ ​their​ ​incredible​ ​aromas​ ​around​ ​the home.​ ​​Essential​ ​oils​ ​are​ ​also​ ​versatile​ ​self-help​ ​tools​ ​as​ ​they​ ​are​ ​effective​ ​in​ ​the​ ​prevention and​ ​treatment​ ​of​ ​common​ ​ailments,​ ​from​ ​colds​ ​and​ ​flu​ ​to​ ​morning​ ​sickness​ ​to​ ​insect​ ​bites.

One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​particularly​ ​special​ ​benefits​ ​of​ ​aromatherapy​ ​is​ ​that​ ​it​ ​treats​ ​the​ ​body​ ​and​ ​mind together​ ​holistically:​ ​the​ ​biochemical​ ​make-up​ ​of​ ​essential​ ​oils​ ​interact​ ​with​ ​the​ ​body physically,​ ​while​ ​their​ ​individual​ ​scents​ ​have​ ​a​ ​unique​ ​influence​ ​on​ ​our​ ​mood​ ​and​ ​emotions, especially​ ​when​ ​the​ ​oils​ ​are​ ​blended​ ​together​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​‘synergy’.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​reasons why​ ​aromatherapy​ ​has​ ​been​ ​shown​ ​to​ ​be​ ​incredibly​ ​effective​ ​in​ ​treating​ ​stress-related conditions​ ​and​ ​nervous​ ​disorders​ ​where​ ​the​ ​physical​ ​and​ ​emotional​ ​factors​ ​are​ ​interrelated.

How​ ​do​ ​I​ ​do​ ​it?

There​ ​are​ ​many​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​use​ ​aromatherapy.​ ​Essential​ ​oils​ ​are​ ​convenient​ ​and​ ​easy​ ​to​ ​use and​ ​make​ ​ideal​ ​travel​ ​companions​ ​as​ ​they​ ​are​ ​light​ ​and​ ​compact,​ ​plus​ ​they​ ​also​ ​make​ ​a valuable​ ​addition​ ​to​ ​a​ ​first-aid​ ​kit.​ ​Perhaps​ ​the​ ​easiest​ ​way​ ​is​ ​to​ ​add​ ​5-10​ ​drops​ ​of​ ​essential oil/s​ ​to​ ​a​ ​hot​ ​bath​ ​once​ ​it​ ​is​ ​full,​ ​or​ ​add​ ​your​ ​choice​ ​of​ ​oils​ ​to​ ​an​ ​​oil​ ​burner​​ ​or​ ​​electric​ ​diffuser to​ ​scent​ ​the​ ​home.​ ​Massage​ ​is​ ​a​ ​particularly​ ​rewarding​ ​way​ ​to​ ​reap​ ​the​ ​benefits​ ​and​ ​healing powers​ ​of​ ​aromatherapy,​ ​since​ ​oils​ ​are​ ​absorbed​ ​readily​ ​through​ ​the​ ​skin​ ​and​ ​into​ ​the bloodstream,​ ​via​ ​daily​ ​self-massage,​ ​with​ ​a​ ​partner​ ​or​ ​as​ ​a​ ​treat​ ​from​ ​a​ ​professional masseuse.​ ​The​ ​use​ ​of​ ​massage​ ​is​ ​beneficial​ ​for​ ​a​ ​wide​ ​range​ ​of​ ​physical​ ​conditions​ ​such​ ​as arthritis,​ ​high​ ​blood​ ​pressure,​ ​skin​ ​disorders​ ​or​ ​muscular​ ​pain.

In​ ​a​ ​survey​ ​carried​ ​out​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Royal​ ​Sussex​ ​County​ ​Hospital​ ​in​ ​Brighton,​ ​UK,​ ​patients​ ​in​ ​an intensive​ ​care​ ​unit​ ​were​ ​divided​ ​into​ ​three​ ​groups​ ​and​ ​given​ ​either:

● 1.​ ​a​ ​period​ ​of​ ​rest

● 2.​ ​a​ ​foot​ ​massage​ ​or

● 3.​ ​a​ ​foot​ ​massage​ ​using​ ​lavender​ ​oil.

The​ ​outcome​ ​of​ ​this​ ​experiment​ ​showed​ ​conclusively​ ​that​ ​those​ ​patients​ ​in​ ​the​ ​third​ ​group who​ ​had​ ​an​ ​aromatherapy​ ​massage,​ ​experienced​ ​the​ ​greatest​ ​decrease​ ​in​ ​heart​ ​rate,​ ​blood pressure​ ​and​ ​pain​ ​levels​ ​together​ ​with​ ​an​ ​increased​ ​feeling​ ​of​ ​wellbeing.

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When​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​the​ ​face​ ​and​ ​body,​ ​essential​ ​oils​ ​should​ ​be​ ​mixed​ ​with​ ​‘carrier’​ ​oil/s​ ​of​ ​your choice,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​coconut,​ ​sweet​ ​almond,​ ​or​ ​jojoba​ ​-​ ​but​ ​there​ ​are​ ​many​ ​more​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​from -​ ​before​ ​being​ ​applied​ ​directly​ ​to​ ​the​ ​skin,​ ​although​ ​there​ ​are​ ​exceptions​ ​to​ ​this​ ​rule​ ​such​ ​as lavender,​ ​which​ ​can​ ​be​ ​used​ ​neatly​ ​to​ ​treat​ ​burns​ ​and​ ​minor​ ​cuts​ ​and​ ​some​ ​oils,​ ​like​ ​neroli, jasmine​ ​and​ ​patchouli,​ ​can​ ​be​ ​applied​ ​direct​ ​as​ ​a​ ​perfume.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​wise​ ​to​ ​carry​ ​out​ ​a​ ​patch​ ​test before​ ​trying​ ​a​ ​new​ ​oil,​ ​in​ ​the​ ​unlikely​ ​event​ ​that​ ​an​ ​oil​ ​should​ ​cause​ ​irritation,​ ​by​ ​placing​ ​a drop​ ​of​ ​oil​ ​on​ ​the​ ​back​ ​of​ ​the​ ​hand​ ​and​ ​leaving​ ​for​ ​fifteen​ ​minutes.​ ​If​ ​skin​ ​irritation​ ​does occur,​ ​bathe​ ​with​ ​cold​ ​water​ ​immediately.

With​ ​a​ ​little​ ​practice​ ​and​ ​a​ ​few​ ​natural​ ​ingredients,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​make​ ​anything​ ​from​ ​a​ ​relaxing pillow​ ​spray​ ​to​ ​a​ ​hydrating​ ​face​ ​oil​ ​to​ ​an​ ​all​ ​purpose​ ​household​ ​cleaner.​ ​​Formulating​ ​your own​ ​aromatic​ ​creations​ ​is​ ​entering​ ​a​ ​world​ ​of​ ​natural​ ​‘alchemy’.​ ​Your​ ​nose​ ​will​ ​often​ ​gravitate to​ ​scents​ ​you​ ​enjoy​ ​and​ ​as​ ​expected,​ ​these​ ​may​ ​well​ ​become​ ​your​ ​favourite​ ​oils​ ​to​ ​use. Aqua​ ​Oleum​ ​have​ ​all​ ​the​ ​​essential​ ​oils​ ​​and​ ​​apparatus​​ ​to​ ​get​ ​started​ ​in​ ​making​ ​your​ ​own creations​ ​at​ ​home.