From pampered to practitioner in aromatherapy

For a long, long time I have been a dedicated practitioner and devotee to the healing powers of spas.

I know, I know… what that really means is I love spa treatments and rarely gave much thought to all the philosophy behind it. I practiced nothing but being treated wonderfully, which I still think is important. But this journey the hubby and I are on has widened my worldview and led me, of all places, back to school to study holistic medicine. My first assignment in my class on aromatherapy caused me to look behind being  a pampered client to someone who cares and learns the philosophy and practice of natural treatment.

As I sit and think of the word “aromatherapy” I define it as using scents to aid in therapeutic ways. More specifically, I think of how I make my homemade bath salts using the essential oil Lavender Lavandula augustifolia mixed with a combination of Epsom salts and sea salts. The relaxing effects and calmness that it brings is something that I look forward to at the end of every day.

I would define essential oils as the plant materials distilled into oils for use in therapeutic ways. Essential oils are easily absorbed into the skin via different pressure points or targeted areas of the body.

When I researched various definitions of aromatherapy I find that the majority of the definitions refer to aromatherapy as “essential oils therapy.” Many of the definitions that I found were very similar in that they reflect aromatherapy’s use of plant materials (for example, flowers) to produce the oil. According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy the oils are used “to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.” Many of the definitions that I reviewed view aromatherapy in the same manner using similar definitions that include natural oils from plant items. Plant items that are noted include flowers, bark, stem, leaves and roots. I also found that many definitions discuss the effects that the smell of an essential oil triggers within the brain responses that effect mood and pain.

Upon review of different definitions I’m aware that my limited view of aromatherapy needs to be expanded. While I do understand the general idea of aromatherapy and essential oils in my day-to-day life. I see that it can be used in my life, not just as a way to enhance my mood, but as a natural pain reliever. With that my expectation with educating myself in the field of aromatherapy grows wildly and expands my imagination.

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