Aromatherapy has been practiced for at least 3,500 years but was fairly obscure in our culture until the last decade. Where previously, health-food and metaphysical stores were the most likely places to find essential oils, lately, specialized online shops and multi-level marketing companies have become big business.

Maybe the amazing discoveries in the field of brain science are opening up our minds to things that used to sound too “woo-woo,” or it could be that we’re coming full circle and ancient healing traditions are resurfacing. Whatever it is that makes aromatherapy sound so intriguing, the vast array of essential oils and scent combinations can be overwhelming.

If you’re curious as to what it’s all about and how to try it out, here’s a mini-primer to help you get a taste (or should we say catch the scent!) of what it’s all about.

Aromatherapy in a Nutshell

Aromatherapy works by delivering scents to smell receptors in your nose, which in turn relay messages to your brain. You are familiar with this mechanism if you’ve ever smelled something awful and instinctively pulled away or covered your face. You don’t have to do an analysis of the situation—the smell triggers an immediate response in your brain.

Just as certain plants can be eaten or made into tea as natural remedies for a variety of symptoms, scents can also be used to provide relief. Some of the more common problems that are addressed by aromatherapy are stress, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, nausea, and certain kinds of pain. It has even proven to help improve quality of life for some long-term conditions like dementia.

Using Plant Essences for Healing

The cells or parts of plants that contain the fragrance are referred to as essences, and the essence can be distilled into an essential oil, which is a concentrated form of the natural oils in plants.

A diffuser is often chosen as a simple way to get the desired scent into the air. These can be as simple as a small bundle of oil-soaked wooden sticks held upright in a small vase, but ultrasonic, cool-mist humidifiers are the fashionable thing these days. They usually look like a small vase, and you add a cup or so of water and a few drops of your chosen oil, plug it in, turn it on and it dispenses a fine stream of mist that diffuses your scent into the air. (High-end models have multiple timers and can be controlled by Bluetooth technology from your phone!)

For a more direct application, steam inhalation by putting a few drops in a bowl of hot water, or more direct inhalation by putting a couple drops right onto a handkerchief and holding it over your nose are both techniques that work well.

Essential oils can also be applied to the skin, but because they are so concentrated, they can be irritating if used directly on skin, so they need to be diluted with “carrier” oils, such as almond, jojoba or olive before applying to the skin, and of course, Ava Jane’s Kitchen avocado oil is wonderful for your skin on its own, so is perfect to use with essential oils.

How to Choose Essential Oils

When you start looking at oils, you’ll notice that they come in small dark glass bottles, and the prices range wildly. You’ll find that the price of lavender essential oil, for example, ranges from around $3 to $24 for a 10-15 ml bottle. It’s unlikely that you are going to get premium essential oils at the dollar store, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to buy the most expensive brand either.

Many will say they are “100% pure,” but like the terms “natural” and “healthful,” that is not a specifically defined term, so doesn’t really mean anything. There are oils that are certified organic, which gives you some assurance, and many companies share information online about how they guarantee their quality.

Where to begin? Get Started with a FREE Sample!! 

As a special gift to our Ava Jane’s Kitchen family, the awesome team at Annmarie Skin Care team put together two kits with samples of their new essential oil parfum blends. You can choose one of them and get it for free! You just pay for shipping and handling. You’ll also get a $10 off coupon with your order to use on a future purchase.

If you want to get one of these kits for free (you pay shipping and handling), simply click the link below and choose your kit!