Aromatherapy Benefits: Learn About Synthetic Versus Pure Essential Oils
By Toria Betson
Scented candles, linen sprays, plug in air fresheners, aromatherapy bath products like bath bombs. Aromatherapy is hot! But are all those that claim to be therapeutic truly so?
Some scents make us feel good. They can remind us of wonderful times and places. The spicy scent of cinnamon may take us back to our youth, playing with cousins at a family gathering, while the mouthwatering promise of Grandma’s apple pie teased our noses. The invigorating scent of pine may remind us of that summer, spent camping high in the cool mountains. In this way, even synthetic scents can be healing, but there is more to aromatherapy than just a pleasant scent.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s definition of Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils (extracts or essences) from flowers, herbs, and trees to promote health and well-being.
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts, taken from the leaves, flowers, roots, bark, wood, resins, fruits, or seeds, that are extracted by distillation.
Essential oils contain the essence of the plant, that which makes it unique. I can’t but help believe there are energies within the plants that cannot be present in synthetic fragrances, energies which can effect the energy fields of those using them. Essential oils have natural healing properties. Some have antibacterial, antiseptic, and or anti-fungal properties. Some relieve pain. Some are stress relievers. Some energize us. Some may even enhance the memory.
Labels can be misleading. An oil that claims to be natural’ is likely to made from synthetic compounds or contain very little essential oil, if they contain any at all. This is in part because essential oils are more expensive to produce.
It can take hundreds of pounds of plant material, to produce a single ounce of essential oil. Some plants have to be hand picked. This is why rose essential oil is so expensive.
Another reason mass producers may prefer to use synthetic oils, is they want a controlled outcome. Every bottle of perfume, every bath lotion, must smell exactly the same. Essential oils, on the other hand, will vary, depending on such factors as location, or even the weather.
Manufacturers of fragrance oils do not have to disclose the ingredients used in making their fragrances, because they are protected by the FDA’s “trade secret” law. They may even claim to be selling essential oils, when they have added synthetic ingredients.
It seems more and more people find themselves developing headaches when around scented products, such as perfumes, incense, and air ‘fresheners’. Many of these sensitivities may be attributed to the chemicals used for fragrance, and synthetic carrier oils.
One way to ensure your candles, soaps, and bath salts, contain real essential oils, is to make them yourself. It’s easy to make your own aromatherapy bath product.
For your bath, simply add a couple drops of essential oil directly to your bath water, or to sea salts or Epsom salts. Most Essential oils should not be used directly on the skin. For massage oil, add approximately 8-10 drops essential oil, to a carrier oil, such as a pure vegetable oil, or even organic coconut oil.
Aromatherapy can improve health and happiness, but look for the real thing. Don’t be taken in by inexpensive imitators that may contain chemicals that are harmful to one’s health.
More information on this can be found in our free online health magazine.
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