Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Introduction

Introduction to Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Aromatherapy, utilizing pure essential oils derived from plants, is recognized as a very valuable way to promote both physical and emotional health.  The benefits have been known since ancient times, though it was not given a name until the 1920’s when the term aromatherapy was coined in France.

Essential Oils, frequently referred to as the “life force” of plants, are obtained from natural raw material, either by distillation with water and steam, or from the epicarp (outer layer) of citrus fruits by mechanical processing, or by dry distillation.  Unlike fatty oils, “essential” oils are volatile, highly concentrated, substances extracted from flowers, leaves, stems, roots, seeds, bark, resin or fruit rinds.  The amount of essential oils found in plants can be anywhere from 0.01 percent to 10 percent of the total plant.  This is why is may require tons of plant material to extract just a few hundred pounds of oil

Having a specific affinity for the nerve tissue of the body, the most immediate point of nerve contact of essential oils is that of the olfactory membranes located in the sinus cavity.  Olfactory membranes contain nerve endings, which are responsible for the sense of smell.  These nerves connect directly to a part of our brain known as the olfactory bulb, which has direct connections to many other areas of the brain.  One of these connections is to the hypothalamus, the stalk of the brain that controls the pituitary gland, which controls, in turn, the rest of the glandular system.  For this reason it is known that aromatherapy has a powerful impact on our endocrine system.

The sense of smell is also intimately connected to the part of the brain called the limbic system, which is the area of the brain that supports a variety of functions including emotions, behavior, long term memory, as well as olfaction.  This gives credence to belief that Aromatherapy benefits emotional and mental well-being.

The essential oils used for Aromatherapy must be pure and truly natural because only genuine oils convey a whole and complex set of signs and the complete energetic information from the plant.

Store all oils in a dark-colored glass bottle (never plastic) protected from heat or sunlight.

Suggested Dilutions for Essential Oil Blends


Carrier Oil

Essential Oil


1% dilution


2% dilution

(general massage)

4% dilution

(concentrated, local massage)

1/2 ounce

1 Tablespoon

15 ml

3 drops

7 drops

15 drops


1 ounce

2 Tablespoons


7 drops

15 drops

30 drops


2 ounces

4 Tablespoons

60 ml

15 drops

30 drops

60 drops


Base/Carrier Oils

Grapeseed is a light, non-greasy fruit oil, free of scent; it is easily absorbed, inexpensive and available in most health shops and supermarkets.

Sweet almond is a nut oil, light with a mild fragrance.

Coconut, native to Polynesia and Malaysia the coconut palm produces a light nut oil with a mild fragrance, it solidifies when cooled but readily melts in a hot hand.

Click here to order oils.


The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
Valerie Ann Worwood
ISBN 0-931432-82-0
The Scents of Health, A User Friendly Guide to Aromatherapy
L. Carl Robinson
ISBN 1-890855-08-1
Medical Aromatherapy, Healing with Essential Oils
Kurt Schnaubelt
ISBN 1-883319-69-2
The Art of Reflexology
Inge Dougans with Suzanne Ellis
ISBN 1-85230-236-4
The Reflexology Manual
Pauline Wills
ISBN 0-89281-547-7
Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother and Baby
Allison England
ISBN 0-89281-898-0


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