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Aromatherapy means what?

Aromatherapy is a term that is thrown around in the world of essential oils but do you really know what it means? Well I'm happy to help you learn.

Woman applying essential oil to her skin

According to Jade Shutes of The School for Aromatic Studies:

Aromatherapy is the holistic therapeutic application of genuine and authentic plant-derived essential oils for enhancing the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health of the individual.

Now that's a lot of words to tell you that plants are used to positively affect the overall health and well-being of individuals.

The word therapeutic can be used in different ways and we need to be careful with it because one definition says therapeutic equals healing. HOWEVER, ( note the caps), the word "holistic" is in front of therapeutic and that means we take the whole body, spirit and mind into consideration when using aromatherapy. Using essential oils and other plant-based compounds in a therapeutic way, means we are helping the body to get back to it's healthy balance. Our bodies are always trying to maintain balance, or homeostasis, when things are off.

In other words, our body is always trying to heal itself.

So what does that mean? Most of the time, our wonderful bodies can restore balance by filtering out toxins or sending our brain signals to tell us to drink more water or eat something. Sometimes, though, we abuse our bodies too much and the filters and messages cannot keep up. We don't always realize that we are doing ourselves harm but then we start feeling bad, or we get sick or something tells us that something is wrong. Hello! That's your body talking to you!

Person giving a hand massage to another person.

Using essential oils (and other therapeutic modalities) can help our bodies heal but it's not the oils that are doing the healing: they are tools that the body can use to do the work. They are not magic and they do not cure or fix anything. They also do not usually work quickly which is something that is difficult for many people today. I get it, I am very impatient and I want something to be fixed right now. Period. But I have learned to trust and be patient so that I can get the best effects for my health and wellness. It is worth the wait when the result of fast and easy is side effects that will hurt you in the long run.

The other word I want to talk about in the definition above is 'individual.' Aromatherapy is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Each person has their own challenges, characteristics and experiences that influence them. A trained aromatherapist will assess a person who is seeking help by asking a lot of questions pertaining to that individual's health and use the information to choose the appropriate oils for them. They consider weight, lifestyle, diet, exercise (or lack thereof), allergies, medications, chronic conditions etc before making suggestions. They know how to safely use oils and pass that education on to the person so they too will know.

So you may be thinking about those who work with essential oils companies and what this all means related to them. As someone who did work with a company I would tell you that there are people within those companies who do great work and focus on educating and safely using oils. I will also tell you that there are people who do not dig further and pass along information without questioning it. As a consumer, you need to do your own research and ask questions.

If you do not find answers from the person you reach out to, find someone else. Ask for the research behind the information you are given and keep asking until you get it. Essential oil company representatives are not "bad" and as I wrote earlier, there are some really great ones. Just remember that they are trained in sales and those who focus more on education, have found resources outside the company they work with. So I am not saying you should not buy oils from these companies, what I am saying is that your essential oil experience should include more than just buying the oils.

I would go so far as to say you should always consult with a trained aromatherapist or trained healthcare provider for any concerns and questions before using oils.

Why am I sharing all of this aromatherapy information with you? I want you to know that this is what I do. I am available to you as your guide to using essential oils, I want to educate you to respect them and use them safely. I will be offering some great online courses coming up and a monthly subscription for those of you who have lots of oils sitting around and can't remember what to use them for. You can watch my website and your email for more information coming soon.

I also offer free personal consults if you have a health or wellness concern you want to talk about. I will do the work to find out what you need and even suggest the oils you should try. We can end it there and you can go on your way or I can create a blend of oils for you to use. I truly care about your health and want you to have the best information available.

If you have any questions or comments about aromatherapy or essential oils or health in general, please reach out via email or comment on this post.

In the meantime, take care of your beautiful self and I will talk to you soon!


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