Madison Avenue West is very proud to present our totally revamped online Aromatherapy Center. As always, we have listened to our clients and friends on the Internet, and created this section to fill all of your personal and/or professional Aromatherapy needs.
Whether you are a newcomer or are already familiar with the benefits and personal enjoyment of Aromatherapy, we hope these pages will be enlightening and educational as well as fun!
When you've finished reading about what Aromatherapy is and how it can benefit your mind, body and soul, check out all of our Aura Cacia Essential Oils, and our bath and body products. Pamper yourself!
Please be patient! We are updating and upgrading our Aromatherapy Center, so keep checking back in! We are adding new products and pages daily, and we apologize for any inconvenience. We promise, it will be well worth the wait! Thank you!
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a way to improve the quality of life on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Aromatherapy is already a part of our lives, although we may not have associated the name with the experience. Everyone has emotional responses, both pleasant and unpleasant, to certain scents. The idea behind aromatherapy is, first, to find the scents, unique for each individual, that evoke positive sensory feelings and emotions; and then to introduce those scents into our everyday life to enhance well-being. Natural scents keep us connected to the earth sparking memories and emotions.
The Practice of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy uses pure essential oils, extracted from many parts of the plant (flower, leaf, resin, bark, root, twig, seed, berry, rind and rhizome) to calm, balance and rejuvenate body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy is both an art and a science. Aromatherapists, armed with a technical understanding of an oil's constituents, artfully blend essential oils to produce new aromas.
The results of aromatherapy are very individual. While there is general agreement about the actions of certain oils, aromatherapy texts vary in their descriptions of the properties and characteristics of an essential oil. No two persons are affected by the same essential oil in exactly the same way. Even the same person can be affected differently by the same oil depending on surroundings, time of day or mood.
Types of Aromatherapy
The benefits of essential oils are introduced through cosmetic, massage and olfactory aromatherapy. The three types of aromatherapy benefits can be experienced in a variety of ways.
Cosmetic aromatherapy uses essential oils in facial, skin, body and hair care products. Essential oils can be toning, cleansing, drying or moisturizing. Certain oils are appropriate for various skin and hair types. An aromatherapy facial demonstrates the versatility of essential oils in promoting healthy skin. A full-body or foot bath is a simple way to experience cosmetic aromatherapy on a personal level. A few drops of the appropriate oil in a warm bath will create a rejuvenating, revitalizing experience.
Essential oils supplement the healing touch of massage therapy with wonderful aromas. Add a few drops of oil to one ounce of pure vegetable carrier oil, such as almond, grapeseed or jojoba, and apply liberally during mass age.
The benefits of olfactory aromatherapy are experienced when essential oils are inhaled. Direct inhalation or diffusion will enhance emotional wellness, calm, relax or rejuvenate. Pleasurable scents unlock odor memories, trigger our emotions and release stress. Essential oils bring the body back into harmony with itself by encouraging the natural forces within to realign. It is a complement to, not a replacement for, medical treatment.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants. Scientists agree that essential oils may perform more than one function in living plants. In some cases they seem to be a part of the plant's immune system. In other cases they may simply be end-products of metabolism. Essential oils contain hundreds of organic constituents, including hormones, vitamins and other natural elements that work on many levels. They are 75 to 100 times more concentrated than the oils in dried herbs.
All the countries of the world provide essential oils, making aromatherapy a truly global therapy. The purest essential oils come from carefully cultivated and wild grown plants from climatic and geographic regions throughout the world.
Aromatic medicine, the ancient beginnings of the art of aromatherapy, was recorded in both Egypt and India more than 4,000 years ago. The Egyptians used aromatic plants to create massage oils, medicines, embalming preparations, skin care products, fragrant perfumes and cosmetics. Plant aromatics were also utilized in India as part of the ancient medical practice known as Ayurveda. Many of these practices are still in existence today.
At the beginning of this century, particularly in France and England, a movement by noted doctors and scholars in the naturopathic and medical communities prompted a reawakening to the benefits of natural medicine and aromatherapy. Today in England and the United States, aromatherapy is a commonly accepted alternative medicine. In France, it is common to find doctors who practice aromatherapy, pharmacies that sell essential oils and health insurance companies that reimburse for treatments using these approaches.
Not all Oils are Created Equal
Some plants, like rose and jasmine, contain very little essential oil. Their important aromatic properties are extracted using a chemical solvent. The end product, known as an absolute, contains essential oil along with other plant constituents. Though not a true essential oil, absolutes are commonly used for fragrancing cosmetic products like fine perfumes.
There are also significant differences between synthetic fragrance oils (made possible by recent advances in chemistry) and pure essential oils. Synthetic fragrance oils are produced by blending aromatic chemicals primarily derived from coal tar. These oils may duplicate the smell of the pure botanical, but the complex chemical components of each essential oil created in nature determine its true aromatic benefits. While synthetic fragrance oils are not suitable for aromatherapy, they add an approximation of the natural scent to crafts, potpourri, soap and perfume at a fraction of the cost.
Aromatherapy practitioners need pure essential oils of the highest quality. Important criteria to consider when selecting essential oils include the following: 100 percent pure and natural, country of origin, growing season, extraction method (eg. distillation, expression), plant part used and the reputation of the company providing the oils.
Gems of Nature
Pure essential oils, like precious jewelry or fine wine, are the gems of nature - the quintessential life force of aromatic plants, sometimes called the "soul" of the plant. People who truly appreciate the qualities of pure essential oils consider each drop a precious jewel to be savored, enjoyed and protected.
Essential oils absorb into the fluid surrounding the cells beneath the skin's surface for a variety of effects including deep cleansing, nourishing, rejuvenating and balancing. Essential oils also diffuse into the air to provide olfactory benefits like purifying, refreshing and calming.