Scented oils from plants and flowershave big health benefits
The Romans and the Greeks were believers, as
was Queen Cleopatra, in the power of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy
is the therapeutic use of essential oils which has existed for more than 5,000
years. Apparently, the ancient Egyptians
were the first to develop methods for extracting flower essences through
distillation, which is still being used today. For example, the Egyptianphysician, Imhotep, recommended
fragrant oils for bathing, massageand
for embalming the dead; Hippocrates recommended aromatherapy bathsand massage, and used aromatic fumigationsto kill the plague.
Queen Cleopatrawas said to be fond of bathoils,
milkbathsand fragrances. It is also said that she mixed clayfrom the Nile Riverwith herbsand
essential oils as a facial treatment.And
in 1930, Frenchchemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse
coined the term "aromatherapy" after lavender oil healed his burned hand without
leaving any scars. During
World War II, Frencharmy surgeon Dr. Jean Valnet used
essential oils as antiseptics. Aromatherapy
was eventually elevated to the status of holistictherapy, and Madame Marguerite
Maury started prescribing essential oils as remedies for her patients.
Voice of aromatherapy
According to Maria Quezada, the CEO and
founder of Aromatherapy Now LLC, in Aliso Viejo, a certified aromatherapy consultant
with more than eight years in the field, an "aromatherapist" is a specialist and
practitioner who uses the art and science of healing with the aromas of
"Aromatherapy does work miracles," she says."I have helped many clients improve the
quality of their lives. I always say, 'Aromatherapy
works, if you do it!'So, please 'do
Quezada received her aromatherapy training
in Provence, France, at Orto de Prouvenco, under aromatherapist
Dr. Malte Hozzel. A member of the
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), consultations start at $60.00
and include a custom-blended, personal synergy (a blend of essential oils specifically
targeted to each person's needs). Consultations
take one to one and 1/2 hours.
"My first experience with aromatherapy was
while receiving an aromatherapy facial nine years ago. I had never had the experience of smelling
pure, essential oils before, and when I smelled lavender, geranium and ylang
ylang essential oils, fireworks went off in my brain, and I knew right then and there that this was my calling," she says.
That day, she bought her first five
essential oils (lavender, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, and peppermint) and started
reading about the subject.
"I started making my own blends in my
every ailment I could think of," she recalls. "I'm still working in my kitchen, making up essential oil remedies almost every
night, for everything from headaches, stress, insomnia, back pain . . . My specialty, though, is
anti-wrinkle, magnetic, aromatherapy Skin care."
Quezada says for clients, she combines the
benefits of therapeutic magnets (in a plasticmask) with the healing propertiesof essential oils. "I create custom-blended, anti-wrinkle,
skin-care systems. The anti-wrinkle
systems consist of floralwater
toners, and 100 percent pure and concentrated serums."
"I also create 'elixirs,' which are pure,
floralwaters blended with essential oils. My clients may then add their favorite
moisturizer with sunscreenduring the day over the serums. At night, there is no need for a night cream. While they sleep, their skin is hydrating
under the serums. The lack of hydration
in the skin is the largest factor behind the wrinkles," she continues. "It is important
that the skin is clean and exfoliated when applying any type of serum to the
skin. We simply attack the culprit at the
source, yes, with oils, even though for years we have been inundated with 'oil-free'
products. All those products are doing
is removing the moisturefrom
our skin and creating more wrinkles. We then add a magnetic mask for
one to two hours a day, and voila, a beautifully hydrated, toned and smooth
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated, plant
extracts. They are produced most commonly by distillation from all parts of
plants. Essential oils capture the "life
force" present in every living plant.
The basic characteristics of essential oils
are: (1) Antiseptic-they may prevent or combat infectionlocally; (2) Bactericidal-they
may kill bacteria; (3) Bacteriostatic-they may inhibit growth of bacteria; (4) Lipophilic-they may be able to absorb
deep into the skin and internal organs; (5) Adaptogens-they may be flexible in
response to each person's specific needs; and (6) Cytophylactic-they may promote cell rejuvenation.
Quezada believes in using products with
natural oils and plant oils rather than those from a cosmetics counter."Commercial products contain damaging
preservatives and petroleum-based ingredients that will damage the skin over
time. Many commercial products contain
urea, which is derived from urine. And
they contain adulterated fragrances that are produced in a laboratory and mimic
the aromas of essential oils, but have no therapeutic value. In many cases, adulterated fragrances are the
cause of allergies. Many commercial
products are basically watered-down and diluted with fillers-delivering a very small
amount of 'pure product.'"
To get started, Quezada says to read, "Aromatherapy
for Women," by Maggie Tisserand, followed by a more comprehensive reference
book, such as "Aromatherapy Workbook" by Marcel Lavabre.
"You will need to keep an aromatherapy
reference book at your fingertips at all times. Purchase five to nine, 100 percent pure and natural
essential oils to start," she says. "I suggest bergamot, eucalyptus, geranium,
lavender, peppermint, rosemary, tangerine, tea tree, and ylang ylang."
Also, purchase carrier oilsfor making blends. For massage, hairand body blends, Quezada suggests
blending with jojoba carrier oil in small, 1-oz. bottles. Jojoba will extend the life of your blends,
For skin-care blends, add rosa mosqueta,
hazelnut, borage, primrose, olive oil, and vitamin Eto
It's also important to track each
aromatherapy recipe on Rolodex cards. "Make
sure to give each blend a descriptive name, the date that you blended, and
purpose for the blend (or the person the blend was for), the exact number of
drops you used for each essential oil, and the amount of carrier oil used," Quezada
Caring for the oils?
Be sure you understand how to care for the
essential oils, Quezada says. Always
smellthe essential oil before use and
become familiar with each scent. If it should
smellrancid, discard. (They will smellfunny
and look cloudy.)
Store all essential oils and essential oil
products in cool, dry and dark places, away from heat, moistureand
they may be safely stored in cabinets or drawers.
Keep essential oils away from childrenand pets, and do not freeze essential oils or essential-oil products.
Do not touch the tip of essential oil
bottles. Always pour or sprinkle
essential oils from the bottles, without making contact with the tip, to avoid
Store all essential oils and essential oil
products in cool, dry and dark places, away from heat, moistureand
Test a small amount of an aromatherapy
product, such as massageoil, on the forearm to assure
there is no allergic reaction. If
redness or itching occurs, discontinue use.
Do not use essential oils directly on the
skin. Dilute prior to use. The only exceptions to this rule are lavender
and tea treeessential oils, which should not be used on
sensitive tissues, she says.
Be careful when using essential oils that have
a higher toxicitylevel, such as: fennel, hyssop, pennyroyal or sage. "It is best to avoid these in Skin care. Avoid any essential oils in Skin caremade
from spices that are found in your kitchen, such as basil, cinnamon, nutmeg, oregano,
and pepper," she says. "The safest essential
oils for Skin careare
those made from flowersand some trees."
More evidence that it works
But does aromatherapy work? Yes. In the United States, universities, including Georgetown, have
been conducting research on the benefits of essential oils for years and keep
coming up with conclusive evidence that some essential oils are useful remedies
for infections, Quezada says. "What they
are also finding out is that the body does not acquire a resistance to the
essential oils, although we do acquire a resistance to antibiotics over time. We are hoping that eventually, our more
begin learning about the healing benefits of essential oils and begin using
them in their daily practice. Recently,
on the Internet, there was an article about a prison on the boarder of the U.S.
and Mexico that is using aromatherapy to calm the inmates," she says.
Chere Garcia of Laguna Niguel, an airline
attendant for years, spent more time in the air than she did on land-and in the
sun when she wasn't working. She also believes in the power of aromatherapy.
"Chere has fair skin, and as a result, the
skin on her face was extremely sun-damaged, dry, rough, scarred and blotchy,"
"I told her about the miraculous healing
effects of rosa mosqueta oil. I recommended
a treatment of rosa mosqueta with lavender essential oil, twice a day. Lavenderis
great for fading scarsand
sun spots. I told her not to expect results for four weeks, but in two weeks, a
transformation had taken place. Chere's
skin started glowing and the texture had started changing. Her skin looked smoother
"The spots on her face had started to fade. She continues to apply the rosa mosqueta with
lavender essential oil on her face religiously. Every time I see her, she looks younger."
Kate McDaniel, the founder of Illuminating
the Divine based in Mission Viejo, also believes in aromatherapy. As a certified herbalist through the British
Institute of Homeopathy in Middlesex, England, she has worked in the natural products industry since 1994.
"The majority of products found at cosmetic
counters are formulated with petroleum products and distillates, which promote
free-radical growth in the body, causing the very conditions they claim to
eliminate," she says."Products
formulated with essential oils have a multiplicity of benefits that carry a
very high vibration/frequency of life force. They also provide free-radical fighters, are
antiviral, antibacterialand antifungaldepending on which oil is used. And they smellfabulous."
McDaniel says an aromatherapist has
comprehensive knowledge of the essential and volatile oils of various plants
and flowersthat will promote health benefits
"This could be recommending that someone
with bronchitis sit in a hot steam bathto
which eucalyptus and camphor oils are added, causing the release of phlegm and
mucus from bronchial passageways," she says. "An aromatherapist can also assist in treating 'external' issues, such as stress, insomniaand
fatigue. They would recommend various
oils and/or a combination of oils which can be diffused throughout their
living/work space to promote peace, relaxation and energy."
McDaniel, whose fees start at $60.00/hour,
adds that because skin is our largest organ, it's possible to combine
aromatherapy and Skin care. "This
enables a therapist to create a hand lotionthat has
the additional benefit of bringing calm and relaxation to the user, as well as
softness to the skin."
McDaniel sometimes uses flower essences in
her practice to help heal various health problems, too. "Flower essences are developed much like
homeopathic remedies. They are the
vibrational essence of each flower or plant that is used. They carry the signature vibration of that flower
or plant and uniquely address emotional components of life," she says.
This is created by combining flowersin
spring water which are infused with sunlight for three hours, producing the "mother"
tincture. From this, a custom
formulation is made, unique to each person's needs.
For example, a client going through a bitter
divorce might hold anger toward their ex-spouse."A formulation is created which enables them
to process this anger and release it, clearing it from their emotional energy
field. It no longer resides in their auric field."
"Whenever you use any product containing
essential oils, you're addressing all your needs: body, mind and spirit,"
concludes McDaniel, OCM.
L. Sklar of Laguna Niguel, a regular contributor to OC METRO Magazine.
Copyright 2010-2019 Aromatherapy Now LLC dba Mount Olympus Wellness. All rights reserved.