Monday, February 14, 2011

Aromatherapy and Magick

What magic does fragrance possess? It can move our souls, bring back memories, calm our minds, and set the stage for romance. Perhaps the secret lies deep in the most ancient core of our brain- the limbic system. It processes our sense of smell, and also controls our "autonomic" nervous system- our breath, our heartbeat. Scent can affect the autonomic nervous system, causing the breath to deepen and slow, which in turn, calms the heart.

Many illnesses begin in the mind, and the benefit of aromatherapy is that it helps ease the unconscious causes of distress. Aromatherapy utilizes essential oils to stimulate both psychological and physical benefits. Essential oils are not perfume or frangrance oils- they are literally the pure "essence" of a plant, and are unadulterated by any artificial or chemical ingredients. Not all ready made aromatherapy products labeled with the word "aromatherapy" are pure and natural. Avoid products which use "fragrances" or chemical ingredients. True aromatherapy products will contain only essential oils, and other natural ingredients.

Essential oils have a rich, natural aroma, which can offer either relaxing or stimulating psychological benefits by triggering the brain (perhaps in the same way phermones do, by stimulating the release of subtle hormones.) The components of the oils also enter the lungs, and oils applied to the skin absorb into the bloodstream, providing actual physical benefits. But essential oils must be used with care- they are very concentrated, and in pure form, can irritate the skin. They are commonly diluted with "carrier" oils such as sweet almond, apricot kernal, grapeseed, or jojoba, and stored in brown or blue glass bottles to protect potency.

Essential oils are often blended together to form "synergies". Properly blended in the right proportions, synergies can be of greater benefit than the individual oils used seperately. That is the art of an aromatherapist, and their special blends are often closely guarded professional secrets.

Experimenting with aromatherapy can be a fun way to add a rich, calming sense of beauty to your life!