In ancient times, herbs and plants were studied for their medicinal qualities. Using them to treat illness is the oldest known form of medicine. Plants contain a fluid in their oil glands. Essential oils are extracted from the parts of plants such as flowers, leaves, stems, roots, and from the rinds of citrus and the bark of some trees. The method of extraction is mostly through steam distillation. Several hundred chemicals can be found in one plant extract and they work in synergy to create health and wellness on many levels, including skin care.
The use of essential oils for healing was almost a lost art, but it was revived by a French chemist named Rene' Maurice Gattefosse'. He coined the term "aromatherapy" in 1928. Gattefosse' worked in his family's perfume business and experimented with essential oils after he burned his hand. To ease the painful burn, he found that dipping his hand in lavender oil relieved the pain and caused rapid healing.
This experience inspired him to research the healing power of essential oils. Eventually, he used them on soldiers in World War I and wrote many books on the subject. Since then, he has been considered the father of aromatherapy and brought a renewed interest to an ancient art. He understood that our greatest healers are plants and their aromatic essences.
In skin care, essential oils are used to slow the aging process and can help regulate hormones, balance emotions, calm frayed nerves, improve circulation and a host of other problems. The healing power of essential oils can be used to bring balance, health and healing. An example of how this works: Essential oils such as bergamot, chamomile and lavender are used to treat inflammatory conditions of the skin such as acne; rosacea; dry, itchy skin; eczema; and rashes. They also calm emotions, creating healing on both the nervous system and skin.
Stress plays a big part in causing imbalances in the body, mind and emotions. It has a domino effect and can lead to poor eating habits, impaired sleep, frustration, anger, fear and mood swings which all put a strain on the different organ systems. Likely, these effects will be reflected in the skin as well.
People often say they like aromatherapy and would like to use essential oils, but they don't know how, or don't know enough to put them to good use. There are many ways to use essential oils, but it can be overwhelming trying to figure it out. Working with a qualified aromatherapist is a safe and easy way to learn. A few key pieces of information are helpful and necessary. Essential oils are highly concentrated and must be used in a "carrier oil." A qualified aromatherapist can guide proper use of carrier oils with varying essential oils.
A good home starter kit includes a few oils for those who are learning or want to experiment. Lavender is the most versatile essential oil, and it is now grown and bottled right here on the Western Slope and is available for purchase in Palisade. It is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It can be used for scrapes, burns, eczema and joint pain.
Tea Tree is all of the above and it is anti-fungal.
Eucalyptus is an expectorant and a decongestant making it helpful for coughs, sinusitis, colds, flu and swollen glands.
Geranium is balancing and can be used for skin conditions such as acne, broken capillaries, congested and mature skin.
Peppermint is a digestive stimulant, soothes an upset stomach, and helps with concentration and mental clarity.
The art of aromatherapy is considered nature's medicine and we are fortunate to have access to this healing modality. When used properly we can treat many issues without negative side effects. At Healing Horizons, aromatherapy is used with acupressure and acupuncture in our Triple AAA facial. Aromatherapy consultations are also offered individually to help guide you on how you can restore balance in body, mind and emotion, and return to a state of well being by utilizing nature's gifts.
SOURCE: Some information above provided by Valerie Cooksley, R.N.
Carolyn Lampshire, L.E., has been a licensed esthetician since 2000, and is certified through the Institute of Integrative Therapy. For more information, visit Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions located at 2139 N. 12th St. #7 or call 970-256-8449. Through the month of October book any facial with Carolyn and receive a free aromatherapy consultation