By Valerie Robitaille
Many chemicals are not only toxic and sometimes carcinogenic but can be totally unnecessary in any way, shape or form for the quality of our lives. Nevertheless they are produced and marketed as being essential to our modern lifestyle by the rich and powerful cosmetic companies that manufacture them.
Synthetic chemicals are cheap and easy to come by. There was a time when a person actually had to wait until a food or ingredient was in season to obtain it. Not anymore. I know of a lab nearby that mixes together any combination of chemicals (sometimes a listing of more than 200 of them) to produce a single ‘fragrance’ or ‘flavor.’ “Yes sir,” they say, “give us anything and we can make it taste like filet mignon or smell like a cucumber.”
Aromatherapy is a popular practice that uses scents for their therapeutic value. However, there is a HUGE difference between fragrance oils and the pure essential oils that are used in aromatherapy practices. A fragrance oil is made up of sometimes hundreds of synthetic man-made chemicals to make it smell like a mango, or a strawberry or a whatever. An essential oil is obtained by a process dating back thousands of years whereby the scent, or ‘essence,’ of a plant is extracted by cold pressing or steam distillation.
Our sense of smell is extremely sensitive and responsive, and is directly connected to the most primitive part of the brain called the Limbic System. The Limbic System controls the following processes:
- Emotional Responses
- Hormonal Secretions
- Pain and Pleasure Sensations
Essential oils have a similar chemical structure as our cells which make up our tissues and organs. This quality enables the plant’s essence to be readily identified and accepted by the body. When an essential oil from a plant is inhaled, it is transmitted directly to the Limbic System and influences the various human functions associated with the above.
Every plant‘s essential oil has its own unique therapeutic qualities. Familiarizing yourself with these scents and their properties is a powerful way to experience the benefits of aromatherapy as it resonates with you, and helps your body heal from the outside in! But beware of the recent advertised aromatherapy products that have about 1 drop of essential oil in them, and countless other chemicals.