The Sacred Art of Aromatherapy

The Sacred Art of Aromatherapy

Many people believe that aromatherapy only works because certain scents make us feel good and  help us relax.  It is true that scents can affect us at a   subliminal level . Because the olfactory system  is connected to the bottom of the brain without being processed by any higher brain centres , a smell can activate memories of Grandma’s garden, or a horrible hospital experience, faster than any sound or sight can do, and without any processing of the  raw, visceral emotion.

My client today said that the lavender transported her back to a time when she was 20, in France, with her boyfriend, when they went to the fields to see the monks harvesting medicinal lavender in the early morning.  It made her feel young and free again, Also, the scent  of orange reminded her of childhood Christmases, when oranges were  such a rare treat that you got one orange in your stocking. I had chosen lavender for her nervous tension  and orange for her lymphatic system; if she had not liked them I would have used other oils. I let my client  choose five  out of about fifteen which addressed her issue for that appointment. (Next week it might be something else).

But this very powerful evocation of pleasant memories  is only a partial explanation of why the use of essential oils is so efficacious in improving  health and well-being.

Plants and humans have co-existed and affected each other’s evolution for as long as there were humans. Plant energies directly affect us, not just when we eat them , or enjoy the appearance of a flower garden or a natural verdant scene. It is intuitively understood by most people that being in nature makes us feel better. Most natural scenes have plants in abundance, with healing green colours, sometimes lovely flowers, invigorating scents of evergreen trees or intoxicating scents of flowers, or the soothing sound of wind in the trees.

People  all over the world use flowers in important ceremonies such as weddings and funerals, because flowers help us to experience emotion. Orange blossoms make us happy;   rose  blossoms help us cry  if we need to .(Both tears and laughter offer stress relief.) Incense is used in many religions to help in spiritual opening during services (frankincense, myrrh , and spikenard are psychic openers)

From time immemorial healers in every  culture have collected certain plants which were understood to be helpful for infertility, or stomach complaints, or nervous conditions, or insect bites. In every  area of the world where a disease occurs often among humans, there is a plant which can be located in that area which can treat the problem. Mother Earth has arranged it so. We are all her children and are meant to help each other.  Healers  from every culture have learned to concentrate the essences of these plants, the healing components, usually by a process involving distillation. This is what produces essential oils.

Plants can mimic human hormones, and are especially helpful with such issues as infertility and  mood. Anything not needed by the body in a blend which is applied through massage or bath, will simply be excreted. Essential oil blends which are properly made do not have side effects.  Essential oils are blended by the healer according to the specific needs of the client. Synergy has been understood for thousands of years. The synergistic effects of plant energies which are combined are far more powerful that a single healing plant used alone. All the misunderstood stories of witches brewing potions were in fact about healing women blending a synergistic and healing treatment for someone in the village who was ailing or in childbirth.

The sacred aspect of this is clear when we realise that plants seem to be available   when needed in mysterious ways. I have lived in my home for ten years. I read somewhere that if you leave your land fallow for a time, plants which someone in the house needs will come on their own (birds, water, and wind will carry them). The plant devas and Pans   know which ones are needed.)

So in time, my four cats had catnip in the garden As a healer, I found Echinacea (good for preventing colds) and lavender(for soothing one to sleep) in my garden. . Where did they come from? They were not there when  I bought my home, and I did not put them in. I planted white clover, but not the red clover which I recommend for my clients to help with infertility (it can be eaten raw or made into a tisane). Same with red raspberry-I did not notice any when I bought the place. I did not plant the red clover, and when I bought the house there was only scruffy- looking grass   in the yard.

Healers of the past said that the physical appearance of a plant related to its function. For example, beets , which resemble a uterus, are very good for pregnant women.

Healing blends are  made using a combination of intuition , the client’s perception of the offered scents, and the known properties of the plant.

In every blend there should be at least one high note, one middle note and one low note. Any good book on aromatherapy will tell you which is which, but as a rule of thumb oils made from  citrus rinds are high notes, those made from wood are low notes, and those made from  flowers and herbs are middle notes.

Most essential oils have a variety of uses, so it should be possible to find at least three and possibly five which fit the client’s needs, smell good to the client and work well together.

Blends can be used in massage oils.  in baths, or in inhalation. They should always be diluted in a large quantity of carrier oil such as almond oil, grape seed oil , etc. with a general rule of 10 drops per shot glass. Blends should be stored in dark glass containers so they are not affected by light.

The energy of the sun is in every green plant, and whether it enters out bloodstream through the skin (which takes about twenty minutes) or through the digestive system (which can take much longer) our health- and our lives-depend on the proper, and hopefully respectful  and grateful, use of our plant relations.

Christine Nightingale., nightiangel92

(graduate of two-year diploma course in Aromatherapy, Sheridan Colle