Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils
Dena Foran – Massage Therapist; Total Health Systems of Macomb County
A wide variety of physical problems may be treated with aromatherapy. Almost all essential oils have antiseptic properties and are able to fight infection and destroy bacteria, fungi, yeast, parasites, and /or viruses. Many essential oils also reduce aches and pain, soothe or rout inflammations and spasms, stimulate the immune system and insulin and hormone production, affect blood circulation, dissolve mucus and open nasal passages or aid digestion are just a few of their amazing properties.
Aromatherapy can also have considerable influence over our emotions. Sniffing Clary sage, for example, can quell panic, while the fragrance released by peeling an orange can make you feel optimistic. Since your mind strongly influences your health and is itself a powerful healing tool, it makes aromatherapy’s potential even more exciting.
Essential oils are so small in molecular size that they can quickly penetrate the tissues of the skin, are lipid soluble and capable of penetrating cell membranes, even if the membranes have hardened because of oxygen deficiency. According to Jean Valnet, M.D. essential oils can affect every cell in the body within 20 minutes.
Essential oils have a bio-electrical frequency that is several times greater than the frequency of herbs, food, even the human body, and are made up of the same elements as the human body, which are hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon and sulfur. The oils also contain amino acid which are the building blocks of protein.
Medicinal properties of aromatic compounds
Terpenes and sesquiterpenes have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, stimulating properties found in a majority of oils from citrus, flowers, leaves, seeds, roots and woods. Some oils in this group are from cypress, ginger and sandalwood.
Phenols are capable of stimulating a strong antibacterial response and can be skin irritants such as clove, oregano, some thyme.
Aldehydes can cause a calming, sedating, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory response, as well as cinnamon, cumin, lemon scents.
Alcohols cause a toning energizing anti-bacterial, anti-viral with pleasant uplifting fragrances, from geranium, rosewood, rose, tea tree.
Ketones can dissolve mucus and fats, heals wounds and also includes some toxic factors oils in this group such as sage, hyssop, pennyroyal, jasmine, peppermints
Acids have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and moisturizing effect mostly found with alcohols to create esters are birch, rosewood and niaouli.
Esters cause balancing, relaxing, soothing, anti-spasmodic and antifungal effect with fruity aromas. Oils in this group are lavender, bergamot, clary sage, ylang and marjoram.
Coumarins cause a calming and uplifting, blood thinning, photosensitizing some toxic properties. Oils in this group are bergamot, angelica, citruses.
Oxides act as expectorants. Oils are eucalyptus, bay and hyssop.
Guidelines for safe use:
Keep oils out of the reach of children.
Most citrus oils are photosensitive and may cause a rash or dark pigmentation on skin exposed to direct sunlight.
Oils with high phenol content (oregano, thyme, clove, lemon grass and others) may damage contacts and irritate the eyes.
Patients with epilepsy, hypertension or pregnant, should consult their health care professional before using essential oils.
Do not add undiluted oils directly to bath water, use a bath gel for a base to mix with all oils, without using a bath gel as a base, the oils can cause serious discomfort (especially peppermint)
Keep oils away from open flames, sparks or electricity. Some oils including orange, fir, pine and peppermint are potentially flammable.
As a massage therapist, I have enjoyed learning to use essential oils and their uses along with understanding their indications and contra-indications. While at Total Health Systems of Macomb County I received my Essential Oil training from Susie Bagswell, M.T. This training included how to apply special use of oils, to detoxify the body and help boost the immune system by incorporating it into a massage session. To experience the benefits of an Essential Oils massage or detoxifying massage call and make your appointment today at either one of our locations at Total Health Systems of Macomb County with one of our qualified massage therapist.
References: Aroma Therapy Healing for the body and soul, author Kathi Keville.
Reference Guide for Essential oils Compiled by Connie and Alan Higley, 7th edition
Jean Valnet,M.D., The practice of Aromatherapy: a Classic Compendium of plant Medicines and their Healing properties.Rochester,Vt: Healing Arts Press,1980
For more information or to schedule and appointment with one of the therapists please call 586-228-0270.