Aromatherapy is a broad and expanding field that scientists are just beginning to explore. Aromatherapy means to treat with aroma through inhalation. It is well known that aroma reaches and influences the deepest human instincts. When essential oils are diffused and inhaled, aromatherapy not only delivers the calming benefits of fragrance, it also delivers the many health benefits unique to essential oils.
It has been theorized that when essential oils are diffused, they can increase atmospheric oxygen by releasing oxygenating molecules into the air.
Not only do they increase oxygen in the atmosphere, essential oils increase the body's ability to transport oxygen into the cells. The lipid-soluble structure of essential oils allows them to easily pass through cell membranes in the nose and diffuse into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the oils can help transport oxygen and nutrients into the cells. One of the causes of disease in both plants and humans is the inability of nutrients to penetrate the cell. This results in cell deterioration, leads to cell mutation, and creates a host for bacteria and disease.
Essential oils can make chemicals nontoxic by fracturing their molecular structure. European scientists have found that essential oils work as natural chelators, bonding to metallics and chemicals and ferrying them out of the body.
Oils also increase ozone and negative ions, which inhibit bacterial growth. This prevents and destroys odors from mold, cigarettes, animals, etc. Diffused essential oils work as an outstanding air filtration system, helping to remove dust particles from the air.
Tracing the path of essential oils through the olfactory system is fascinating and telling. The olfactory membranes are very tiny and well protected by the lining of the nose. They contain about 800 million nerve endings that receive the microfine, vaporized oil particles, carry them along the axon of the nerve fibers, and connect them with the secondary neurons in the olfactory bulb. The impulses are then transported to the limbic system and the olfactory sensory center at the base of the brain. They pass next between the pituitary and pineal gland and move to the amygdala, which is the memory center for fear and trauma.
Only in 1989 was it discovered that the amygdala plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma and that aroma has a profound effect in triggering a response from this gland. Dr. Joseph Ledoux, of the New York Medical University, theorized that this could be a major breakthrough in helping to trigger the release of pent-up emotional trauma.
People who have had nose surgery or other structural conditions may find it difficult or impossible to detect a complete odor. The same is true of people who heavily use makeup, perfume, cologne, hair sprays, hair colorings, perms, or other products with synthetic odors.
Olfactory nerves are like other nerves and organs in the body. They respond to electrical signals and impulses that form coded messages dispatched to various areas of the body. This may be why inhalation of some oils will increase the production of endorphins, neurotransmitters, and antibodies. Fragrance is one of man's greatest enjoyments, bringing back memories and creating feelings of security, grounding, and well-being.
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Reprinted with permission of Young Living, Lehi, UT 84043
This information is intended for educational purposes only. It is not provided in order to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any illness or disease of the human body.