Essential Oils - Use of Essential Oils in Aromatherapy

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy


The Use of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

Essential oils and Aromatherapy are intrinsically linked and inseparable. Aromatherapy is a natural therapy that utilizes essential oils for the treatment of various disorders and diseases. Aromatherapy is also widely used in the beauty industry to achieve a 'feel good' effect. Here, however, we'll be looking at the use of essential oils in medical Aromatherapy, that is how essential oils are used as therapeutic substances in the context of Aromatherapy.

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The use of Essential Oils in Medical Aromatherapy

Just like herbs, essential oils are powerful medicinal substances that can be employed to treat a wide range of diseases, ranging from acute conditions such as the common cold, skin infections and many others to chronic diseases like arthritis, chronic lung problems and so on.

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years across many cultures as perfumes, in rituals and other cultural activities.

More recently, essential oils have discovered to be useful medicinal substances and in France, much research has been done into the effectiveness of essential oils in a range of diseases.

For example, Lemon oil is one of the most powerful antiseptic of all the essential oils, it has been shown to be effective against many microbes (Viuda-Martos, et al,. 2008).

According to Valnet (1992) it has a wide range of therapeutic actions when taken internally include: bactericide, antiseptic, cooling, tonic for the nervous and sympathetic nervous system, cardiotonic, diuretic, calmative, anti-spasmodic, etc. While using it externally, it has antiseptic, antitoxic, cicatrising, astringent and insect repellent effect.

A medical Aromatherapist has a deep understanding of the therapeutic actions of essential oils and their physiological effects on the body. An Aromatherapist may use hand, foot, or sits-baths infused with a combination of essential oils or may prescribe a blend of essential oils to be taken internally.

In 1928, Gattefossé founded the science of aromatherapy. By the 1950's massage therapists, beauticians, nurses, physiotherapists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals began using aromatherapy. In France, more than 1,500 trained physicians use essential oils as an alternative to antibiotics (UMM).

In France, the use of essential oils is regarded even more rigorously as a medical discipline. The origin of the modern field of aromatherapy, France represents one of the few countries where combinations of essential oils are used as part of standard, rather than alternative, practice. Physicians who specialize in the art of phytotherapy (plant-based medicine) regularly prescribe specific concentrations of oils internally for patients, particularly in anti-infectious and nervous system disorders.

Externally, essential oils may be incorporated into massage, hydrotherapy, meditation therapy, etc., to assist the therapeutic effects of the physical treatments used. Essential oils may be mixed into massage oils, massage creams or they can be diffused into the air to enhance the therapeutic effect of the therapy being used.

For example, a therapeutic massage that aims to relieve muscular tension and stress will have a stronger therapeutic effect if the oil used by the therapist contains essential oils that help to relieve stress, such as Lavender, Lemon, and others; as well as oils that help to relieve muscular tension which may include Wintergreen, Black Pepper, or Marjoram.


M. Viuda-Martos, Y. Ruiz-Navajas, J. Ferna´ ndez-Lo´pez , J. Pe´rez-A´lvarez. (2008) Antifungal activity of lemon (Citrus lemon L.), mandarin (Citrus reticulata L.), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi L.) and orange (Citrus sinensis L.) essential oils. Food Control 19 (2008) 1130–1138.

UMM – University of Maryland Medical Center (2008) Aromatherapy. URL:


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