Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Most people do not realize that essential oils which are the basis of aromatherapy enter the blood stream of the body via skin absorption or inhalation and act as catalysts to create balance in the cells and organs.
This is a simplified journey with a molecule of essential oil through the body:
• To begin, the molecules of oil are small due to the distillation process. Their small size and the polarity determine how fast the oil molecule will penetrate through the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. They often go through via a hair follicle or sweat gland. The oil molecule then travels to the dermis and enters the blood capillaries there. Eventually it passes to the arteries and veins throughout the body. As the oil molecule moves through the blood stream, it finds the right cell receptor for binding. For example, a molecule of Rosemary travels to cell receptors on the liver. Finding the right cell receptor, it acts to regenerate and balance this vital organ. The oil molecule will leave the body in 4 to 24 hours. Usually, it is processed by the liver to become water-soluble. It then moves out of the body through the kidneys into the urine. This is an amazing gift from God that we have been bestowed. To imagine and realize that essential oils are so smart in frequency that they can find the correct cell receptor that needs its qualities of healing surpasses any lab created medicine.
Skin absorption factors:
• Skin Hydration - A hot bath or shower can increase the absorption of essential oils.
• Occlusions - Covering the skin with clothes, bandages etc. will increase the temperature and absorption of essential oils
• Temperature - Warmth of air or water increases blood capillary circulation and absorption of essential oils. Heat due to exercise increases absorption also.
Olfactory: the inhalation of Essential oils:
The other main path for essential oils to enter the body is through the olfactory system. As a person inhales the essential oil, the molecule of oil goes up into the back of each nostril to the postage size Epithelium patch. The molecules attach to receptors on the cilia hairs in the nose space. They turn into nerves on the other side of the mucous patch, which sends the odor info on to the olfactory bulb. This means the essential oil itself is not sent to the brain, but instead a neural translation of the complex essential oils. The millions of nerves enter through the bone to the olfactory bulb and merge into two large nerves that go back to the limbic brain in the inner center of the head. The right nerve goes back to the Amygdala, a center for emotions in the limbic system. There the aromatic info is connected to the emotions of the situation.
Because the limbic system is directly connected to parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, scents can have physiological and psychological effects.
Essential oils are also absorbed through the skin when directly applied, such as with massage. They then travel into the lymphatic system, which circulates them into the blood stream, where again they can have physiological effects.
For example, a person smells a bouquet of fragrant roses and suddenly receives traumatic news; they will always have an uneasy feeling about the smell of these flowers. The opposite effect is true as well, if one were expressing fresh squeezed orange juice and surprised by their partner with acts of affection, they will smile inwardly every time they smell oranges.
The nerve information is sent on from the Amygdala to the Hippocampus, a center for short term memory in the Limbic system. So, right away, the smell, emotion, and memory are commingled, as they are stored in the Limbic system. Then this information goes on to the Hypothalamus for long-term memory. It is passed on to the Pituitary or master gland and eventually the whole endocrine system.
I hope this informative was able to guide you gently into the realms of natural health and wellness through Aromatherapy.
Heather A. Howell is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist serving as the Master Aromatherapist at Aroma Pharmica, an Organic Skincare Company and Seeking Indigo, a Holistic Wellness Oasis in Charleston, SC. Heather also teaches aromatherapy to health practitioners, professionals in the medical field, massage therapists and other healing modality practitioners throughout United States.
In her private practice, Heather assists her clients in addressing issues and obtaining wellness and prevention through the natural medicine of essential oils. Life with 3 incredible children based on holistic living and nature is rewarding and fulfilling. Aroma Pharmica is located on James Island, SC. 843.330.5941 On-line at http//:www.aroma-pharmica.com