Have you spotted those tiny glass bottles on the supermarket shelves? Does it seem like every new product you hear about is infused with some type of essential oil? Have you had a friend recommend essential oils for your headaches, stomachaches, or insomnia?
This is no coincidence when you consider that the essential oil market is worth an impressive $11.67 billion.
What do you think? Are essential oils the latest health fad, or is there actual science to back up their use? How do essential oils work, anyway?
Keep reading below as we explore this fascinating topic!
What Are Essential Oils?
In simplest terms, essential oils are pure, concentrated plant extracts. They’re distilled from raw plant material (flowers, leaves, bark, fruit, etc.) through water or steam.
It takes an enormous amount of plant material to produce essential oils. For example, to get just 16 ounces of lemon, lavender, or rose oil, you’d need 1,500 lemons, 250 pounds of lavender, or 10,000 rose petals!
Far from being a modern fad, people have used aromatic oils for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used plant oils during the embalming process, while the Magi (according to tradition) offered frankincense oil as a gift.
Meanwhile, the modern use of essential oils dates back to 19th-century Europe, when doctors began using lavender oil to treat skin ailments.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Essential oils have long been popular, but how do they work?
There are two main ways to use essential oils: inhalation (in the form of aromatherapy) or topical application (through massage oil or other skincare products).
You can inhale essential oils once they’re converted into droplets in the air via a diffuser, spray, or steam bath. Not only does this provide a pleasant scent, but it stimulates your entire olfactory system (the connection between your nose and your brain).
Another common way to use essential oils is to blend them with a carrier oil and apply them directly to the skin. For example, if you add aromatherapy to any massage treatment, your therapist will blend your chosen essential oil into the massage oil.
Once the oils enter your body — via inhalation or absorption — they have a direct effect on your limbic system. This is the part of your brain that affects your:
- Stress levels
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
In other words, it’s not a coincidence that you feel calm when you catch a whiff of lavender or cheerful when you notice a citrusy scent in the air. That’s the direct result of your body’s response to these powerful, all-natural essential oils.
Is this all just hearsay, or is there any science to back up these claims? Consider a few interesting findings from recent research studies:
- Thyme and cinnamon essential oils show a strong killing ability against Lyme disease bacteria
- Tea tree essential oil may help to heal and prevent acne breakouts
- Bergamot and citrus essential oils may fight the growth of E. coli and staphylococcus bacteria
With new exciting research underway, we’re sure to find even more beneficial uses for essential oils in the future. In the meantime, one of the easiest ways to enjoy essential oils is by adding them to your next spa treatment.
Aromatherapy Massage in Vail, Colorado
So then, how do essential oils work? Through inhalation or topical application, these concentrated plant extracts can have a positive effect on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
To experience these benefits for yourself, why not add aromatherapy to your next massage session?
Apres Massage and Facial in West Vail offers an array of high-quality essential oils to choose from. Book your treatment here or give us a call at 970-445-2114 to learn more about our spa services.