A therapy that involves the inhalation or topical application of aromatic plant oils to help heal and enhance well-being. It is thought that these scents influence the primitive part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system associates odors with past experiences and feelings. Aromatherapy is used to affect moods and relieve stress, headache, digestive upsets and minor aches and pains. Some oils also have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties and may be absorbed through the skin.
Most essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil (such as almond oil) before use – direct application of pure essential oils may cause serious adverse effects. Essential oils should not be taken internally unless advised by a trained health practitioner – many oils are very toxic when ingested.