What is aromatherapy? It’s a question that seems so simple, yet, it is anything but. The reason? “Aromatherapy” means different thing to different practitioners
The Short Answer
Aromatherapy is the use of volatile organic extracts, know as essential oils, to promote health in the human body.
To some people, essential oils are more natural versions of pharmaceutical drugs. Certain volatile extracts have, practitioners point out, been scientifically proven to relieve pain, reduce swelling, alleviate anxiety and increase the effectiveness of some prescription medications, Dozens of essential oils are well-known germ fighters, promising even against those pathogens that are outpacing modern medicine’s ability to combat them.
Still others hold to a decades-old idea that aromatherapy is a more passive therapy, working mainly by stimulating specific parts of the brain. By traveling directly to the brain, via the olfactory tract, essential oils “work” by stimulating the brain to heal the body.
Others though, prefer a more holistic explanation. To them, volatile extracts are magical plant essences, holding within them the life force of the parent plant. Extracts aren’t used as substitutes or additions to mainstream medication because believers in this type of aromatherapy consider mainstream medicine to be sorely lacking in its simplistic approach to treating symptoms, instead of the entire person, as holistic medicine demands.