Natural aromatherapy oils can be categorized in many different ways, such as types of effects and healing actions, how the oil is produced, and the chemical properties of the oil. Aromatherapy oils can be used in a variety of ways, as well. When looking for the right healing oil, or seeking health through holistic aromatherapy, the objectives and proper use are key to selecting the right oil.
Types of natural aromatherapy oils can depend on the way they are removed from the plant. Essential oils are extracted by pressure or steam, while absolute oils are extracted by chemicals. Absolute oils are thicker and more concentrated than essential oils, but the resulting product will contain traces of the chemicals used for extraction. Hydrosols are a byproduct of steam distillation of plants. After the essential oil is extracted, the remaining water contains the fragrance of the oil and can be used for some therapeutic and cosmetic purposes.
Essential oils can be categorized by whether its on the skin, inhaled, or taken internally. If the essential oil or oil blend is used in natural aromatherapy as a massage oil, the carrier oil is often healing or soothing to the skin, such as jojoba or sesame oil. Some natural aromatherapy treatments call for warming the oil so it can be inhaled or diffused in a room. An aromatherapy diffuser, which contains an area for holding the oil and some sort of warming device, is employed for this treatment.
Natural aromatherapy oils can be categorized by effect. “Hot” oils are ones that cause a warming sensation on the skin and can cause blood vessels to constrict; this category includes clove, eucalyptus, bergamot, cinnamon, and peppermint aromatherapy. Calming oils are said to produce a sense of well-being and sleepiness, and reduce anxiety; oils in this group include lavender, chamomile, clary sage, ylang ylang, and vanilla aromatherapy. Practitioners should have a clear understanding of the effects of aromatherapy oils when blending and using oils.
Herbal aromatherapy is based on the chemical content of botanicals, as well as the healing effects of different scents. Essential oils containing aldehydes and esters act as sedative, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and antivirals. Oils with sesquiterpenes are said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral, and immune system boosting effects. Alcohols and phenols both have a stimulating, revitalizing effect, and ketones stimulate cell growth and wound healing. As with any treatment, a doctor should be consulted before using natural aromatherapy oils for healing.