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Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential oils from plant sources for health and wellbeing. The early civilizations --- Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Chinese, Egyptian, --- made use of aromatic plant materials in religious ritual and to promote physical and mental wellness. Throughout history, essential oils have had respected healing applications in the herbal tradition, but it was not until the 1930's that the term 'aromatherapy' was coined. Aromatherapy is rapidly gaining scientific, medical and popular recognition. Demand for true aromatherapy products, services and education is growing rapidly as people seek to eliminate stress and improve their overall health.
The practice of true aromatherapy centers on the inhalation and application of 'essential oils' - essences of plants obtained primarily through steam distillation from various parts of certain plants. The advantage of aromatherapy is that its benefits can be immediately experienced. There are approximately 300 essential oils and related natural aromatic products currently available to the aroma therapist and to the general public through specialized sources.

The majority of essential oils are obtained directly from plants by steam distillation. Citrus oils are obtained by 'expression' .

How does true aromatherapy work?
When inhaled, essential oil molecules enter the nasal passages where they stimulate the olfactory nerve, and through a series of complex processes, send messages directly into the limbic area of the brain. The limbic system is the seat of memory, learning and emotion. The inhalation of essential oil molecules causes physiological changes within the body via the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Psychological changes also occur. For example, the aroma of cinnamon (essential oil of Cinnamomum zeylanicum) may well bring about feelings of comfort, warmth and security, due largely to the 'associative memory' of pleasant past events (e.g., the aroma of hot apple pie baking in the oven.) Positive reactions to natural aromas occur even if we have no specific memories associated with them.

Aromatherapy can also be effectively experienced via application --- spreading the essential oils diluted into a carrier base over the skin. The tiny essential oil molecules are 'carried' through the external layers of the skin during aromatherapy massage ('aromassage'). Used topically, essential oils have myriad applications for health, beauty and wellbeing. They are used in medicinal and first aid preparations for their anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. For example, respiratory conditions can be greatly ameliorated by chest massage with an aromatherapy oil blend containing eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) essential oil.