Aromatherapy, the combination of aroma- meaning scent or smell and therapy- meaning treatment, is concerned with the psychological and physical health of the individual on a holistic mind, body, and spirit level. Natural aromas from essential oils are the basis for aromatherapy which we experience through our olfactory system, our sense of smell. Another word for our sense of smell is olfaction which affects the limbic system of the brain, our feel good mood center. Involved in sensory perception, motor function, and olfaction, the limbic system is also responsible for controlling various other functions in the body including interpreting emotional responses, storing memories, and regulating hormones.
Limbic system structures are involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival such as fear and anger. The limbic system is also involved in feelings of pleasure that are related to our survival, such as those experienced from eating and sex. The limbic system influences both the peripheral nervous system and the endocrine system.
Regina Bailey ThoughtCo.com
Through the ages evidence shows that essential oils have been used by civilizations for medicinal, therapeutic, spiritual, ritualistic, culinary, hygienic and cosmetic purposes to support good health and treat ailments. The Egyptians were known for massaging their bodies with fragrant oils after bathing, while the Greeks used the oils medicinally and cosmetically. However, the practice of burning incense as a mood enhancer for harmony and balance dates back to China, where the oldest surviving medical book (dated around 2700 BC) was found to contain information on over 300 plants. As plant remedies were discovered, different methods of extraction evolved from burning/smoke, infusion in an oil, the process of distillation, and chemical extraction. An Egyptian papyrus dated around 1555 BC depicts infused oils and herbal preparations for spiritual, medicinal, mummification, fragrant and cosmetic uses. Egyptians are acknowledged, in fact, to have coined the term perfume from the Latin per fumum which translates as through the smoke.
The term aromatherapy only came about in the 2oth century, in a 1928 article written by French chemist Rene`- Maurice Gattefosse`. In the article, he describes accidentally burning his hand in his science lab, then randomly dunking his hand in a vat of lavender oil and how rapidly the burn healed. Gattefosse` went on to write a book that was translated into English called Gattefosse`s Aromatherapy, which is still in print and widely read today.
Pleasure is potent healer and, naturally, we are attracted to aromas and experiences that make us feel good, which is why an Aromatherapy Facial is one of the best ways to reset your mind, body, and spirit.
Citrus - fresh, clean, refreshing, inspiring- think lemon, orange, and grapefruit.
Floral - flowery, soothing- think lavender, geranium, chamomile, and rose.
Herbaceous - herbal, energizing- think oregano, thyme, rosemary, clary sage.
Spicy - not hot, but spices of fall and winter, grounding- think nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamon.
Woody - grounding, soothing, stabilizing- think sandalwood, fir, cedarwood, cypress, juniper.
Earthy - more masculine- think patchouli, vetiver, angelica.
Resinous - reflective, grounding, inspiring- think frankincense, myrrh.
Camphoraceous - unmistakably heady scent that is strongly aromatic, energizing- think tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint.
Essential oils are known to soothe the skin and make it glow, maintaining moisture and radiance. They have a small molecular weight allowing them to penetrate deep on the surface of the skin. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties in the oils alleviate redness and irritation in the skin, while healing properties make essential oils ideal for use in facials.
1. The facial begins with oil cleansing and massage using essential oils that are mixed into a carrier oil. This is a pre cleanse step that softens congestion, absorbs dirt on the skin, and sets the mood for relaxation.
2. Deep cleansing involves removing the oil and debris from the skin with a foamy cleanser.
3. Steaming the skin swells the pores to further release congestion and debris. A few drops of an essential oil in the facial steamer produce a variety of effects such as:
- Tea tree – for clogged pores, colds, sore throat, acne, whiteheads and blackheads.
- Lemon oil – oily skin, blemishes, skin brightening, allergies
- Lavender oil – soothing skin, beautifying skin, blemishes
- Peppermint oil/Eucalyptus oil – clogged nose & sinuses, sore throat, difficulty breathing, allergies, headache, migraine, colds & cough
- Geranium oil – skin beautifier, treats hormonal & cystic acne, clogged pores, oily skin, dry skin
4. During the 5-10 minute steaming process a hand and arm massage is given.
5. Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and make the skin smoother and more receptive to moisturizing and nutrients.
6. Massage to exercise and relax muscles in the decollate, shoulders, neck and face. Stimulates detoxifying and regenerating.
7. Masking the skin is customized to further draw out impurities, impart vitamins, and/or hydrate and moisturize the skin.
8. Final moisturizing to plump and protect the skin against pollution and environmental elements. A hydrated cell is a defensive cell.
- Brighten to remedy a tired and dull complexion.
- Sooth and potentially treat acute or chronic skin conditions.
- Treat clogged pores and diminish appearance of large pores.
- Control oiliness.
- Relax the senses / mind.
- Hydrate and restore moisturize to dry skin.
- Exfoliate to reveal a smoother, more youthful appearance.
- Revitalize and rejuvenate mature skin.
- Heal skin burns.
- Detoxify skin.
- Reduce puffiness around eye.
- Slough off dead skin.
- Soften and prevent fine lines and wrinkles..
- Stimulates circulation and the natural healing capabilities of your skin.
How often to get an Aromatherapy Facial? Cellular turnover, or cell renewal factor, refers to the constant shedding of skin cells and the subsequent replacement of new, younger cells coming to the surface. This process takes place every 28-40 days. When the new cell makes it’s way up from the stratum germinativum, deepest layer of the epidermis, it eventually reaches the uppermost layer of the epidermis called the stratum corneum. Here the cell has become rough, dry, and flaky and is sloughed off. As we age this whole process called desquamation slows down. Finding the right amount of exfoliating and nourishing the skin is the secret to a smooth youthful appearance. Once a month or at least once a season is the ideal frequency to give your skin professional attention from an esthetician, particularly in more arid environments like Sedona, Arizona. Refresh and renew with an Aromatherapy Facial during your Sedona spa retreat and get in touch with your skin!