I have to admit that a few years ago, I really didn’t know what aromatherapy was.  I assumed, rightly I think, that any and everything that smelled good to me was aromatherapeutic.  Not that case.  According to the Nature’s Gift website, composed of owners who specialize in aromatherapy:

Aromatherapy is derived from the ancient practice of using natural plant essences to promote health and wellbeing. It consists of the use of pure essential oils obtained from a wide assortment of plants, which have been steam distilled or cold-pressed from flowers, fruit, bark and roots. … The appropriate oils can have powerful results, both on the body and the spirit. “Fragrance Oils”, “Perfumes” and other artificially made substitutes for Pure Essential Oils can not produce these amazing results.

Unfortunately it’s quite true that your favorite Bath and Body Works Lotion or any other product made with artificial scents (usually noted as “fragrance” in the ingredient list) cannot promote well-being like Essential Oils can. This is why I use essential oils in my products.  I have a few fragrance oils that I use, and most of them are phthalate-free.  I have this fragrance oils on hand to give my customers options: for purchasing scents that aren’t easily replicated by nature, and for those would be considerably costly to purchase (i.e. rose and sandalwood essential oils and absolutes).  For instance, instead of purchasing Lemon fragrance oil, I use Lemon essential oil which gives us much more benefits than an artificial replication.

Let me illustrate: A few months ago I was given a wonderful lotion as a gift by a dear friend, Carrie from Morning Star Soaps and Candles.  I absolutely LOVED the scent of this lotion, and I couldn’t explain why.  In addition to being ultra-moisturizing and healing, it smelled fabulous to me, and long after the lotion was gone, I continued to hold on to the bottle and open it periodically just to smell it. Since Carrie scents her items with both essential and fragrance oils, I assumed that the scent (which she called “Heaven”) was a dupe of Lemon Sugar or some other fragrance oil that incorporated Lemon and Vanilla.

To my surprise, she explained that the scent was created from a signature blend of essential oils.  That explained my love and longing for the lotion (despite the fact that I am a bath and beauty fanatic!). 🙂  This one experience proved to me the power of plant elements to heal and to nourish.  Why attempt to comfort ourselves in artifice when we can have the real thing for just a little more?

Next Week: Aromatherapy, II: The Power of Plant-Based Parfums