While we may not use all the oils and methods described, the healing power of essential oils is indisputable. It has been documented for thousands of years. When they are used in massage therapy, they have a dual focus on the body, both through the skin and inhaled.
How substances travel through the skin
Many things we put on our bodies end up in our bloodstream:
1. Small and permeable ingredients are absorbed by the skin cells, processed and then secreted from the skin cells into the bloodstream.
2. Large, non-permeable ingredients that are too large to be processed by the skin cells will lodge in between the skin cells, and after a period of time will also enter the bloodstream. These ingredients may also be absorbed by the glands on a temporary basis, although they may be stored there over time before being gradually released into the bloodstream.
This is why it is so important to be careful what we put on our skin in terms of makeup, deodorant, lotions, and other personal care products. The ingredients may end up in our bloodstream where they can do untold damage to our organs.
How aromatherapy influences moods
The sense of smell is a primal defense system as well as a powerful influence over emotions, behavior, moods, and memories. We connect with odors long before we have words to identify them. Unlike the other sensory input which is delivered directly to the processing area of the brain, the thalamus, smells travel through and impact other areas of the brain before reaching the thalamus.
Scents impact both memory and emotions before we even have an awareness of them. This gives them the power to influence how we behave, think, and feel. With aromatherapy we have the power to harness the scents of essential oils for healing as well as to change our emotions.