Aromatherapy is the use of the aromatic essence of a plant. We think of little brown bottles of fragrant oil. Some smell pleasant and others frankly don’t! To produce most authentic and pure oils, large amounts of plant material are put into enormous vats and steam coming up through the plant material later condenses into essential oil and water. The oil that floats on top has the fat-soluble plant compounds and the water underneath contains the water-soluble plant molecules. Both are useful in aromatherapy. The scent of a pure oil can be reproduced in a laboratory, but the true plant chemistry cannot be reproduced synthetically, so a synthetic oil could never affect the mind and body the way a natural oil could.
So what can an essential oil do? There are countless testimonies by people who claim that an oil helped them in a certain way. A clinical aromatherapist studies the research done on the chemistry of the essential oil components and how those components affect the mind and body. A clinical aromatherapist creates blends and products that have essential oils in them like massage oils, cleansers, salves, and lotions to help their client achieve their wellness goals. Essential oils have been scientifically found to affect even the nervous system, which means that the brain and heart can be excited or calmed. Because of this and other reasons, such as potential drug interactions and overdosing, care should be used with all essential oils when they are employed beyond making a room smell nice or cleaning the home.