AROMATHERAPY established itself in the 1990’s as a marriage of sense and sensibility, a union of skin care and self care. There were many providers of the good, the true and the beautiful in aromatherapy, and there were almost as many who stretched the truth in their packaging.
Aromatherapy is the use of the essential oils of botanicals for their healing and aromatic properties. Extracting the essential oils from the plants is an intricate process of pressing and distilling, with low yield. Pure essential oils, then, range from those at reasonable prices to those that go into the hundreds of dollars per one hundred millilitres. Exotic jasmine, neroli, frankincense and rose are amongst the highest in cost. Because they evaporate rapidly, essential oils are secured in carrier oils which allow the healing oils to be used in mists, soaps, bath oils, creams and related products.
An essential oil, then, is the soul of the botanical – precious, unique, healing and lovely.
In my two devotions of being driven by soul-learning, psychotherapy and soap-making, I was privileged to work with souls – the essences of people and the essences of plants. Psychotherapy and aromatherapy are related, I’ve found, and they teach lessons to each other. And this is where the alchemy comes in.
In approaching aromatherapy or psychotherapy, the purpose, the end result, the desired healing, must be clarified first. For instance, essential oil of ylang-ylang would be chosen where soothing and luxurious skin care were in order. In psychotherapy, a Rogerian positive regard would be applied to the psyche suffering from wounded self-esteem. Wise and caring creation of context and ongoing assessment are essential to each domain. Finally and most importantly, results must be seen and felt!
What should the consumer insist on experiencing in aromatherapy and psychotherapy? I suggest that there are three kindred essentials: oasis, perfume and wellness.
The oasis is the place and the time that are yours and that contain what you need in terms of beauty and awakening of the senses in the unique manner that defines ‘you’. The perfume is the fragrance that comes from the essence of the botanical, or the fragrance that comes from the healing psyche that you place in trust to the psychotherapist. The aromatherapy perfume is the olfactory that we take for granted too often in the physical framework. The psychotherapy perfume is the sixth sense realm that we have to develop in a more spiritual sense. And, finally, the wellness is the subtle and growing glow that we feel in our body and soul.
Like shrouded footprints left within a forest, there are also intangible trailings of the fragrance that emanates from the depths of our bodies and souls. We need to learn how to see the trailings, to touch them, embrace and care for them. We need to come to our senses!