How do essential oils work?
Essential oils are credited with many healing and supportive qualities and overall people tend to find them very powerful and effective. Their qualities go way beyond just smelling nice!
But why is an essential oil so powerful and how can it have such a strong effect on your health and wellbeing?
To answer that question, we first need to have a look at what an essential oil actually is.
As the name already gives away, it is an oil that holds the essence of a plant. Plants that give off a scent have cells that produce a strong smelling substance, this is also called the esoteric oil of the plant. This esoteric oil is gained form the plant by steam distillation or squeezing it out of the skin of the fruit. The oil that is the result of this is called essential oil. But often de names are used interchangeably.
Because a plant or a part of the plant, like the flower, leaves or bark, only contains smal amounts of esoteric oil, it takes large quantities to produce a useable amount of oil. This is why essential oils are so concentrated and precious. The oils often have multiple purposes and are very complex in their compilation, just like the plant of which they carry the essence.
You can use the essential oils in different ways: vaporise it, add it to your body oil, or ingest it (only under supervision of a professional since not all essential oils can be used ingested), or smelling the oils directly, taking deep inhales through the nose to take in the smell.
When using the oil the smell directly enters your brain via the limbic system. This is also called our emotional brain and it moves just a fraction faster than the neo-cortex, which is where our rational and analytical thoughts are formed. Dit is why a smell that is connected to a special memory years later can still trigger a strong emotion.
The limbic system has a direct connection to your nervous system, which based on the input from the limbic system, sends signals to your organs and the rest of your body. Since the scent of the oil reaches the limbic brain first, it has a direct effect on your body and well being before the rational brain can interfere. In this way the oil can have a quick calming, energising, or uplifting effect on both your body and your mind.
You can also rub the oil on your skin. The active ingredients of essential oil may penetrate through the epidermis, in contrast to most other substances, where they are taken up by the cells and lymph and enter the bloodstream to subsequently reach the whole body.
Oil & Ohm's Ayurvedic oil line works through both the smell the oil spreads as soon as you apply it to your skin, as well as through the absorption of the essential oils through the skin. The oil has a direct effect on your well-being and state of mind and it has an effect on your body long after the smell fades away.