An aromatherapy massage not only relaxes tired muscles - it can soothe the mind and invigorate the senses, bringing the mind, body and spirit into perfect harmony. These expert blends of pure essential oils and all-natural vegetable oils are true multipurpose oils - perfectly suited for massage, body care and baths.
Essential Oil Basics
Essential oils are the highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants. Scientists agree that essential oils may perform more than one function in living plants. In some cases they seem to be a part of the plant's immune system. In other cases they may simply be end-products of metabolism. Essential oils contain hundreds of organic constituents, including hormones, vitamins and other natural elements that work on many levels. They are 75 to 100 times more concentrated than the oils in dried herbs.
All the countries of the world provide essential oils, making aromatherapy a truly global therapy.
Not all Oils are Created Equal
Some plants, like rose and jasmine, contain very little essential oil. Their important aromatic properties are extracted using a chemical solvent. The end product, known as an absolute, contains essential oil along with other plant constituents. Though not a true essential oil, absolutes are commonly used for fragrancing cosmetic products like fine perfumes.
There are also significant differences between synthetic fragrance oils and pure essential oils. Synthetic fragrance oils are produced by blending aromatic chemicals primarily derived from coal tar. These oils may duplicate the smell of the pure botanical, but the complex chemical components of each essential oil created in nature determine its true aromatic benefits. While synthetic fragrance oils are not suitable for aromatherapy, they add an approximation of the natural scent to crafts, potpourri, soap and perfume at a fraction of the cost.
Aromatherapy practitioners need pure essential oils of the highest quality. Important criteria to consider when selecting essential oils include the following: 100% pure and natural, country of origin, growing season, extraction method (e.g., distillation, expression), plant part used and the reputation of the company providing the oils.
Gems of Nature
Pure essential oils, like precious jewelry or fine wine, are gems of nature -- the quintessential life force of aromatic plants, sometimes called the "soul" of the plant. People who truly appreciate the qualities of pure essential oils consider each drop a precious jewel to be savored, enjoyed and protected.
Essential oils absorb into the fluid surrounding the cells beneath the skin's surface for a variety of effects including deep cleansing, nourishing, rejuvenating and balancing. Essential oils also diffuse into the air to provide olfactory benefits.
Extraction of Essential Oils
To extract essential oils in the most effective manner while preserving their therapeutic benefits, they are either distilled or expressed. The two methods are briefly explained below.
Pure essential oils are most commonly extracted from plants through the process of steam distillation. In this process, steam is introduced into a distillation chamber which contains the plant material. The steam breaks down the plant tissue, causing it to release its essential oil in a vaporized form. The vaporized essences, along with the steam and other substances, pass into a pipe through cooling tanks. The vapors return to liquid form and are separated from the water and captured as pure essential plant oil.
Expression, also known as cold pressing, is done exclusively with citrus oils. In this method, the oil-containing outer layer of the fruit is pressed and filtered to yield pure essential oil. It takes 50 pounds of eucalyptus, 150 pounds of lavender, 500 pounds of rosemary, 1,000 pounds of jasmine and over 2,000 pounds of rose to make a single pound of essential oil! The price of each essential oil is directly related to the amount of plant material needed for distillation.
Essential Oil QualityAura Cacia's in-house biochemist, Dr Denys Charles, Ph.D., has spent the last 10 years studying and analyzing the composition of essential oils - learn more about Dr. Charles and his work. Every Aura Cacia essential oil must pass a battery of tests to ensure its authenticity, quality and purity. They perform four major tests in the scientific analysis on every essential oil:
Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GCMS)
Gas chromatography separates the individual constituents of an essential oil and measures the amount of each constituent present. It confirms an oil's botanical identity by comparing presence & amount of each constituent. GC can screen for non-natural or missing constituents, or constituents occurring in unnaturally high ratios, signifying adulteration. With the addition of mass spectrometry capabilities in 2007, Aura Cacia testing capabilities have reached a new high. MS specificially identifies the constituents in essential oils by name and pinpoints the adulterants that are commonly used.
Measures the weight of an essential oil at 25 degrees C. Every oil is made up of a unique constituents. At a given temperature, these constituents have a predictable weight. If an oil has been adulterated, the weight may be thrown off.
Measures direction, left or right, and the degree to which light rays bend or rotate as they pass through an essential oil. Every oil is made up of unique constituents, which predictably influence the direction and degree to which light rays bend as they pass through the oil. If an oil has been adulterated, the degree of rotation may be thrown off.
Measures the speed at which light passing through an essential oil is refracted. Every oil is made up of unique constituents. These constituents predictably influence the speed and number of degrees at which they refract light. If an oil has been adulterated, the speed and degree of refraction may be thrown off.
Essential Oil Safety
Essential oils are very concentrated. Their safe use requires they be treated with care and respect. The user should be knowledgeable about their properties and actions before any use. Most personal applications require drops rather than ounces.
- Always read and follow all label warnings and cautions
- Keep oils tightly closed and out of the reach of children
- Never ingest essential oils
- Don't use undiluted oils on your skin (Dilute with vegetable oils such as sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil)
- Skin test oils before using. Dilute a small amount and apply to the skin on your inner arm. Do not use if redness or irritation occurs.
- Keep oils away from eyes and mucous membranes.
- If redness, burning, itching or irritation occur, stop using oils immediately.
- Angelica and all citrus oils make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light. Do not go out into the sun with these oils on your skin.
- Sweet fennel, hyssop, sage and rosemary should not be used by anyone with epilepsy.
- People with high blood pressure should avoid hyssop, rosemary, sage and thyme.
About Aura Cacia
Aura Cacia began in 1982, it has been a leader in aromatherapy sales and quality -- as well as a key source of expert information that has fueled the widespread awareness of aromatherapy that they see today. A key to Aura Cacia's leadership is sourcing pure, authentic essential oils -- dealing face-to-face with the people growing the plants and extracting the essential oil whenever they can. Frequent trips to places like Europe, the Ukraine, Oregon and Australia to visit suppliers and processors illustrate their commitment to finding the best sources for their oils.
They also test every oil they receive to make sure it meets their high standards. Their industry-leading testing program -- which now includes gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) -- allows us to guarantee that they are providing you with the highest quality essential oils available. Whenever possible, they offer oils that are certified organic as well.
Aura Cacia makes aromatherapy accessible with innovative ready-to-use products that let even beginners realize the full benefits of their 100% pure essential oils in a variety of ways that can easily be a part of any lifestyle. Aura Cacia cares about aromatherapy and the people who use it.