There are controversies regarding the use of essential oils and aromatherapy. The issues revolve around how they are used and the purity requirements for various uses. This article will explain the reasons for many of the issues and the different philosophies of use.
Three schools of Aromatherapy- German, French, and British
German aromatherapy relies primarily on inhaling the oils. They use pure therapeutic quality oils with techniques that cause the natural oils to be elevated into the air. If you have been to some of the German healing towns, you may have seen places where natural spring water is channeled so that it flows over large frames loaded with tree branches from spruce, pine, and other evergreens. Evergreen oils are great for opening the sinuses and respiratory and for balancing the body energies, leaving one feeling grounded and strong. Inhalation is powerful because the alveoli in the lungs allow the oils to get to the blood stream quickly, and the nose is more directly wired to the brain than any other sense. The nose carries the oils into the center of the brain where the seat of the emotions resides and where much of the endocrine control center sits. This make inhailation a powerful choice for administering therapeutic quality oils.
French Aromatherapy is an intensive use of oils; the quality must be supreme as the French will ingest oil, use them “neat” on the skin (without dillution) and make suppositories of dilluted oils as well as inhale and using them “neat” or undilluted on the skin or areas of pain. The French techniques were originally developed and practiced by doctors, and a couple are still only done by physicians; thus the French are mainly interested in the THERAPY of aromatherapy. Quality of the growth and distillation methods and appropriate storage efforts are critical.
The British school was actually begun by Madame Marguerite Maury a bio-chemist who was trained by French Doctors in the use of the oils. When she moved to England, she focussed on the use of essential oils for massage and beauty rather than the intensive therapeutic methods of the French doctors from whom she learned. Since Madame Maury’s focus was on massage techniques, the British school developed around dilluting the oils with a fatty oil carrier and only about 2% to 5% essential oil.
British aromatherapy research relies on using animals and oils that are not necessarily therapeutic quality and often using only a single constituent of an oil- even if it is actually man made rather than from a plant. These parameters cause a host of confusing and invalid results leading the British School to forbid the use of many oils entirely and near violent warnings regarding the intensive uses of the French School.
Using man-made, contaminated, or food/perfume grade oils is indeed unsafe when considering the intense nature of the French School protocols.
The QUALITY of the oil is CRITICAL to a therapeutic result! This cannot be over emphasized!