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Healing with Essential Oils
Jane T. Cicchetti, RSHom(NA), CCH
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils extracted from aromatic plants to promote health and well-being. It is an ancient art; having been used for thousands of years in healing and for it’s uplifting effect on the mind. The early Egyptians used essential oils to improve mood as well as for their antibacterial properties. Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as the father of western medicine, prescribed aromatic baths and massages as an important part of his program for achieving good health.
The term "aromatherapy” was first used in 1928 by Renee Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist, who worked in his family perfumery business. While in his laboratory, Gattefosse burned his hand and quickly immersed it in the nearby vial of lavender oil that was to be used as perfume. The burn healed quickly and without any scarring. This experience led him to begin the scientific research on the healing properties of essential oils that brought this ancient art into the twentieth century.
Later he and other French scientists confirmed the use of aromatherapy for healing wounds, as anti-bacterial agents, and for their positive effects on psychological and neurological well-being. Aromatherapy, at the present time, is a respected form of medical treatment in France and is used along with more conventional treatments.
Moving closer to home, Fairview has its own expert in aromatherapy – Dr. Joie Power. Dr. Power is a retired, board certified neuropsychologist with nearly 20 years of clinical experience in both in- and out- patient settings. She is the founder of Dreaming Earth Botanicals, a Fairview based company that imports and has been providing therapeutic grade SomaTherapy Essential Oils, massage and carrier oils, flower waters and aromatherapy products to the healing arts community since 1997.
When Dr. Power was assistant professor of Surgery/Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia, a patient brought her information about French doctors using Lavender oil to help seizure disorders. This peaked her interest and after much research, she left her more standard medical practice, immersed herself in the study of aromatherapy, and opened Dreaming Earth Botanicals.
Joie and her husband Ivan live and work on 54 beautiful mountain acres in Fairview and import oils from all over the world. Essential oils, according to Joie, are very much like wine. You can only produce certain great wines in particular locations. The same is true for essential oils. [The best] Lavender, for example, grows in the Provence region of France and [the finest] true Orange essence comes from Italy. You have to have the right composition of minerals in the soil in order to grow plants for therapeutic value.
Joie is also an aromatherapy [and healing arts] educator. She has presented many scientific papers on the subject at national conferences and is a well known speaker and teacher in the field of aromatherapy, essential oils, and alternative healing.
For Joie and Ivan their business is a vehicle for making a contribution to the greater whole and reflects their love of the plant world.
A visit to the Dreaming Earth website will reveal the many useful formulas created by Joie. Two formulas that I have tried are Sleep Well and Finding Joy. If you are having trouble sleeping, place a few drops (you don’t need much when you are using high quality essential oil) in a warm bath and relax for about 20 minutes. This aromatherapy bath will help you drift off into peaceful sleep in no time.
You can also put a few drops a bowl of warm water or a difusser next to your bed. The website has a variety of difussers, lots of educational material on the various ways to use essential oils, and a few simple guidelines such as proper dilution.
As I write this article, the lovely fragrance of the "Finding Joy” formula drifts into my awareness. It subtly fills the room with a combination of oils that include Rose, Sandalwood, and Ylang Ylang.
Along with formulas for mind and body, Dreaming Earth has formulas for natural pest control. One very pertinent formula is called Skatter. It repels all kinds of insects and is said to be an effective mosquito repellant. Since prevention is always the best medicine, this is an important formula to have on hand.