Bringing Home Nature’s Forest Correctly and Safely
Preserving Both Essence and Health
Recently, aromatherapy has become a hot topic for discussions. Discussions do not focus on the essential oil, but rather its container; and not its plant origin, but rather the isopropyl alcohol that caused a stir. Eventually, discussions digressed into various associated issues and even resulted in specious propaganda of exaggerated information that included relaying of erroneous messages, influencing people against aromatherapy.
In actual fact, aromatherapy has existed for years in western culture and in Europe, there are hundreds of years of history in aromatherapy culture. Eight years since its first importation into Taiwan, how much do Taiwanese consumers know about aromatherapy? From the mystery surrounding a product when it is first introduced, to its gradual acceptance through the course of development, and in the end to becoming an ordinary everyday product, how much do related knowledge and application methods expand as products become more popular? Both the industry, as well as many consumers, believe that essential oils have curative effects, so what is the principle at issue? Or are we to regard essential oils merely as some kind of aromatic ornament? Judging from its long history, and by taking a holistic view of aromatherapy, integrating the three perspectives of the researcher, the professional and the industry, we find that aromatherapy is above reproach!
Ancient Royalties Prescribed it for Effective Stress Relief
The term “aromatherapy” is a combination of two English words “aroma” (meaning fragrance) and “therapy” (meaning treatment). Originating from ancient Egypt, as well as other ancient civilisations, it became fashionable in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. It became a fad in the western world, with essential oils being used to relieve mental stress and to stimulate bodily health. This usage has remained ever since.
What is essential oil? Essential oil is a kind of volatile and highly concentrated aromatic compound, produced using methods to extract essences from the plant’s root, stem, leaf, seed or flower. There is a classification of elementary or compound essential oils. Most elementary essential oil has its anti-bacterial function, to comfort and to soothe. Compound essential oil is a complementary mix of two or more of the above, matched for application in order to multiply their effectiveness.
Aromatherapy usage may be divided into those for massage, bathing, inhalation, vapor inhalation, atomisation, skin maintenance, hair protection, and so on. The principle of aromatherapy lies in the vaporisation of essential oil, which can be inhaled so as to stimulate our sense of smell, which in turn stimulates our brain regions, inducing desired moods and responses. Moreover, since the essential oil molecule is extremely small, it can also penetrate through the surface of the skin, thereby passing through the lymphatic cells to other parts of the body. The aromatic vapors in contact with the skin, can stimulate nerves at the surface of the skin, and produce responses transmitted to the brain, through a series of chemical responses, to induce the desired results or moods in the body.
Aromatherapy – Busy People’s DIY Forest Bath Experience
Many working people share the same woes like frequent headaches caused by intense work burdens, suffering from attacks of pain, often elusive, yet extremely troubling. Visits to doctors only mean getting some routine prescriptions, and a doctor’s advice that you work too hard, so rest well, go take a stroll in the suburbs to soothe both body and mind, and so on. Yet when work piles up, do you find that the headaches seem incurable? However, have you experienced the whiff of a sea breeze, or being submerged in a forest, waterfall region, etc and felt really comfortabe?
The reason that essential oil is able to help alleviate illnesses, or enable clarity of mind to allow attention to be focused, or soothe emotions, eliminate anxiety and aid in sleep, is because it is extracted from nature – the plant’s root, stem, leaf, seed or flower. Different essential oils can produce different effects and bodily responses in people; this is because when a person’s body and mind is in joyful repose, all physical ills will be reduced naturally. The “mobile forest bath” usage of aromatherapy works by releasing the effective essences that have been extracted from nature into your environment.
Bel’Air’s Global Chairman Mr. Huang Shu Li explained further that arduous work and stress have resulted in all sorts of sicknesses in our modern generation. They can be solved using natural means, the best method and without any side effects. Bel’Air’s plant essential oils are extracted from natural plants and flowers, and Mr. Huang has devoted much effect to developing techniques of natural plant essential oil extractions, and he continues to engage experienced professionals and researchers to conduct more scientific tests, and through the use of actual test data, to convince consumers and the public to have knowledge and understanding of the real effectiveness of essential oils, and to foster a deeper appreciation of the true benefits of essential oils.
Visiting Professor of Tokyo University Biological Technology Department and Professor of National Yang Ming University Biochemistry Department, Professor Tsai Ying Chieh, has been conducting amny experiments, at the company’s request, on how Bel’Air’s essential oil vapors affect bacteria in the air. Professor Tsai also focused on analysis of the chemical compositions of Bel’Air’s plant essential oils, and also examined their safety for applications, and the active anti-oxidisation properties (using Ames Test). Ames Test is the most standard method used to detect whether a compound or medicine can undergo sudden transformation in its chemical composition. Professor Tsai first experimented on five kinds of essential oils, namely ginseng, green tea, lotus, green bamboo and eucalyptus, to test their chemical compositions before and after sustaining high temperature at 200-300 Degree Celsius. Results show that these five kinds of essential oils do not exhibit obvious changes in their compositions.
Therefore, Bel’Air’s plant essentials oils with their natural extracted ingredients, when used in aromatherapy in your home, can work to render effects like being situated in the midst of a natural forest, giving effective air purification.
Psychological Influence Or Curative Effect?
Do essential oils really have curative effects? Government’s stance may differ with that of the aromatic health industry, mainly due to the different viewpoints. From the rigorous perspective of the health bureau charged with enforcing medicinal regulation, institutionalised clinical tests are necessary before recognition of claims, but from the angle of the health promoter, the process towards full recognition is not unlike the phenomenon with the development of Chinese medicine, which gradually developed from the traditional treatments to the mainstream scientific arena, such is also the case for the development of aromatherapy.
Therefore, though not widely recognised for the curative effects, in some countries, aromatherapy have nevertheless come under the category for medical treatments; taking France as an example, non-certified aromatherapists (known as Naturopathes) cannot use essential oil in the name of treatment (especially for oral application), however, certified doctors of aromatherapy (known as Naturoth erapeutes) can prescribe both oral and external uses of aromatherapy treatments. Therefore, curative effects of essential oil are not merely acknowledged in Europe and America, but there are also extremely rigorous management and regulations involved. These systems are however not yet established in Asian culture, and hence the differing veiwpoints between industry and government in this part of the world.
Isopropyl alcohol is common in our everyday life. Emphasis should not be to completely annihilate or simply reject its usage, but rather to understand its effects and methods of application. Public and government agencies need not regard isopropyl alcohol, which has been part of our everyday life, with undue suspicions.