Essential Oils and Their Use In Acupuncture

The History of Essential Oils In Chinese Medicine

Some of the earliest known use of Essential Oils dates back to Ancient China between 2697 – 2597 BC during the Huang dynasty. There are ancient Chinese Medicine texts which list essential oils and their benefits. The use of Essential Oils dates back not only through the history of Chinese Medicine, but also back to ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Arabia, Isreal and Europe. There is evidence that essential oils were even used to help people survive the bubonic plague, due to their powerful immune boosting effects.

Therapeutic Properties of Essential Oils

Whilst the value of the use of Essential Oils has been somewhat lost through centuries of Western culture and it’s neglect of the mind-body-spirit connection, the importance of the sense of smell and the potential application of essential oils in healing is making a comeback, particularly in the last few years. What are Essential Oils? Essential Oils are the pure essence extracted from the leaves, seeds, roots, or flowers of a plant or tree. They are the “life-force” and have also been called the blood of the plant. Just one drop of an essential oil can have a powerful effect on the body. Each essential oil has its own set of health enhancing properties which are dependant on the chemical constituents that make up the individual oil.

The Importance of Purity

It is only pure, natural living plant extracts that carry healing properties required to enhance the health of the body. A pure plant oil will give and create more life energy.  A synthetic or impure oil will drain life energy, as the body works to eliminate something which is unnatural. High quality essential oils are extracted in a way where proper extraction and quality control methods are followed. Many brands of essential oils on the market contain synthetic fillers and perfumes and it is for this reason that only certified pure brands of essential oils are used.

The Use of Essential Oils – A Chinese Medicine Perspective

Chinese Medicine Practitioners will look at an essential oil in terms of its energetic effect on the body, its effect on the shen (spirit) and also its thermal nature. Essential Oils can have a grounding or uplifting effect depending on their properties and the part of the plant from which they are extracted. Essential oils can be applied directly to the acupuncture points on the body prior to needle insertion to enhance their action. This technique dates back some time to a French acupuncturist who was familiar with the properties of essential oils. Oils can be placed on with a q-tip, which is placed on the skin until the oil seeps down through to the area of the point, which will energetically activate it.

Choosing Oils For Specific Conditions

For every acupuncture point there are a number of different oils that can be used to enhance one or more of it’s actions. For example some oils, such as eucalyptus and tea tree have a resonance with the lung meridian ( lung channel ) and therefore these oils are commonly used on points on this channel. There are specific oils that have a cooling thermal nature on the body such as peppermint, lavender or lemon and can be beneficial for heat conditions in the body. Essential oils with a warming effect will likewise be used to treat cool conditions. In ancient times, the division of using essential oils for either spiritual, emotional or physical healing did not exist. The three areas were inextricably linked. In Chinese Medicine, essential oils are used in the same way where the spirit and emotions are connected to the body. Essential Oils are powerful, effective and completely safe when used appropriately. They can do everything from supporting the immune system and relieving headaches, to improving digestion and treating skin conditions.

essential oils acupuncture

Peer-Reviewed Studies Support Their Effectiveness

Those who are not convinced about the effectiveness of essential oils could take a quick look through the US National Library Of Medicine where you can access a list of studies on Essential Oils and find: – Over 100 studies on the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of Frankincense (which contains boswellic acid). Frankincense is now used in hospitals in Europe and Middle East due to these powerful healing properties. – Over 38 studies that show Lavender Oil is superior to a placebo and shows benefit for relieving anxiety, depression or restlessness. – Studies on Tea Tree show it inhibits the influenza virus, treats fungal growth and also inhibits candida. – A systematic review of five clinical trials shows peppermint oil to be effective in significantly reliviving IBS Symptoms such as bloating, gas and constipation.

Essential Oils are in no way a “quick fix” but rather a way to enhance healing and support the functions of the body. Essential oils are a great thing to have in your holistic medicine kit as a way to support your health. If you would like to purchase pure therapeutic grade oils you can find them here.

If you visit any of our Sydney Acupuncture centres you might smell the aroma of fresh pure essential oils which we like to diffuse to help with relaxation and stress relief and to create a more relaxing atmosphere for our patients.

You can Visit our acupuncture clinics in North Sydney and Bondi Junction. For more details of our Sydney Acupuncture locations click here.

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