Aromatherapy simply means the application of healing powers contained in essential oils extracted from various plants. Professional aroma therapists focus very specifically on the controlled use of essential oils to treat ailments and disease, and to promote physical and emotional well-being. Aromatherapy doesn’t just work through the sense of smell alone, however. Inhalation is only one application method. Essential oils can also be applied to the skin. When used topically, the oils penetrate the skin, taking direct action on body tissues and organs in the vicinity of application. They also enter the bloodstream and are carried throughout the body. Of course, when applied topically the fragrance of the essential oil is also inhaled. Aromatherapy is actually an aspect of a larger category of healing treatments known as herbal medicine. Herbal medicine also utilizes the healing powers of plants to treat physical and emotional problems. It uses the whole plant or parts of the plant, such as leaves, flowers, roots, and seeds, rather than an essential oil made from it. Aromatherapy and herbal medicine can be used individually, or they can be used jointly to augment potential healing benefits.