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What is Aromatherapy?
With the development of strong allopathic medication to treat health issues, like antibiotics and steroids, the side effects which result in extended use of this sort of medication has become a common feature today.
As an alternative to these artificially-produced chemicals, several different types of healing modalities have re-emerged, like Nutripuncture, Acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, Homeopathy and Aromatherapy.
Out of all these alternative types of therapy, aromatherapy has emerged as an extremely popular means of treatment. Here we take a closer look at aromatherapy and what is has to offer.
Aromatherapy’s Ancient Roots
Oils and extracts from plants and flowers have been used for thousands of years by many civilisations around the world for their healing properties. The use of aromatic oils for massage can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians and before distillation was invented, the oils were extracted by expressions or by enfleurage or maceration. The term “aromatherapy” was first used at the beginning of the 20th century. Aromatherapy etymology means fragrance (aroma) treatment (therapy).
Aromatherapy uses concentrated natural extracts, processed into the form of what is known as ‘essential oils’.
These oils are usually drawn from the leaves, petals, stalks, rinds and roots of various plants(2). As the extracts are extremely concentrated, they are usually diluted with some liquid like alcohol or oil base solution. The resulting substance is then either inhaled, rubbed or in some cases ingested.
So, how does aromatherapy actually work?
As the name suggests, aromatherapy uses aromas to treat a person. The effect of the aroma is believed to work in at least two ways. Firstly, the essential oil used in aromatherapy is believed to react positively with the enzymes and hormones of the human body. Secondly, application of essential oils to the body is believed to be a catalyst for production of substances which combat pain.
The result of the application of essential oils using aromatherapy is that the body gets both mental and physical stimuli, which supports overall health and provides a sense of well-being.
More about Aromatherapy
As explained earlier, aromatherapy uses natural aroma essence removed from plants. The essential oils which are extracted from plants serve to create a sense of harmony in the body both physically and mentally.
According to Robert Tisserand(3), a world-renowned expert in aromatherapy and author of several books on the subject, “Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to the mind, body and soul”
The Benefits of Aromatherapy
– There are several proven benefits of aromatherapy,
some of which are listed below: – Aromatherapy is a proven means to relax muscles
– Aromatherapy is a proven means to relax muscles
– Everyday aches and pains can be reduced considerably
– Muscular spasms can be reduced
– Causes a general feeling of well-being
– It serves as a nerve relaxant
– Certain essential oils used in aromatherapy are useful for providing relief from nausea
– Helps in inducing sound sleep
– Prevent hair falls and encourage hair growth
– Support respiratory health
– Helps regulates menstruation
– Natural insect repellant
– Natural disinfectant and support for the immunity system.
– Natural healing and regenerative properties
How to go about using Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy and essential oils, being very popular, the offer of products and services is widespread. Like with any other health related product, it is important to choose oils blends that are a reliable source, pure and free of chemicals.
Essential oils are very powerful and because they come from naturally-occurring substances, it doesn’t mean that some caution should not be exercised when using them.
Essential oils diffused/inhaled or diluted oils applied topically are not likely to have side effects unless you have a particular sensitivity and you can enjoy enhanced health through DYI aromatherapy. However, ingestion or topical application of pure essential undiluted oils should be recommended by a professional and experienced aromatherapist.
The oils being so powerful, they could in some cases induce unexpected side effects such as disruption of physiological functions of the body or skin irritation (i.e. Bergamot applied to the skin and then exposed to the sun).
Aromatherapy for a Value-Added Lifestyle
With the basic information about aromatherapy given here, you should be able to identify aromatherapy products which will provide relief for health issues ranging from sleep disorder, to PMS, or slow digestion and apply the necessary caution in their use.
With the appropriate selection of the type of aromatherapy, you can enjoy a stress-free, relaxed lifestyle, with enhanced health, the natural way. With regular use of the natural ingredients that are present in aromatherapy treatment, you will find that you have better immunity to disease, and you will feel a general sense of well-being all day, every day.
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With the development of strong allopathic medication to treat health issues, like antibiotics, the side effects which result in extended use of this sort of medication has become a common feature.