Aromatherapy, also known as essential oil therapy, is the practice of using natural plant extracts to promote physical and mental health. The use of essential oils has been dated back to over 6000 years, with the goal of healthy and peaceful living.
Ancient cultures in South East Asia and Central Africa have used aromatic plant compounds in their lotions, balms, soaps, and oils. They did so for medicinal as well as cultural purposes. The inhalation of these oils were known to be soothing even in those times.
Use of Aromatherapy:
The oil is inhaled through spray bottles, diffusers, steam baths, and other such ways. This provides an individual with a relaxing scent and can provide respiratory cleansing, act as a decongestant, and provides mental clarity.
When inhaled, essentials oils stimulate your olfactory system, which is connected to your sense of smell. These molecules pass from your respiratory system to the rest of your body. They affect your limbic system, which controls your emotions, breathing, memory, heart rate, blood pressure, stress, and also hormone production. This way, essential oils have a holistic effect on your body.
Massage oils, bathing, and skin-care products, when applied, are absorbed into the skin. By massaging essential oils increases the surface area to volume ratio, which makes absorption easier. Some believe certain areas of the body, such as the head and feet, may absorb the oils more effectively.
How does aromatherapy treatment work?
There are several ways you can use aromatherapy to ease your troubles. You can do this by using the following things:
- Aromatic Spritzers
- Bathing salts
- Body oils, creams, or lotions for massage or topical application
- Facial steamers
- Hot and cold compresses
- Clay masks
Aromatherapy Uses & Benefits:
Research has proven that aromatherapy can help you in the following way:
- Stress and anxiety relief
- Provides relaxation
- Better sleep and insomnia relief
- It provides relief for people suffering from problems like dementia.
- Provides pain relief
- Fights bacteria and fungus
- Provide relief from nausea
- Headache and migraine relief
Most popular aromatherapy oils
Some oils are more commonly used than others because they are more effective, and they provide an array of benefits. Some of the most commonly used aromatherapy oils are:
- Clary sage
- Roman chamomile
- Tea tree
- Ylang ylang
Safety and side effects:
While some essential oils may be safe to use, others can be harmful. Hence, essential oils should be handled with care and precautions, especially if you use prescription medication.
Essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin but should be diluted in carrier oils before use. Perform the skin patch test to test for allergic reactions.
Some side effects can include:
- Asthma attacks
- Allergic reactions
- Skin irritation
Use essential oils with caution if you have:
- Hay fever
- High blood pressure