Aromatherapy

About aromatherapy and essential oils, their uses an benefits

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural plant extracts for therapeutic benefit, promote health and well-being.  Sometimes it’s called essential oil therapy. In this kind of treatment, you use essential oils, by either breathing them through your nose or putting them on your skin. Some people put the oils on their skin when they get a massage or take a bath.

Essential oils are made from flower, herb, and tree parts, like bark, roots, peels, and petals. The cells that give a plant its fragrant smell are its “essence.” When an essence is extracted from a plant, it becomes an essential oil.

Aromatherapy is thought of as both an art and a science. Recently, aromatherapy has gained more recognition in the fields of science and medicine.

How does aromatherapy treatment work?

Aromatherapy works through the sense of smell and skin absorption using products such as these:        

  • Diffusers
  • Aromatic spritzers
  • Inhalers
  • Body oils, creams, or lotions for massage or topical application
  • Bathing salts
  • Facial steamers

 

Experts think aromatherapy activates areas in your nose called smell receptors, which send messages through your nervous system to your brain.

The oils may activate certain areas of your brain, like your limbic system, which plays a role in your emotions. They could also have an impact on your hypothalamus, which may respond to the oil by creating feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin.

Some experts think that when you put essential oils on your skin, they cause a response in your skin and other parts of your body, like your joints.

What Is Aromatherapy Used For?

Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy. It does not provide a cure for diseases, rashes or illnesses, but it can support conventional treatment of various conditions. It may:

  • Ease stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Boost feelings of relaxation
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Ease some of the side effects of cancer treatment, like nausea and pain
  • Fight bacteria when you put them on your skin
  • Ease certain types of pain, including pain from kidney stones and osteoarthritis of the knee

 

Is It Safe?

Aromatherapy is generally safe. Essential oils can cause side effects, though. Some can irritate your eyes, skin, or mucous membranes in your nose. They can also cause mild allergic reactions.

If you drink some essential oils they can hurt your kidneys or liver. It’s rare that people take essential oils by mouth, and you shouldn’t do it unless your doctor says it’s OK.

If you’re new to aromatherapy, work with an aromatherapist or your doctor. And keep in mind that essential oils aren’t regulated by the FDA, which means that unlike drugs, the agency doesn’t check to see if they’re safe or work the way they’re supposed to.

Which is the most popular essential oils?

There are nearly one hundred types of essential oils available. Generally, people use the most popular oils.

According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, the most popular essential oils are:

  • Lavender oil: Many people find the lavender scent relaxing. It’s often used to help relieve stress and anxiety and promote good sleep.
  • Lemon oil: Many people find the citrusy scent of lemon oil a mood booster. It’s also often used in homemade cleaning products.
  • Lemongrass oil: is used to reduce inflammation, relieve headaches, and ease indigestion.
  • Rosemary oil: is a versatile essential oil that proves useful in everyday life for things like promoting healthy-looking hair, creating a relaxing massage, cooking healthy meals, and more. It even supports healthy digestion.
  • Clary sage oil: is known as one of the most relaxing, soothing, and balancing essential oils when used aromatically and internally.
  • Tea Tree oil: Also called melaleuca, this essential oil was used by Australia’s aboriginal people for wound healing. Today, it’s commonly used for acne, athlete’s foot and insect bites.
  • Ylang Ylang oil: is renowned for its mood enhancing, sedative, antidepressant, beautifying and aphrodisiac properties.

 

Each essential oil has an array of unique healing properties, uses, and effects. Which essential oils are best depends on what symptoms you’re looking to ease or fragrances you prefer. Combining essential oils to create a synergistic blend creates even more benefits.