Aromatherapy refers to the practice of using essential oils from plants and other naturally-derived substances such as tree bark, seeds, grass, and flowers, to promote psychological and physical well-being.
When used correctly, various oils have been proven to contribute to one’s health. Aromatherapy is essentially the art of treatment using the sense of smell.
How it works?
Essential oils, or the very essence of plants, are added to a relaxing bath, massaged onto the skin, diffused in a room through incense or other means, or inhaled directly.
Through the stimulation of the olfactory nerves, the scents work their way to the brain and nervous system and can have significant mood altering changes to help one fight depression, relax, and alleviate fatigue.
Clinical studies have shown that the odors we smell have an impact on our psychological, emotional, and mental well-being.
For example, it has been shown that inhaling lavender increases the activity of alpha waves in the back of the head, which is associated with relaxation. Hence, lavender is one of the most commonly used oils for relaxation.
The benefits of aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been around since ancient times, and recognized for its effectiveness in relaxation, managing labor pain, pain relief for those undergoing chemotherapy, and many others.
The various plants and natural ingredients used in the aromatherapy scents usually also have additional benefits. They usually have:
- Antiviral properties
- Aids digestion
- Promotes good and sound sleep patterns
- Stimulating features
- Diuretic properties
Because aromatherapy is a quickly-growing field in alternative medicine, many have tried to copy it and thus one must be careful when purchasing oils.
To maximize the effectiveness of this art, make sure that the products you purchase are all-natural and made only from raw material. Synthetic essential oils are found in the market and are nowhere near as dependable.
Aromatherapy has been successfully used to treat conditions such as the following:
- Chronic fatigue
- Anxiety disorders
- Back pain
Aromatherapy is safe for everyone but just like any form of treatment, you should check with your doctor or physician for any existing or underlying conditions that may harm you if you do the treatment.
Unless you are experienced in self-aromatherapy treatment, it is recommended to do so under the guide of an experienced and qualified practitioner.
The essential oils used are highly concentrated and need the right portions to work properly. Further, you should also test the oils on a small patch of your skin to see if you have any allergic reactions before you go on with the aromatherapy treatment.
Caution is also advised to those who:
- Are pregnant
- Are suffering from epilepsy
- Have existing allergies
- Suffer from high blood pressure
Additionally, be careful never to consume aromatherapy oils, as these are only used for external purposes. Aromatherapy is safe for all ages, however also be sure to keep the oils away from reach of children.