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The benefits of aromatherapy


16th Jun 2019 Ask Dr Max

The benefits of aromatherapy
Aromatherapy - also referred to as essential oils therapy is a type of alternative medicine that uses essential oils obtained from various plant types to overcome various health issues. Essential oils have been used for centuries as a traditional medicine in many cultures.
However, the concept of aromatherapy was invented in 1937 by a French scientist after suffering a burnt incident which spurred his curiosity on the healing power of essential oils. Today, aromatherapy has gained prominence and is used in spas, yoga class and in hospital to promote alternative healing and general human wellness.

Deriving essential oils

Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils which can be used in various ways to promote healing in the body.

So how do you obtain essential oils?

The majority of exotic plants are known to contain certain chemicals that they use as a protective layer against insects, human beings, bacteria or viruses. These chemicals which contain active ingredients are extracted from the plants in the form of oils through a distillation process. To preserve the strength of the chemicals, the oils are mixed with alcohol, thus forming a very concentrated antioxidant substance which can be mixed with other chemicals and used in aromatherapy.

How to use Aromatherapy

Synergy is an important element in aromatherapy. Synergy is basically a combination of two or numerous essential oils to create a powerful effect in the body. Note that the essential oils produce a weak effect when used individually. Hence, the first step in aromatherapy is combining the separate oils to make the ideal oil. According to AromEssential a leading expert in aromatherapy, the process of combining the essential oils is highly delicate and requires the input of an expert or a medical practitioner. Wrong combination of the different essential oils can have adverse effects on both the patient and the person providing the service, especially when dealing with an allergic patient.
After creating the perfect combination; Aromatherapy can be performed in various ways including:
  • Diffusing - Since essential oils have a strong smell, diffuse the oils into the air, preferably in a controlled room.
  • Inhalation - You can either inhale the essential oils directly into your nostrils. However, be cautious while inhaling the oils, particularly if you are suffering from an allergy. A safer way to inhale essential oils is sprayed on a piece of cloth or inhaling directly from the bottle.
  • Massage - This therapy has various health benefits as well as recreational benefits. Basically, massage therapy involves the manipulation of the body tissues including the muscles, ligaments, connecting tissues and tendons. As a form of aromatherapy, massage involves the use of essential oils to manipulate the body’s tissues.
  • Soaking - This process involves soaking the essential oils in bathwater and immersing yourself in the bath. For more effectiveness, patients are advised to cover themselves with a blanket after soaking the oils and let the effect of the oils infuse directly through your skin.
  • Rubbing - This is the easiest way of aromatherapy. It involves rubbing the essential oils directly to your skin. However, avoid applying the oils on the eyes or in the mouth as that might have adverse effects. In case you accidentally apply to the eyes, rinse immediately with a lot of water.

Benefits of Aromatherapy

The prevalence of aromatherapy in treating chronic illness like arthritis is on the rise due to the natural and non-medicinal feature of aromatherapy. Common benefits include:

Relieves stress

The ever-rising costs of living, unemployment, rapidly changing lifestyles are some of the leading contributors of stress in life. Aromatherapy helps in relieving stress due to aromatic compounds of the essential oils. This element enables the essential oils to soothe the brain and lower anxiety levels in the body thus relieving stress. The best essential oils for stress reliever include; lemon oil, peppermint, lavender among others. The lavender scent particularly is known as a calming effect by lowering the activation of the sympathetic nervous system in the human brain.

Improves quality of sleep

Sleep has various health benefits in the body like promoting growth, rejuvenate the brain, and promote weight loss, helps in fighting depression among others. Aromatherapy promotes sleep by realigning the circadian rhythm which makes the body tired naturally and make you sleep. This is particularly important for people suffering from insomnia. Simply diffuse essential oil into the bedroom an hour to bedtime. This way the essential oils can diffuse directly into the body and work the magic. The best essential oils for regulating sleep include lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood among others.

Strengthens the immunity

Immunity refers to the ability of the body to fight diseases. Having a weak immunity can be a nightmare as one gets exposed to diseases frequently. Essential oils like peppermint, cinnamon, lemon, oregano among others are known to contain antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial abilities which are known to boost the body’s immune system.

Helps in managing cancer symptoms

Managing and curing cancer is one of the most researched areas of aromatherapy. The process is used by cancer patients, particularly during treatment to relieve pain, to reduce stress and promote general body well-being. The compounds in essential oils are known to reduce symptoms related to cancer treatment like nausea, fatigue, depression and insomnia. Also, some cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy are associated with pain which can be lowered by aromatherapy. Note that aromatherapy does not cure cancer, but offers a complementary solution by reducing the effects of cancer treatment like pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression among others. Some of the best essential oils for managing cancer include ginger, lavender, rose, neroli among others.

Boosts energy

Many people turn to stimulants like tea, coffee and other illegal substances to boost their energy levels. Other than being highly addictive, some of the stimulants like coffee can have adverse effects especially on expectant women. Aromatherapy is a natural remedy to boost energy. Many essential oils like cinnamon,jasmine,tea tree among others are known to increase blood circulation in the body thus stimulating the body and the mind keeping your energy levels high.
To wrap up, aromatherapy is a natural, cost-effective way of treating common ailments as well as achieving general body wellness. However, before embarking on aromatherapy, talk to an expert in the area or a medical professional. Also, always acquire essential oils from trusted dealers and avoid mixing the oils without the guidance of an expert in the field.
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