What Is Aromatherapy and
How Does It Benefit the Body?
Aromatherapy treatment uses extracts from plants to provide good health and well being, and can also sometimes be referred to as essential oil therapy. The oils used in the therapy work to enhance both emotional and physical health.
The practice of aromatherapy is considered as much an art as it is a science. However, it has recently gained significant recognition by the medical world thanks to more and more research being conducted into its benefits.
Aromatherapy was first practiced by ancient civilizations, thousands of years ago. It was used for medical purposes, as well as part of religious ceremonies. However, the actual term ‘aromatherapy’ was only coined in 1937 by a French perfumer.
How does aromatherapy work?
The treatment works via smell and absorption by the skin of a variety of aromatherapy supplies. The ways in which these can be administered include bathing salts, diffusers, inhalers, facial steamers, clay masks, aromatic spritzers, body oils, creams, lotions, and hot and cold compresses.
These can either be used individually or in combination with one another. Some of our favourite aromatherapy supplies come from brands such as Amrita Aromatherapy, NOW, and Dr. Mercola.
Essential oils are a popular product used in aromatherapy treatments and they boast many different healing properties. Most individuals tend to stick to the more popular smells, but there are in fact hundreds of different essential oils. Some of our favourites include lemon oil, cinnamon oil, bergamot oil, cedarwood oil, lavender oil, geranium oil and frankincense oil.
It is important to purchase essential oils from a reputable supplier, as they are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is always advisable to purchase those that are from 100 percent natural ingredients and do not contain any synthetic ingredients or additives.
How does aromatherapy treatment benefit the body?
There are many different benefits to receiving aromatherapy treatment. These include alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy, improving digestion, boosting immunity, easing the discomforts of labor, managing pain, soothing sore joints, reducing stress, improving sleep quality, treating migraines, fighting bacteria, and improving palliative care.
However, it must be noted that many of these claims are simply anecdotal and are not always backed up by science. The evidence into the benefits of aromatherapy treatment is lacking, particularly in its usefulness in treating Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.
The vast majority of essential oils are safe to use on humans, but there are some precautions that should be taken. There is the chance of negative side effects occurring in those individuals taking prescription drugs. Essential oils should never be applied directly onto the skin; a carrier oil should always be used to dilute its properties. They should also never be swallowed. It is also recommended to perform a patch test before starting to use any essential oils.
Any pregnant or breast feeding women, as well as children, should seek the advice of a licensed healthcare practitioner prior to beginning using essential oils.