What is aromatherapy?
If you are suffering from psychological issues like anxiety, stress, poor sleep and you want physical well being than you may consider aromatherapy.
In this type of therapy, plant extract called essential oils are used either by inhalation or by applying on the skin.
Aromatherapy is an ancient therapy and it is considered as alternative medicine.
How does aromatherapy work?
You have seen above, there are different methods available in aromatherapy like topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion.
It is believed that aromatherapy activates smell receptors, which are sending messages to your brain.
The molecules in essential oils reach the brain and activate certain areas of it, like the limbic system, which is linked to your heart rate, blood pressure, memory, stress, and emotion.
Some aromatherapists think that by applying essential oils to your skin, you can observe positive response on the skin and other parts of the body like joints.
Approximately 50-70 BC, documented use of the extract of lemon balm found in “Materia Medica”. Essential oils were used to treat dementia. (1)
In the inhalation method, essential oils can be used as a diffuser container. Spray, oil droplets, steam bath.
If you use eucalyptus oil in the steam bath you will realize immediate relief in decongestion and nose block.
You can get the topical form of aromatherapy in different ways like massage oils and skin care products.
Though essential oils are very useful in massaging, it can not be applied on your skin directly. They must be diluted with other oil.
Benefits of aromatherapy
You should not replace aromatherapy with your medication. Although some researches show that in certain condition aromatherapy can be useful.
- Eases stress
- Joints Pain
- Menstrual problem
- Hair loss
- Eases side effects of cancer treatments
- Fights bacteria
Different types of oils and their usage
1. Lemongrass oil
lemongrass essential oil is antibacterial and anti-fungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and can be a potent insect repellent.
2. Cinnamon oil
In aromatherapy, the cinnamon essential oil can be used to help clear up chest colds
3. Basil oil
Basil essential oil is used as a stress reliever.
4. Lemon oil
Lemon oil is used for improved mood and depression.
5. Sandalwood oil
The sandalwood essential oil is used for its aphrodisiac qualities.
6. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus essential oil can help relieve cold or flu.
The lavender essential oil is used as an antiseptic and headache
8. Black pepper oil
Black pepper essential oil is commonly used for muscular pain and combined with ginger oil it can be used in arthritis.
There are other essential oils are available in the market and you can easily get online.
Risks of aromatherapy
There are certain aromatic plant oils are toxic and should be avoided for use eg. camphor, and wintergreen.
Aromatherapy essential oils are very potent and must not be used undiluted. It should not be swallowed. Do not apply essential oils in ears, mouth and private parts. People with lungs allergy and asthma should use caution when inhaling vaporizing oils.
Aromatherapy essential oils can be poisonous if taken in by mouth.
Pregnant women, epilepsy patients should consult their doctors before using essential oils.
One should always get an allergy test done before using essential oils.