Throughout my adulthood, I have dabbled with aromatherapy. But not really knowing the true benefits. If I had a rough day, I would drop some lavender oil in my bath, or spray some on my sheets before bed. Now, I have truly educated myself on the healing properties, and I use it everyday!
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine practice utilizing fragrant/aromatic essential oils that are derived from a wide variety of healing plants. When inhaled or applied to the skin, therapeutic-grade essential oils have been shown to help people overcome various health problems without the need for medications (Please consult your doctor).
Here’s some facts about how essential oils work:
- Plants contain certain beneficial chemicals as a means of protecting themselves, including to ward off insects or rodents, and to defend themselves from bacteria or viruses.
- The active ingredients within the oils are taken directly from high yields of medicinal plants or herbs through a process known as distillation, then mixed with alcohol to preserve their strength. The finished result is a very concentrated oily formula that can be mixed with other substances.
- Because they’re very strong, essential oils used in aromatherapy practices are usually combined with a carrier oil, such almond, jojoba or coconut oil (what I use), before being applied directly to the skin.
Aromatherapy can be performed in several different ways:
- Diffusing a combination of essential oils into the air (or just one single oil)
- Inhaling oils through the nostrils directly off of a cloth or from the bottle
- Receiving massage therapy utilizing oils
- Soaking in an oil-infused bath... yes!!!
- Rubbing oils directly onto the skin
Research shows that when used at home, most people use aromatherapy oil candles, apply natural products containing oils to their skin or add oils directly to a soaking bath/warm shower. What types of plants produce popular essential oils used in aromatherapy? These include:
- Herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano or peppermint
- Leaves from eucalyptus plants
- Grasses, such as lemongrass
- Fennel seeds
- Zest from fruits such as oranges, grapefruit or lemon
- Flowers, including rose or geranium
- Wood or bark from trees including cedar or pine
- Roots from ginger
- Resin from frankincense trees
- And many more
What is Aromatherapy used for?
Aromatherapy has been studied in connection with improving both short-term health problems, along with more serious disorders. Research shows that anyone with the following health conditions can likely benefit from aromatherapy (Please consult your doctor):
- Chronic stress or anxiety
- Insomnia and trouble sleeping
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Respiratory infections
- Digestive upset
- PMS or menopause symptoms
- Skin problems or disorders, including bites, rashes, bruising, cellulite or acne
- Blood sugar fluctuations
- Cancer, side effect symptoms
The key to achieving results from aromatherapy is to use pure, therapeutic-grade oils rather than those with synthetic ingredients or fragrances. The effectiveness of aromatherapy practices always depends on the quality of the oils used, plus the dosage.
What are the Benefits?
1. Promotes Relaxation
Many studies have shown that certain essential oils used in aromatherapy practices, including lavender and chamomile, can help people who feel stressed or anxious to relax . The scent of lavender is believed to have a practically universal calming effect that lowers activation of the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the fight or flight response and physical symptoms, such as sweaty palms or a racing heart.
If you’re new to aromatherapy, a simple way to begin is adding several drops of relaxing essential oils for anxiety to a warm bath. For example, five to seven drops of lavender added to a soaking bath (sometimes also with Epsom salt) is a common way to help manage daily stress.
2. Helps Improve Sleep Quality
Because many aromatherapy oils help people unwind and feel less stressed, they can be very useful for making you feel sleepier before bedtime. Those with insomnia, anxiety, or even restless leg syndrome and hot flashes that strike during the night can benefit from sleep-inducing essential oils, including lavender oil, chamomile, rose, vetiver and ylang ylang.
An hour or so prior to going to sleep, try diffusing essential oils in your bedroom using either an aromatherapy candle, electronic diffuser or oil burner. Diffusing aromatherapy oils works by releasing very tiny particles into the air that can be directly inhaled through the nostrils, where they travel to the brain and are able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Adding about five to 10 drops to a diffuser in your home or office can help create a calm environment, plus make a room smell great.
3. Treats Respiratory Issues
Certain aromatherapy oils have antiseptic properties that help cleanse the air of bacteria, fungus and mold that can contribute to respiratory problems, such as congestion, coughing or sneezing.
Research shows that using citrus oils in aromatherapy practices can help improve overall immune function and reduce fatigue associated with depressive states. It’s been found that aromatic oils, such as orange and lemon (those with a citrus fragrance), can restore stress-induced immuno-suppression and help restore balance. Citrus oils are also beneficial for improving mental health by stimulation of the sensory system called the “olfactory system,” which controls one’s sense of smell.
Other than diffusing oils in your home, you can inhale aromatic oils directly from the bottle or rub some directly onto your chest or neck so you can breath in the particles. There are some great essential oils for allergies, sore throat, and other respiratory problems. Essential oils that can help you overcome sinus infections, allergies, colds, the flu or coughs, and fatigue include eucalyptus, peppermint, frankincense, rosemary, myrrh, lemon, oregano and tea tree.
4. Improves Skin Health
Diluted essential oils can be spritzed onto the skin or scalp to reduce acne, dandruff, cellulite, toe fungus, itching, inflammation from bites, rashes or to improve wound healing. Tea tree oil is one of the most popular oils for treating skin problems since it has antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal and other cleansing qualities.
Other aromatherapy oils for skin include lavender, clary sage, juniper berry, lemon, orange, helichrysum and frankincense. To make a homemade aromatherapy oil spritzer that you can spray into the troubled area of your skin, add 10–20 drops of oil to a spray bottle containing about four ounces of water.
Use several sprays at one time on your skin, and keep what you don’t use right away for later use. You can also use the same oils on your skin or scalp directly (including making a homemade essential oil shampoo) or spray them throughout your home for other benefits.
5. Can Help Manage Symptoms or Side Effects of Cancer
Aromatherapy is used by patients with cancer primarily as supportive care during treatment, for stress reduction or pain management, or simply for general well-being. It’s common for people battling cancer to try different methods of complementary treatments (including massage therapy, meditation or acupuncture), in which aromatherapy oils can be utilized.
What is aromatherapy used for in cancer patients? Various aromatherapy oils are capable of lowering symptoms associated with cancer or hospice care, such as nausea, fatigue, aches or pains, depression, and insomnia. Essential oils that can help you cope with cancer symptoms, or side effects caused from cancer treatments, include frankincense, ginger, lavender, geranium, rose, neroli and clary sage.
6. Soothes Pain and Inflammation
To help soothe tight or tense muscles, achy joints, inflamed tissue injuries, or pain from headaches, a combination of different aromatherapy oils can be inhaled or applied to the troubled area . Popular essential oils for arthritis pain include ginger, myrrh, turmeric and orange. You can use other aromatherapy oils for nearly any source of pain, including essential oils for headaches, such as peppermint, spearmint, rosemary and frankincense.
7. Helps Reduce Fatigue and Raise Alertness
In a Study from International Journal of Neuroscience found that aromatherapy positively affects alertness, competency on testing (in this case regarding math problems) and improves overall mood. Adults were given three minutes of aromatherapy either using one of two aromas, lavender (considered a relaxing odor) or rosemary (considered a stimulating odor). Participants completed math computations and surveys regarding their mood before and after the therapy.
Those exposed to lavender aromatherapy showed increased beta power, suggesting increased drowsiness, but they also reported decreases in depressed moods and feeling more relaxed. Although they reported feeling more drowsy, the lavender group participants actually performed the math computations faster and more accurately following aromatherapy. The rosemary group showed decreased frontal alpha and beta power, suggesting increased alertness. They also had lower state anxiety scores, reported feeling more relaxed and alert, and were faster at completing the math problems.
8. Improves Libido
Aromatherapy has a long history of use for improving libido, raising energy through increased blood flow and treating sexual dysfunctions. Popular aromatherapy oils for improving hormonal balance, “feminine power” and sexual health include clary sage, sandalwood, rosemary, geranium.
9. Improves Digestion and Lowers Nausea
Aromatherapy oils, such as ginger, turmeric, grapefruit, peppermint, lemon, chamomile and eucalyptus, can help curb acid reflex, ulcers, nausea, indigestion, morning sickness or stomach aches due to PMS.
Try Aromatherapy... Add essential oils to your life, it will make a world of difference- improve your Self Soul & Space!!
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