Aromatherapy is a healing procedure that uses essential oils from plants. Regarding the application of the oils, it is usually through a massage process. The essential oils are massaged on the skin and sometimes taken orally. When essential oils stimulate the sense of smell, they activate the limbic system and emotional centers of the brain. When they are applied to the skin, they activate thermal receptors and demonstrate anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects; when they are applied internally, they may enhance the digestive system and the immune system. The inhaled aromas from these essential oils may help stimulate the part of the brain that is connected to your smell. It is recommended that you consult a qualified and trained aroma therapist before taking essential oils for healing purposes. Essential oils that are absorbed through the skin can travel through the bloodstream and promote the mind-body healing process. These essential oils are found to serve as an alternative treatment for stress, infections and other health issues. For example, tea tree oil has anti-microbial effects and has been used to treat skin infection such as yeast infections.
These essential oils have been used for therapeutic aims for about 6,000 years. The ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Indians and Chinese used such oils in the production of their drugs, cosmetics and perfumes. They are also commonly used in ritualistic, hygienic, therapeutic and spiritual purposes.
Aromatherapy involves a holistic therapy which treats the spirit, mind, and body of the individual. During the massage process, the applied essential oils enter the skin by passing through the hair follicles into the blood stream and circulate within the body.
Aromatherapy treatment uses fragrant oils that are extracted from fruits, herbs and flowers to enhance their natural healing power. Aromatherapy enhances our psychological and physical well-being. There are many health benefits of aromatherapy. Some are discussed below.
- Aromatherapy improves one’s digestion.
- It encourages restful sleep. The lavender scents help relaxation and improve the quality of sleep.
- It strengthens one’s immune system by the elimination of bacteria, fungal infections, and viruses.
- It maintains the balance of hormone production within the endocrine system and some essential oils can mimic the hormone estrogen.
- Aromatherapy helps reduce the stress and promotes calmness and relaxation.
- It was also found to improve the lymphatic and blood circulation by the application of essential oils through massage.
- Aromatherapy is believed to help improve mood and welling being. The vibrant aroma from citrus help reduce depression.
- Aromatherapy can help reduce pain. One of the great scents that are found to be helpful in reducing pain is Clary sage. It is popular for reducing the abdominal pain for women during menstrual cycles.
- It has been used to improve one’s blood pressure. Lavender, Ylang ylang and Sweet marjoram essential oils have been used for calming and reducing nervous tension that can lead to high blood pressure.
There is some linking between aromatherapy and herbal medicine; both of them are involved in the usage of different parts of plants, and they work hand-in-hand in alternative medicine. Researchers suggested that aromatherapy can enhance the healing effects of other therapies when added to other natural healing modalities such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Reflexology. They are truly aromatic miracles.
- Seo JY., 2009 Jun, The effects of aromatherapy on stress and stress responses in adolescents, J Korean Acad Nurs., 39(3):357-65.
- Peng SM, Koo M, Yu ZR., 2009 Jan, Effects of music and essential oil inhalation on cardiac autonomic balance in healthy individuals, J Altern Complement Med, 15(1):53-7.