Aromatherapy is a therapeutic treatment focused on the use of natural or essential oils that are extracted from plants, flowers, herbs or trees. It aims to improve our health and general well-being. It is very effective in relieving some physical ailments or diseases and in turn to lift the mood and balance our emotions. We shall be highlighting the main benefits of aromatherapy.
Characteristics of Aromatherapy
This alternative therapy uses different aromas and oils, which are inhaled, ingested or added to the bath water to promote physical and psychological well-being. Aromatherapy can be used along with other techniques for a more holistic approach to any treatment or to “help” modern medicine.
While aromatherapy has “become fashionable” in the West for some time, the truth is that it is not a new practice in the East. It is used in 4500BC in China and the ancient Egyptians used essential oils for embalming and for therapeutic purposes. In Greece, doctors like Galen or Hippocrates took advantage of aromatic herbs to treat their patients.
In the middle Ages in Europe, they were used to fight diseases and during the Renaissance it is known that Queen Elizabeth I (of England) supported their use.
The “medical” aromatherapy, studied from the point of view of the chemistry or pharmacology of essential oils is quite recent but with many followers around the world. And even in the United Kingdom or France it has been incorporated into the “official” medicine book.
The oil can be applied in different ways:
By inhalation: It is the basic method in aromatherapy, it can be direct or not (mixing with water for example). Diffusers or steam can also be used. This alternative is for problems in the respiratory system or for some conditions on the skin.
By massage: They are diluted in some lotion or water and the massage is performed energetically or softly, depending on the ailment. This is Ideal for contractures.
As aromatic baths: The tub of hot water is filled and some drops of oils are added. Then it alternates with warm water. It is used for circulation and relaxation.
As poultices (hot or cold): Used for skin conditions or muscle problems.
Internal use: only indicated in some cases and with certain oils. It should not be consumed without a professional’s endorsement.
Essential Oils Used in Aromatherapy
The following list offers you the healing properties of the main oils that are used in aromatherapy techniques.
Bergamot: It is stimulating, revitalizing, energetic and refreshing. It is used to relieve stress, depression and anxiety and restore appetite.
Cypress: This is sedative, invigorating and purifying. It calms the nervous system, reduces the symptoms of menopause, stress and allergies.
Geranium: For balancing and stimulating. It is known to relieve the symptoms of menstruation, depression and anguish. It raises the spirit and calms the nervous system.
Ginger: This promotes relaxation and circulation. In addition to treating flu and colds, it also helps to prevent dizziness and nausea on a trip, relieves digestive problems and stimulates the immune system.
Grapefruit: Responsible for emotional balance and purification. Grape fruit fights against cold, relieves stress and negative emotions.
Lavender: This is known to have a harmonizing, purifying, balancing, sedative and relaxing ability. Lavender relieves headaches caused by stress or tension, regulates high blood pressure and acts as a sedative for women in labor.
Lemon: Has a stimulating, refreshing and purifying ability. Also, it relieves stress, reduces mental fatigue and improves blood circulation.
Mint: It is effective in treating flu, relaxing the muscles of the stomach and reduces nervous disorders. It is an antiseptic, and decongestant.
Sandalwood: It is a decongestant, aphrodisiac, balancing, relaxing and purifying product. Sandalwood relieves emotional problems, calms the nervous system, balances the mind and prepares the spirit and body for meditation.
Romero: It is stimulating, relieves rheumatic and muscular pain and helps those suffering from low blood pressure. It also increases the circulation of blood to the brain.
Ylang Ylang: This is used for aphrodisiac, invigorating, purifying, balancing, euphoric and soothing. It is effective for problems of the reproductive system (especially male), calms anxiety, regulates the pulse, relieves depression and prevents panic attacks.
Before attending a session of this technique you should know that it is not a “simple massage”. During the whole process you only have to concentrate on your feelings at that moment, on the sensations that the oils and aromas produce, on the massages, on the heat of the room, on the soft music, etc. Reserve a time for yourself and once it’s over; do not run out to the office as this could ruin the good results.
How would you know if you need an aromatherapy? A specialist is responsible for making an analysis on the health status of each patient. He asks about physical problems, diseases or illnesses and based on that, he directs the session using the specific oil.