Aromatherapy uses herbal oils to treat the mental, emotional and physical properties of an illness through the sense of smell. Herbs are fragrant and give off particular scents that each have properties thought to help heal certain illnesses. Aromatherapy is thought to be especially helpful to calm nerves and soothe anxiety.
Aromatherapy was used in prehistoric times, and has been used throughout history ever since. Incense is a form of aromatherapy that has been popular for centuries in many cultures. Today, the use of aromatherapy is popular to help promote health and well being and to reduce the effects of stress.
Aromatherapy works by releasing herb infused oils or liquids into the air. Essential oils may be placed onto a small cloth and then placed where the aroma can disperse throughout the area. Aromatherapy has become a popular and accepted method in the last several decades, and products are now widely available at local stores and supermarkets. Aromatherapy is used in many bath products and lotions. Examples of aromatherapy products include air fresheners or diffusers, as well as electric and battery powered products that spread the scent through the use of small fans.
Aromatherapy is a holistic approach to healing, taking into consideration the needs of the whole person. This takes into consideration your physical, mental and emotional states to help determine which essential oils are best suited for your particular situation. Aromatherapists mix essential oils together to create blends that are specific to your needs.
Your sense of smell is the only sense that actually has nerve receptors exposed outside the body. When a scent is detected special messages are transported to the limbic system inside the brain to be processed. The scent is identified there. This part of the brain also stores memories, which is why certain smells are often strongly associated with certain
memories in your life. Blending essential oils together can form scents that are pleasant and relaxing, thus helping to reduce and eliminate stress and tension.
Essential oils are usually dissolved in either a water or oil base to blend together. The amounts used are small and do not cause any potential danger in these extremely low doses. These blends are often available as pre-made mixtures and are also able to be custom blended by an aromatherapist or by you at home.
Massage therapy uses aromatherapy to help in relaxation. Essential oils are used to massage the body. Besides the scent of the massage oil, small amounts of essential oils can also enter the body through the skin into the bloodstream. Again, these small doses are not considered harmful.
Although aromatherapy does not claim to cure any diseases, it is, nonetheless, responsible for helping soothe the body and mind in many ways. It can help improve your mood and general feelings of well-being. Specific combinations of essential oils can help create euphoric sensations in the brain. Aromatherapy can improve blood circulation and also improve lymphatic function when combined with massage therapy. Some soothing herbs are now used in common baby products to calm and help lessen the effects of colic and to help promote better sleep.
Many herbs are used, and here are some of the most common herbs that are used in essential oils for aromatherapy.
Lavender - Lavender helps relieve tired muscles and can actually reduce muscle spasms. It is a very safe herb and is often used in many items, especially in baby products because of its gentle nature. There are relatively no side effects from using lavender. It is often used to calm anxiety and helps in eliminating insomnia. A diluted version is often used in a spray that can be used on beds and pillows to promote sleep. It is often used in small pillows that can be heated in the microwave and then applied onto the neck and back muscles to help relax them. Lavender blends well with most other herbs, making it a perfect choice for many herbal mixtures.
Bergamot - Bergamot is very uplifting. It is often used to help depression or mood swings. It is also helpful in eliminating insomnia and is said to help stop nightmares from occurring. It is a mild herb and is unlikely to cause any ill effects. It mixes well with most other herbs, including lavender, cedarwood, rosemary, geranium and lemongrass.
Tea Tree - Tea tree oil is an herb that is often used in topical mixtures to help fight bacterial infections. Used in aromatherapy, tea tree is said to help promote energy and helps relieve anxiety. It is also used to help aid in poor concentration. Another mild herb, tea tree is not associated with any known side effects and is safe to use. It mixes well with eucalyptus, bergamot, lavender and peppermint.
These can found in our book of remedies.
Herbs can be used in aromatherapy treatments in several ways. Essential oils are the easiest to use. These are made by distilling the plant material and mixing with a small amount of liquid or oil. Essential oils are concentrated and need to be diluted when used, and a few drops are all that is necessary when mixing with other oils. Essential oils can be used in baths, in lotions and perfumes and as inhalations. They are readily available at most health food or natural stores, as well as online. Do not put essential oils directly on the skin without first diluting them. These concentrations are strong and even safe herbs can cause irritations if not diluted. Be sure to dilute even more when using with young children.
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