What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a treatment method that uses oils and plant materials to create aromas that are believed to be beneficial for one’s health. Although it has been around since ancient days, it was first formalized as a theory in the early 1900’s. Although effectiveness has not been proven, there are several studies that show that it is probable that some oils have therapeutic potential, including a recent study from Japan that shows that various oils reduced stress in mice.
There are three widely practiced methods of aromatherapy. The first, which is the most common, is known as aerial diffusion. This involves the burning or spreading of an oil to distribute it equally throughout the air of a room. This is usually used for improving fragrance or for disinfecting the air. The second main method is direct inhalation, which is mainly used for treatment of various respiratory problems. The third method is topical application, where various aromatic oils are used in massage, baths, and heated compresses.
The theory behind the effectiveness of aromatherapy is that the oil, in aerial form, has direct pharmacological effects on the cells of the body, and can work by fighting infection or releasing tension. It is also believed that aroma has a direct effect on the brain and can help increase focus, improve mood, and improve one’s overall health condition.
Although lighting a candle or spreading particularly good-smelling oil throughout a room can be done simply for decorative purposes, it is quite possible that there is much potential for health benefits for you and your family. Aromatherapy is a simple, low cost method of alternative medicine that can be done in your home, and can have immediate effects on your mood and physical health, allowing you to feel better just by breathing in the air around you.
The Benefits Of Aromatherapy
Although some people just use aromatherapy because it smells good and it promotes a positive atmosphere, there are many other benefits to this alternative medicine. Aromatherapy benefits include healing in various areas such as mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it is not a cure in itself, it is very powerful to use aromatherapy in addition to other healing techniques, whether traditional or non-traditional.
First, it is important to point out that the benefits of aromatherapy will differ depending on which essential oil is being used. There are dozens of essential oils, including cardamom, chamomile, cinnamon, lavender, ginger, pine, and many more. Each type of oil has its own specific uses, with different mental and medical attributes for each of the oils.
One of the many aromatherapy benefits is improved sleep quality. Because aromatherapy can help relax the body and reduce stress, this can also help people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and enjoy more restful sleep overall. This can also be used to promote positive dreams while sleeping. Afterwards, users will wake up more refreshed and ready to take on the next day than they would have otherwise.
It is also possible to get rid of headaches using aromatherapy. There are many herbs and essential oils that are known to reduce mental stress, which can help your mind relax and get rid of tension. This, in combination with your muscles relaxing, can help ease tension and clear up a headache, getting you back to a good frame of mind where you can have clear focus and a positive outlook.
Aromatherapy benefits also are found in the stomach. Certain oils are believed to help aid digestion, and can also help relieve gas or pressure, as well as nausea. If you have sinus and nausea at the same time, that can be a bad combination, but there are many oils that target both of these symptoms at the same time, which can help you feel a lot better very quickly.
Since you breathe in the oils with aromatherapy, it would make sense if many of the benefits had to do with the respiratory system, which is definitely the case. Benefits include reduced inflammation, reduction of sinus and lung congestion, and suppression of dry coughs. This is great for people who have asthma or who are dealing with a cold or bronchitis.
There are some aromatherapy benefits that are purely preventative as well. It is believed that this alternative medicine can even help boost your immune system, therefore helping you to fight off possible infections. It can help regulate your hormones, which helps keep your body in balance and operating correctly; even just having a few hormones out of balance can cause your health to go downhill. Also, having your muscles relaxed can help prevent cramps and strains later in the day.
There are many different aromatherapy benefits, and as aforementioned they will vary from oil to oil. They will also vary from person to person, so the best thing that you can do is try it out for yourself and see which oils work for you – once you do, you’ll have a valuable health resource to use time and time again!
Aromatherapy is a wonderful tool to help your overall health. Whether it is getting rid of a cold or improving your mental focus, there is an aromatherapy essential oil for nearly any purpose. Common oils include basil, frankincense, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, and cinnamon. Each of these oils serves a different purpose.
Basil, for example, is known to help fight colds and bronchitis. It is also used to treat stress, giving users more focus – this oil is a great one to use if you are feeling burnt out about a work project or other aspect of your life, and can help get you back on focus. In traditional medicine, basil has also been used to treat impurities of the skin, and there is the possibility that the oil form in aromatherapy can help treat impurities as well.
Frankincense is a resin obtained from Boswellia trees. In addition to its attractive smell, in oil form, frankincense has many healing effects; it has been used in healing rites for thousands of years, and today is common in aromatherapy. It too is used to reduce tension and stress, and can also be used to help recover from mental exhaustion. Some believe that it can help spark creative thinking, which makes it popular with writers, musicians, and artists. It is also known to help relieve coughs associated with asthma.
If you are feeling panicked about something but you still need to have a stern concentration and focus, lemongrass might be one of the best aromatherapy oils for you to use. This grass, native to India, also has medical properties as well. Recent studies show that lemongrass can be used as an anti-fungal herb, which is helpful for certain types of infections.
Peppermint is generally thought of as something to eat, but it is also one of the many aromatherapy oils. As an essential oil, it can help people overcome mental fatigue and apathy. It can also help treat headaches and restore focus. The minty smell also improves the overall mood of most people exposed to it. Other recent studies show that peppermint is helpful in digestion and can help relieve gas.
Rosemary is an essential oil that is known to help restore both short and long term memory and is used to help get rid of headaches and boost the immune system. Recent studies show that use of rosemary can help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Cinnamon, which is known for its attractive smell, also helps foster positive emotions and helps relieve stress and fatigue. The herb is also believed to help relieve stress-induced diseases. Other common treatments that cinnamon is used for include the common cold and upset stomach, in which cases cinnamon often proves helpful.
These are just a few of the common aromatherapy oils that there are. There are many other oils which are less widely known, but are just as effective, and can be used to treat different symptoms. By using a wide variety of aromatherapy oils, one can ensure that they are benefiting every area of their health that they can.
Types of Aromatherapy You Should Know About
Did you believe aromatherapy was only one thing? The are a minimum of five different kinds of aromatherapy, using the essential oils in differing ways to improve your life.
The two most common uses of aromatherapy are Olfactory and Massage. Olfactory is the smelling of the essential oils either directly, in a steam, or from a misting bottle. The scents of the oils are used to relax your nerves, calm the senses, and give you a new area of focus. It can be a very relaxing way of using aromatherapy.
Massage therapy using the essential oils is very common, also. Mixing the essential oils with other carrier oils allows for a relaxing, soothing, massage which penetrates the skin, and stimulates the sense of smell at the same time. Using the aromatic oils for massage can give be very relaxing, stress relieving, and increases circulation. It is a great way to ease the pain of sore muscles, and to help balance your body energy.
Cosmetic aromatherapy takes the essential oils and uses them in cosmetics, baths, cleansing agents, and in other ways of beautifying and maintaining our bodies. Adding a little essential oil to the bath water, or buying lotions, creams, and makeup which include aromatherapy oils can all help in creating a more relaxing and pleasing way of living. If you prefer, you can use your normal lotions or creams and mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oils to give it a little added bonus. Using the essential oils in a hot steamy bath can help open your skin pores, give your nose a delicious treat, and soothe your senses.
Medical aromatherapy is not highly practiced, but you will find some Doctors who use forms of alternative medicine recommending the use of essential oils. There are some instances the essential oils are ingested, but never do this without instructions from your Doctor. Even in the cases where it is recommended the oils are highly diluted in purified water first. This is one area in the types of aromatherapy you should never venture into on your own.
Our final stop in types of aromatherapy are Psychoaromatherapy. Some therapists and psychologists have discovered using the essential oils for stimulating the senses can be beneficial in increasing the effectiveness of the psychological therapy. The scents may help to bring back memories, stimulate conversation, or give an added area of mental focus. By using a variety of scents the therapist can explore their patients reactions, and discuss their feelings, deepening communication, and enhancing treatment. Therapists are always seeking new ways to open doors to give them greater insights and provide more help to their clients. Aromatherapy can be an aid to these therapists.
As you explore aromatherapy further you may run across even more types of aromatherapy. Many times these other alternatives fall under one of these classifications, but do not be shocked if you find other new ways to gain benefits from aromatherapy. The power of essential oils and the scents of the plants around us are a powerful stimulant to improving human life.
Risks of Aromatherapy – Is Aromatherapy Safe For You To Use?
Aromatherapy is filled with unique scents used to soothe the senses and improve your mental state. The scents come from the essential oils of flowers and other aromatic plants. Are there any risks of aromatherapy usage?
In most cases aromatherapy is extremely safe. The oils are extracted from the plant material and most times are filtered removing pollens which cause allergic reactions. For people who are very sensitive to plant allergies caution should still be used. It is not common for people to have allergic reactions, but you do not want to ignore the possibility.
The other health area which can raise a few concerns is asthma. Asthma attacks can be triggered by many different sources, and introducing new scents always carries a minor risk. Make sure you keep in mind the risk and keep your asthma medicine handy when you try new essential oils. If you discover a particular scent or oil which triggers either an asthma or allergy attack, dispose of this oil, and do not purchase it again.
Perhaps the biggest risks of aromatherapy comes when you create overblown expectations of what it can do for you. If you buy into some of the wild claims of healing, correcting major physical or mental distresses, or other extreme claims, you will put yourself at risk. In this case it is not the aromatherapy causing the risk, but your ideas of the capabilities of the treatment. Consider aromatherapy as an aid to soothing your mind and spirit. It works wonderfully at helping to deepen focus, meditation, and to bring your mind away from thoughts and conditions which may be causing you unnecessary stress.
The only other risks you might run into are with your methods of using aromatherapy. When you use boiling water, steamers, and other heating elements to release the scents of the essential oils into the air there is a small risk of burning yourself. This is perhaps a bigger risk to our young children. Make sure any heating methods are kept well away from their exploring hands. As we all know, children are going to try to grab, pull, and explore any new and interesting things in our homes. Protect your children by keeping the heaters high and out of their reach.
To give you an indication of safety of aromatherapy, even the Nation Cancer Institute has published a report on their website discussing the safety of aromatherapy. In the same article they cover what we just discussed, do not expect miraculous cures from the use of aromatherapy, use it for the calming and mind changing influence it offers.
The risks of aromatherapy are very small, while the mind calming, and emotional benefits can be great. Using aromatherapy to enhance your other treatments, or your life in general, is both safe and rewarding. You can let go of your fears, and start enjoying the benefits of using the beautiful scents emanating from the essential oils. You will enjoy the new fragrances, and how they can help calm your spirit.
Aromatherapy for Depression – Can Aromatherapy Help Cure Depression?
Is aromatherapy for depression really a cure for depression? This is an area where you need to use great caution in aromatherapy. You may find a few very excited followers of aromatherapy who claim it can be used to treat depression and will point to stories of success as their evidence. You should consider a more balanced use of using aromatherapy as your treatment. Trust your Doctor or therapist, and then use aromatherapy to extend and improve your treatment.
How can aromatherapy help with depression? Depression is usually accompanied by massive amounts of stress, and a mind filled with self-doubt, confusion, and feeling lost in life. Aromatherapy can be used in several very effective ways to help you with your symptoms. The first method is using the scents themselves. You probably have scents which remind you of happy times, pleasant events, and successes in your life. You can use the essential oils of aromatherapy to add these scents to your home or to give you a little boost. Keep a variety of scents handy to keep your thoughts returning to more pleasant times. It may be the scent of roses which brings back memories of joy in the garden, or peppermint oil which brings up memories of candy treats. Whatever scents work to improve your feelings and thoughts should be used frequently.
A second effective way to utilize aromatherapy for depression is with massages. The healing touch and scents of an aromatherapy massage can help give you moments of feeling loved, cared for, and relaxed. The scents can stimulate pleasant thoughts which reinforce the other feelings. Massage helps to reduce stress, relax muscles, and give you a more calm feeling. It can be a very beneficial technique to help reduce your symptoms of depression.
The third method for using aromatherapy for depression may be used by your therapist or psychologist. Psychoaromatherapy uses the scents of the essential oils to help calm you, to stimulate memories, and to give your mind new focal points. While it is not highly used among therapists, it can be an effective addition to your treatment. Aromatherapy is not their primary form of treatment, but is a tool they use to help guide their patients, and to enhance their methods of communication. If it can help open up new forms of discussion, self-discovery, and relaxation. It can be highly useful tool.
One of the biggest concerns when we discuss using aromatherapy for treating depression is when people set false expectations. The last thing you need is to have more disappointment from unfulfilled promises. Use aromatherapy as an addition to your existing treatment and therapy to give you further relaxation, calmness, and distraction from troubling thoughts. Using the scents and massages to give yourself relief is a great practice, and can give you added benefits. Before beginning using aromatherapy to aid in your treatment of depression discuss it with your therapist. They will most likely be supportive, and may give you added thoughts of extending the benefits, such as meditation, reading, or maybe just a hot soaking bath scented with the oils.
Aromatherapy For Beginners – Make Sure You Purchase The Right Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is a great way to enhance your life through the use of scents and soothing oils. Aromatherapy for beginners can be filled with a few pitfalls you need to watch out for. Not every seller of oils is trying to sell you what you want and need. Some sellers are offering oils which do not meet the standards and quality anyone wanting to enjoy their experience fully can find benefit from.
Have you been walking through a mall and stumbled across a beautifully packaged set of essential oils for aromatherapy? You see all the pretty clear crystal bottles decoratively packaged on display. Each bottle has a glass and rubber eye dropper. You read the information on the package, flip it over, and read a bit about the contents. You see talk about the kinds of oils used and discussion about their dilution. The story on the package talks about only containing the finest oils in high concentration. The instructions explain you should use the dropper and use a few drops for aroma, or to add to a steamer. How many problems are present in this package?
This pretty package in the mall has at least 3 warning signs screaming at anyone knowledgeable about aromatherapy. The first item, which will not be apparent to beginners to aromatherapy, is the clear bottles. Essential oils are very sensitive to decay from light and should be stored in dark bottles. The two most common colors for the bottles are a dark amber or cobalt blue. If the oils are stored in other colors, they are probably not of the highest quality.
The second warning sign is the discussion of dilution. While you may dilute your essential oils, even aromatherapy for beginners should be done using pure essential oils. You will pay more for the bottle of oils, but you are getting more actual product. Why pay for a bottle filled with water, which is going to reduce the types of usages, and the effectiveness of your aromatherapy experience?
The third thing which should tip you off to the low quality is the eyedropper. You will use drops of your essential oils, but the oils in full concentration are very harsh to rubber droppers or stoppers. They will turn the rubber components to mush, and soon you will have a leaking mess to clean up. Only highly diluted bottles of essential oils will be able to use rubber or plastic droppers.
If you want to get the highest quality essential oils it is best to shop in stores or online shops which specialize in aromatherapy. Even then it is wise to ask questions about the dilution, the freshness, and the source of the essential oils. Hopefully this short guide of how to protect your investment will help you buy higher quality oils and have a better first experience. Aromatherapy for beginners can be very enjoyable if you start with the right essential oils, and are not tricked into buying products of low quality.
Aromatherapy For Asthma – Will Aromatherapy Soothe Attacks Or Cause Them?
The wheezing, gasping, and struggling for breath is horrible. Asthma afflicts many people and is not only frustrating, but can risk your health and life. You are never quite sure what is going to bring on the next attack and the idea of using aromatherapy for asthma may terrify you. Let us look at some of the concerns, and benefits with using aromatherapy if you have asthma.
The first area of concern would be with the allergic reactions a very few people may experience using the essential oils extracted from plants and used in aromatherapy. The allergens could potentially trigger an asthma attack, but the incidence of this is very rare. If you know of particular kinds of plants you are allergic to, stay away from oils which include those plants. If you are buying from a store which specializes in aromatherapy, mention to them the types of items you are allergic to, and they should be able to help you make some great choices.
It is not only allergens which can cause the onset of an asthma attack, but anything your body perceives as a threat to your breathing. When you first start with aromatherapy keep the level of oils used very low until you discover how your body reacts. Make sure to have your inhaler or other medication handy in case an attack it triggered. As mentioned before, this is very rare.
How can aromatherapy for asthma help you? There are many of the different oils and scents which are soothing and relaxing to the lungs and bronchial system A few good examples would include frankincense, rose, ginger, lavender, and peppermint. When you are first starting out, make sure to use the oils when you are feeling great. Do not try to use them when in the middle of an attack. The worst thing you could do would be to choose an essential oil which irritates your condition and use it while you are already in the midst of an attack. It could worsen the effects, or make the attack last longer, which are both results you wish to avoid.
If you discover using one of the essential oils, like peppermint, helps to ease your breathing and make you feel better during normal times, then you may wish to try it during the onset of an asthma attack, Use it along with your normal medication. While you may find a few people who claim aromatherapy is the only treatment you need for your asthma, do not trust those statements. Asthma is a serious medical condition which should be treated by your Doctor, and then use aromatherapy as an addition to your treatment. You may wish to discuss the use of aromatherapy for asthma with your physician. Make sure they understand you intend to use it along with your normal treatment, not as a replacement.
Using aromatherapy for asthma helps many people experience faster recovery from their attacks, and aids in clearing their breathing during normal times. Trying aromatherapy along with your normal treatments is a great way to enhance your treatment, and help reduce the stress associated to battling your asthma. Choose your essential oils carefully, and you can enjoy using essential oils.
Aromatherapy During Labour – Can You Experience Less Birthing Trouble Using Aromatherapy?
The process of labour to deliver your baby is one of the most intense, painful, exciting, and distressing times in your life. Combined with all the excitement because your baby is finally quickly approaching, you are feeling pain and discomfort during every contraction. You want to guide your mind away from the pain and discomfort, but it can be difficult. Aromatherapy during labour can be an effective way to help.
Is aromatherapy going to make a dramatic change in the pain of your labour? As you are already probably thinking, it is not going to change the pain levels at all. It is not going to reduce the intensity of a contraction, nor shorten the length of contractions. In reality, you do not want the contractions to be shorter, or weaker. Their length and intensity is what is bringing your baby into the world, and into your arms.
What aromatherapy will do for you is give you a new area of focus. You have probably already been instructed about bringing along pictures, music, and other items to help distract your mind from the pain of labour. Aromatherapy is another piece of the puzzle. By engaging more senses, and having audible, visual, and aromatic sources of focus, you can reduce your attention on the pain of the contraction, lessening the effects and feeling.
How effective can aromatherapy during labour be? One study done in Oxford with 8000 women showed remarkable differences. There was a 30 percent drop in the usage of medical pain relievers. Imagine if your labour could feel 30 percent better? Would it be worth the small investment in some aromatherapy essential oils, and a few minutes of time to prepare?
While not every woman reports a significant difference in their labour experience by using aromatherapy, a high enough percentage do, which shows it can be successful for most women. Make sure you understand, successful means improving the experience, and aiding in the management of pain, not removing pain.
How can you use aromatherapy during labour? You can use it as a room scent, and have the room smelling of your favorite oil during the entire experience. You could choose to have it added to a cool compress, so you smell it during a contraction as your loved one wipes your face. You can add it to your favorite massage oil, and have the scent spreading about you as you receive a soothing massage. Using the massage technique could be one of your favorite, since it involves relief from touch and scent simultaneously. Since both massage and aroma have been shown to be effective in helping manage pain, combining the two can be very beneficial.
No matter how you choose to use aromatherapy during labour, you are going to enjoy it. Hiding the scents of the hospital, and giving yourself a pleasant scent to focus on will help improve your experience of labour and delivery. Everything you can do to increase the enjoyment of this great occasion is worth the tiny investment.