Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing form of treatment in the world. Aromatherapy treatment is the use of volatile oils derived from plants to affect the mood or health. However, manufacturers now also used the term to also describe the herbal oils and scents used in soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners. People tend to perceive that the higher prices on these items are justified because of the “aromatherapeutic” value in them.
While aromatherapy treatment is regarded as a complementary medical tool in the United States, the role of essential oils and aromatherapy are taken more seriously in Europe. In France, for instance, many essential oils are available only by prescription and aromatherapy is a part of conventional medicine.
While most people believe that aromatherapy is all about what your nose senses, there is far more to it than just scent. Essential oils are extracts from plants, many of which do have pharmacologic effects on the body and mind. For instance, lavender oil has a specific chemical makeup that is thought to act on chemical receptors in the brain.
Aromatherapy treatment is used in the relief of pain and nausea, often post-operative or in conjunction with chemotherapy. The therapeutic effects include:
• Antiseptic effects, for example, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial
• Anesthetic effects, for example, some essential oils like menthol or camphor temporarily dampen pain receptors. Oil of camphor, for instance, is widely used to relieve the pain of toothaches.
Effects on the central nervous system that may induce relaxation or other psychological effects. Thus, if you are feeling stressed or anxious, aromatherapy treatment can help calm you down and put you in a relaxed state of mind. Examples here include basil, bergamot, Bomeo camphor, cinnamon, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, garlic, geranium, ginger, hyssop, lavender, lemon, marjoram, meroli, nutmeg, onion, peppermint, pine, rose, rosemary, thyme.
The different ways whereby you can obtain the benefits of aromatherapy include:
• inhalation, the most common method of delivering essential oils, is either by diffusing the oil in the air, or by direct inhalation through inhalers.
• Absorption through the skin in baths, massages and compresses
• Absorption through the mucus membranes
• Ingestion – rarely used, and only with medical supervison.
There exist very few controlled studies to prove the effectiveness or safety of aromatherapy, but some uses of aromatherapy treatment have long been accepted. These include the use of eucalyptus and menthol for treating congestion and upper respiratory infections, and the use of lavender for pain relief and relaxation. These are just one of the many ideas that you can use for your health and wellness plan. The side effects of aromatherapy are little and it can most certainly add a touch of freshness to your home and working environment.