What is Aromatherapy?

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy consists of the inhalation and body application of essential oils that are extracted from aromatic plants. Aromatherapy is used for relaxation, balance, rejuvenation or to enhance or restore body mind and spirit. Essential oils that are pure are extracted from many parts of the plant such as the leaf, resin, flower, twig, seed, rot, rhizome, rind and berry.

Aromatherapy is used to strengthen the process of self healing by stimulating the immune system indirectly. Essential oils are used quite widely and their usage ranges from deep, penetrating therapeutic uses to the very subtle use of a perfume or fragrance.

Many people consider aromatherapy to be ancient, although timely. Many adopt a modern approach to it and consider it being in tune with nature. Aromatherapists blend different essential oils to produce new aromas once they have established their technical understanding of an oil’s constituents.

Aromatherapy provides very individual results for each person. Although there are many general agreements regarding the action that certain oils have, texts from Aromatherapists ’ descriptions can vary in an oils properties and characteristics. Similar to medicine, two individual recipients can be affected quite differently by the oil.

Aromatherapy and its uses have been around for centuries. Oils, resins and fragrant plants have been used in their combinations of some form such as ceremonial, pleasurable reasons and medicinal reasons in most civilisations.

Many early trade routes actually derived from perfumes and aromatic plants. Ancient Egypt documents some of the earliest uses of aromatherapy. Papyruses dated back 3000 years contain remedies for many illnesses and similar aromatherapy applications that are still used as remedies today. The Ancient Egyptians utilised aromatic plants and their oils to make medicines, massage oils, skin care products, embalming preparations, cosmetics and perfumes.

The Ancient Egyptians were not the only users of Aromatherapy. There have been other documents detailing the use of aromatic oils discovered belonging to Ancient Africa, Greece, Baylon, China and Mesopotamia. The oldest book in China, the Chinese Yellow Emperor Book of Internal Medicine which was written in 2697BC contains information on the properties of over 300 plants.

Aromatherapy’s modern term was coined by the French Chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in 1928. A nother French doctor, Jean Valnet published his own work in 1964 known as The Practice of Aromatherapy. Robert Tisserand then released a book called The Art of Aromatherapy in 1964 and managed to capture interest in the ancient healing art in America. The art of Aromatherapy and its healing science has become more widely known in the Western world.

The popularity of Aromatherapy in the West is rapidly being accepted as an alternative or complimentary therapy. It is now a billion dollar business. It is common to find many mainstream doctors in Europe practicing Aromatherapy and health insurance companies are even paying out for aromatherapy treatment.

Aromatherapy Definition

Aromatherapy is a type of alternative therapy which uses essential oils or aromatic liquids of plants, barks and flowers which are rubbed into the skin, inhaled, ingested (in some specific cases) or added to the bath water in order to promote both physical and psychological well-being.

Surely you’ve heard of aromatherapy at some point, but do not really know what it means. Throughout this post we will explain how aromatherapy works, what are the most common essential oils, and all the aromatherapy basics you need to know to get started.

The word aromatherapy was first used by René Maurice Gattefosé (French chemist) in 1935. It is an alternative medicine therapy and it is not part of conventional medicine.

The essential oils of various plants have been used for therapeutic purposes for hundreds of years. Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used essential oils in cosmetics, perfumes and medicines. Aromatherapy has its strength in helping to promote relaxation and also producing feelings of joy and tranquility. Its effects are quick and durable because they reach the deepest emotions of the patient.

A scent can bring back almost forgotten memories – the part of the brain associated with smell is the same as that of memory. Some of the alleged psychological effects of essential oils are: relaxing, balancers, stimulants, antidepressants, aphrodisiacs, stimulating the mind.

Medical aromatherapy, considered the study of pharmacology and chemistry of essential oils, is recent, but, nevertheless, has many followers. Countries like France and the UK have incorporated it into their systems of official medicine.

A few examples of the most popular essential oils are basil, tea tree, jasmine, lavender, rose, sandalwood and rosemary.

What are the benefits of Aromatherapy?

Each essential oil used in aromatherapy process has the capacity of curing various health problems. The benefit of aromatherapy depends largely on the essential oil that is used. Except that, several other products that are used for several healing purposes in aromatherapy include soaps, diffusers, incense, bath salts, aroma candles and facial creams.

Everyone can benefit form aromatherapy, right from babies to grown ups. The essential oils are used for different purposes such as for reliving anxiety, reducing stress, sleeplessness, indigestion, relieving fatigue, muscular pain, elevating the mood, to fight depression, viral and fungal allergies, for curing inflammation and internal injuries and for enhancing blood circulation. 

Aromatherapy also cures body odour and it provides a sense of relief and a calming and relaxing effect for those troubled with insomnia.

How does Aromatherapy work?

Aromatherapy, as the name suggests, makes use of aroma to enhance the overall being of an individual. Our nostrils constitute several olfactory nerves which, after perceiving the odors of these aroma oils, transfer them to the nervous system, reducing headaches. These aromas get mixed in the bloodstream and, from there, spread into the tissue system of the body.

In this way, several body cells get nurtured and function properly. The fragrance of these aroma oils also helps people quit smoking. When these aromas are intercepted by the brain, they have a soothing effect on the nerve cells related to memory, emotions and pleasure. This helps in elevating your mood and overall wellbeing. These aromas help in enhancing the functioning of pituitary gland and hypothalamus too.

Aromatherapy is done by massages, vapor inhalation, atomization, scalp massage, bathing, burning of aromatic herbs and diffusion of aromatic scents in the air so that you can inhale the air and you cells perceive the aromas directly. Essential oils are used in body massages. Due to the massage, the body gets warmed up and the minute pores on the skin are opened up. 

The aromatic essential oils get into the bloodstream through these pores and then get transferred to different body tissues. Body tissues get detoxified with aromatherapy massage which gives a healthy sheen to the body externally and alsonourishes the cells internally. The best part of natural aromatherapy is that there are no side effects.

What are Aromatherapy Products?

There are several kinds of aromatherapy products that help in the treatment of an individual such as aromatic candles, essentials oils, massage oils, creams, and many others. These products are naturally extracted from plants. Using organic essential oils in their concentrated form may harm your skin, so it is better to dilute them with carrier oils. This also makes it easy for the body to absorb essential oils. These oils are non-greasy and made from natural ingredients such as lavender, lemon seeds, eucalyptus, chamomile, citrus, tree barks and many others. Aromatherapy effectively treats skin problems like acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.

What is Aromatherapy Massage?

Aromatherapy massage is done by placing weight on different parts of the body. There are two types of aromatherapy massage: full body massage and aromatherapy back massage. Essential oils and a variety of massage lotions are used in this process. 

These essential oils and lotions are made from various types of plant extracts and leave different effects on your body. These oils and lotions help to soften the skin and also provide lubrication that allows treatment of deep-lying tissues.

Aromatherapy massage not only rejuvenates and refreshes the body and mind, but also strengthens the body’s own healing process. It also stimulates the lymphatic system and strengthens the immunity system. This type of massage also provides relief from major body problems, ranging from mild to acute and chronic conditions such as digestive problems, headaches, sleeping disorders and stress related conditions.

If you need an aromatherapy massage, you can consult any aromatherapist in your area. Except that, various spas and salons also offer aromatherapy treatments in conjunction with massage for various problems. But while taking an aromatherapy massage, you must keep in mind that it must be done by qualified professionals; otherwise it may adversely affect your body and mind instead of giving complete relief from your problem.

What is an Aromatherapy Bath?

After a hard day’s work at office, one definitely feels like taking a refreshing bath to calm one’s mind and what better way to make your bath even more refreshing than to mix some bath salts that aromatherapy has to offer.

Aromatherapy bath salts add a soothing element to your bath and has a calming effect on the muscles of your body. As salt increases the specific gravity of water, it provides buoyancy by which the body seems to float on the water. By adding aromatic oils that have a particular odor, it will stir up your sense of smell and further rejuvenate your mind. 

Due to the presence of magnesium sulphate, bath salts create a low osmosis potential as they do not absorb the vital salts of the skin and thereby protect the skin from sagging. Another important benefit of aromatherapy bath salts is that it softens the skin. This is because of the presence of phosphates that do not harm the skin.

However, it should be kept in mind that people who are allergic to these salts should take precautions and should use these salts only after consulting their physician. To test whether you are allergic to the salts, you should first soak your hands or feet in the water and see what effect it has on your skin.

These salts can either be purchased from the pharmacy or one can make these at home by using Epson salt with aromatherapy oils. Moreover, one can actually give these homemade salts as gifts to friends. 

By mixing these salts in water, they create an environment much similar to that of hot springs where a high content of magnesium phosphate is also usually present. Aromatherapy bath salts have a positive effect on health and one should use them regularly so as to rejuvenate himself/herself.

What are the Aromatherapy Oils?

Aromatherapy has a range of uses ranging from reducing stress, ensuring tranquility of mind, to relieving pain. Whenever we think of aromatherapy, oils are the first aromatherapy products that first come to our mind. There are many ways in which aromatherapy oils are used. They can be evaporated and inhaled and can also be used in massages. Aromatherapy oils are divided into various categories depending on their aromas: floral oils, mint oils, woodsy oils, medicinal oils, earthy oils, spicy oils, herbaceous oils and oriental oils.

These aromatherapy oils are also categorized according to their features into carrier oils and undiluted essential oils. Undiluted essential oils are very strong and may harm the skin. This is why; carrier oils are added to these essential oils to dilute them. This dilution makes it easy for essential oils to be absorbed in the body. These are non-sticky and cold-pressed. Avocado refined oil, Coconut oil, Apricot kernel oil, Grape seed oil, Borage oil, Sweet almond oil, Peach kernel oil, Macadamia nut oil, Black seed oil and Sunflower oil are some of the carrier oils that are used in aromatherapy.

It is better to avoid mineral oils as they leave a greasy effect on the skin and do not absorb easily. These carrier oils have vegetable origin and have therapeutic properties. They are also called fixed oils and are derived from seeds and nuts by the method of cold pressing.

What is Aromatherapy Diffuser?

Essential oils are important to create the environment and mood by their aroma. However, to ensure that their fragrance is not concentrated at any particular corner of the room and that it spreads equally in the entire room, aromatherapy diffusers are used. These diffusers enable the scent to spread in the room faster and in a better way. They are available in different colors, styles and shapes. While some of them make use of electricity, others have an open flame.

Diffusers are important because an effective diffuser will enable you to inhale these fragrances into your lungs and benefit from their therapeutic properties. 

Aromatherapy oil burners are one of the most expensive and traditional ways of diffusing oils. Though, aromatherapists claim that a few natural benefits of the aroma products are destroyed by heat, most aromatherapy diffusers still make use of heat to spread the aroma. Some of them are electric essential oil diffusers, light bulb rings and many others.

When the aromatherapy oil is heated, its molecules become unstable and start to separate and float into the atmosphere around. Candles, tissue papers and steam are also methods of diffusion. Lamp rings and nebulizers are also used as diffusers. So, by inhaling these fragrances, an individual gains a tranquil and stress-free life. These fragrances also have healing effects that give you a healthy and balanced life.

What is Aromatherapy Soap?

Aromatherapy soaps have become more popular than bath oils; they come in pure essential oil base or mixed with other non aromatic but therapeutic herbs. Available in the form of bars, liquids, gels and cleansers, these soaps are the perfect answer for a truly relaxing and rejuvenating bath. Although they cost more than a simple herbal soap, aromatherapy soaps are worth buying. They can be used as daily cleansers or for spa purposes also. Granular aromatic soaps offer exfoliation of the skin.

The soaps are made from natural vegetable oils in which the required essential oil is added for the effect. The vegetable oil is rich in proteins, while the essential oils nurture the body. The essential oils are absorbed by the body through the skin which is more effective than simply inhaling the vapors. 

The best method that can ensure optimum use of the soaps is to use them under warm water and to let them stay on for atleast a few minutes.

Good aromatherapy soaps never have added colors in them and are made from pure essential oils. It is recommended that people should purchase aromatherapy soaps from reputed sellers to avoid inferior soaps that may harm the skin. Most popular of the aromatic soaps is the lavender soap which is known to lend a soothing and calming effect on the body and mind. Other popular varieties of aromatherapy soaps include Patchouli, Ylang Ylang and Chamomile. The soaps are also perfect for gifting purposes and are available in special gift packs too.

What is Aromatherapy Scent?

There are different scents that are used to cure different problems. These scents affect human beings in all three ways – mentally, physically and spiritually. When these scents are inhaled by an individual, several messages are sent to the limbic system in the brain through olfactory nerve endings. The limbic system, also known as the ‘old brain’, controls the instinctive responses such as aggressive, sexual and emotional behaviors.

For example, Ylang ylang, jasmine and vanilla are some of the scents that arouse sexual desire. Sandalwood and musk are known to entice women as the chemical make-up of these products greatly resembles male-hormones. Cinnamon is also known to ignite female passions.

What is an Aromatherapy Candle?

Another popular form of aromatherapy is the candles that come scented with an essence of aromatic oils. These are available in small elegant shapes, a variety of colors and also in a range of scents. Some of the aromatherapy candles can even float on water. 

The candles are not only useful for their soothing scents but they are also effective than other forms as they combine the light and fragrant effect. Also the longer a candle burns the more therapeutic effect it produces.

An aromatherapy candle is not only good for personal use, they are also excellent for to presenting others. Available easily, the candles are your best choice for mild and soothing option that delights your senses and even proves to be a great stress buster.

What is Aromatherapy Spa?

Around 15 to 25 drops of essential oil should be added in the bathing tub. These oils when added in the water will cause the color of water to change. It is always beneficial to mix oil with water to increase its effect. 

Also this oil should be stored in dark and shady place in a tight fitting jar. These oils penetrate and enter into the body pores. An ideal aromatherapy spa consists of one ounce sesame oil, three ounces almond oil, one and a half ounces olive oil half ounce wheat germ oil and one ounce canola oil.

Aromatherapy spa provides calming and relaxing effect to the mind. In addition, they evoke serenity around you and help in rejuvenation from within. They also reduce the physical tiredness and refresh you. However, expecting mothers should not go in for aromatherapy spas. Oil should be selected considering the skin type. Tea tree, marigold and lavender should be avoided in case of sensitive skin. In case of sensitive skin, floral waters can be used.

Going to an aromatherapy spa can cause a hole in your pocket. Thus, it becomes necessary and enjoyable to select oils on your own and create your own house spa. It helps you detoxify all negativity around you and even increase the blood circulation. Also, even reduces respiratory problems.

What is Aromatherapy Blend?

Apart from essential oils, the aromatherapy blend includes solvents and hydrosols, along with infusions and organic compounds that help in killing microbes.

However, getting the perfect aromatherapy blend is not an easy task as the blends that we make use of today have taken years of research and practice on the part for aromatherapy practitioners. Therefore, after years of proper research, a good blend in extracted that helps in providing cure and relief. 

For a blender, it is essential to know about the use of the oil and its profile. This will help the aromatherapist in creating the best blend that is full of healing properties. The more researched the blend is, the more effective will be its healing capacity. The best thing about aromatherapy the blends are natural and free from any harmful byproducts.

Thus, these are not artificial mediums that can cause adverse reaction with the skin. Aromatherapy blends are very effective for use in massage as they can help in reducing chronic headache and backache problems. Massaging essential oils helps in improving the blood circulation in the body and providing it inner strength. Thus, if a good aromatherapy blend is used, it will definitely provide relief from nagging problems in a natural way.

What are Aromatherapy Gifts?

Nowadays, gifting has become more elaborate. People indulge in some extra expenses for special gifts. For such people, aromatherapy gifts are a great option. Aromatherapy gifts come in decorative baskets containing an eclectic mix of aromatherapy products, such as bath oils, scented soaps, essential oils, a perfume, flavored aromatic teas and a set of therapeutic candles. The baskets are available under various kinds like relaxing assortments, spa treatment collection, anti stress and detoxifying.

The kind of aromatherapy gifts that one chooses also depends on the type of aromas. There are varieties of aromatic essences available – lavender for relaxation, rose and sandalwood for aphrodisiac purposes and other essences that either energize or provide a calming effect. However, aromatherapy products should be bought with care keeping in mind the purpose while gifting them. 

Aromatherapy gifts can also easily be ordered from the comfort of home through websites that offer detailed information about the various aromatherapy product combinations available. However, care should be taken that the products offered are not of inferior quality and contain genuine essential oils. Fake essential oils can never produce the same effect and may be harmful when used.

What is Aromatherapy Training and how can I start a career?

Training in aromatherapy can be gained at massage schools or as a vocational course that is offered at various colleges or institutes. Many institutes are making the profession of an aromatherapist accessible to students that aspire for a career in this field. Apart from institutional training, aromatherapy is also self-administrable.

A physiotherapist does utilize some of the massage techniques that an aromatherapist specializes in. A course in physiotherapy is just one way of gaining a positive transfer into aromatherapy since massage forms an important part of aromatherapy. However, since massage is an essential part, it is crucial to join certain courses that only provide training as a massager.

It is the very simplicity of aromatherapy that one can easily use aromatherapy products and techniques and put it to his/her own use. By reading books of famous writers or consulting the information and techniques given in websites, one can grasp the techniques of aromatherapy. With this essential training in aromatherapy, one can, then, easily reap the benefits in terms of helping peers with some common ailments. 

For example, if someone has flu or a cold, spraying eucalyptus oil around the room will help cure the ailment. One can enhance one’s mood easily by buying certain candles or incenses that would provide relief if one is in a bad mood.

If one is interested in making a career as an aromatherapist, it becomes imperative to get enrolled in a college or private institute that is adequately well known. After completion of the course, certification would be given which would legally enable one to approach a medical organization or a private clinic. As aromatherapy is still an evolving science, it offers avenues in research aromatherapists. 

Aromatherapy is an exciting field of alternative medicine with tremendous opportunities in the field of medical sciences. Those opting for this field can definitely look forward to a promising career.

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