Aromatherapy is a technique that uses your body’s sense of smell to help boost your moods, relieve your stress and encourage better health. Various fragrant substances are used during aromatherapy sessions and each produces a different result. For example, peppermint and eucalyptus scents are often used to help stimulate your body. Lavender and chamomile can help you relax. Lemon and rosemary are effective at revitalizing your tired body.
A basic principle of Aromatherapy is to strengthen the self-healing processes by indirect stimulation of the immune system. The depth of use of essential oils is quite wide, ranging from deep and penetrating therapeutic uses to the extreme subtlety of a unique fragrance.
The sense of smell is powerful. In fact, your body can distinguish around 10,000 different scents! As scents are inhaled, the smell travels across your olfactory nerves located inside your nose and then up into the part of your brain that controls your moods, your memories and your ability to learn. This area is called the Limbic System and when stimulated it releases endorphins, neurotransmitters and other ‘feel-good’ chemicals. Aromatherapy also works by absorbing the essential oils that have been extracted from plants, fruits, herbs and flowers into your blood stream.
Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils, oils that have been extracted from naturally-occurring materials. They’re natural and unlike synthetic fragrances and perfumes that can cause allergies and irritation, they’re safe to use. The practice of applying essential oils has a long history, and evidence of its use has been found as far back as Ancient Egyptian civilizations.
Aromatherapy is a wonderful, natural alternative to other treatment options such as prescription medications and caffeine. When used properly, there are few side effects.
While aromatherapy does not cure major illnesses, it is effective at:
- Alleviating minor aches and pains in joints
- Improving the functionality of the immune system
- Relieving the symptoms of menstrual cramps
- Improving skin tone, relaxing muscles
- Lowering blood pressure
- Clearing congestion
- Improving circulation to the scalp that helps reduce dandruff and helps promote healthy hair growth
- Relieving tension that causes headaches
- Improving sleep
- Enhancing your mood
- Promoting a sense of relaxation
In a study that included more than 8,000 pregnant women in labor, essential oils (particularly rose, lavender, and frankincense) administered by qualified midwives, lessened feelings of anxiety and fear, promoted a sense of well-being, and reduced the need for pain medications during the delivery. Many women also report that peppermint oil relieves nausea and vomiting during labor.
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