Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy that utilizes essential oils found in plants to promote physical, mental and spiritual wellness. Essential oils are produced by steam distillation. Through the process of distillation the oily component of the plant is separated from the water. The ending process is an oily volatile component which is the basis of plant scent. It dates back to ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Romans and Chinese cultures that used to burn scented flowers and herbs to enjoy aromatic baths and massage. It is also used in skin care solutions for curative and cosmetic purposes.
Scientific research has proven that Aromatherapy may produce both psychological and physiological effects. Aromatherapy benefits include stress and headache relief, sleep improvement, mood boosting, hormone regulation, muscle relaxation, immune system stimulation, blood circulation, dry skin relief and more.
In a study carried out at the Hospital Las Higueras de Talcahuano en Chile, it was found that anxiety and stress were reduced in a group of hospitalized patients in an Internal Medicine Ward. These two conditions are difficult to treat with traditional medicine. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of aromatherapy administered by simple atmospheric diffusion of an essence with anxiolytic properties in both patients and staff. The chemical analysis of the essence evidenced compounds such as Linalool and Linalyl Acetate, which are thought to be responsible for the anxiolytic effect. It was found that 80% of hospitalized patients and staff in the Internal Medicine ward perceived the smell of the ward as "pleasant", 71% of patients and 40% of the staff perceived some degree of relaxation and, 53% respectively perceived an improvement in their mood, 57% of the patients reported pain relief. Regarding adverse affects, 84% reported no adverse effects and the remaining 16% (7 patients) reported headaches and irritation of the eyes, and mucous. Reference: http://redalyc.uaemex.mx/pdf/856/85650406.pdf
Essential oils can be blended together to create appealing aromas. They can also be blended for a specific therapeutic application. Properties from the oils cover a wide range of natural healing, relaxing and uplifting attributes. Essential oils that are carefully blended with a specific therapeutic purpose in mind are referred to as essential oil synergies. A synergistic essential oil blend is of critical importance. It is clear that two oils of differing chemical compositions will have markedly different pharmacological and healing effects.
Essential oilsthat are inhaled offer both psychological and physical benefits. Not only does the aroma of the natural essential oil stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction, but when inhaled into the lungs, the natural constituents (naturally occurring chemicals) can supply therapeutic benefit. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil to help ease congestion is a prominate example. Aromatherapy activates the olfactory process and lets us rediscover the nearly forgotten aromas of plants. Perhaps aroma-therapy is the greatest asset to finding the link between physical and emotional health.
Essential oils that are applied to the skin can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The constituents of essential oils can aid in health, beauty and hygiene conditions. Since essential oils are so powerful and concentrated, they should never be applied to the skin in their undiluted form. To apply essential oils to the skin, essential oils are typically diluted into a carrier such as a cold pressed vegetable oil, also known as a carrier oil. Common carrier oils include sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil and grapeseed oil.
* Aromatherapy did not become popular in the United States until the 1980s. Today, many lotions, candles, and beauty products are sold as "aromatherapy." However, many of these products contain synthetic fragrances that do not have the same properties as essential oils.
Warning: The United States does not regulate the use of the word aromatherapy on product packaging, labeling or in product advertising, so any product can be marketed as a product suitable for aromatherapy. There are quite a few products on the market that contain unnatural ingredients including fragrance oils and claim to be aromatherapeutic. It's important to look at the ingredient label when seeking true aromatherapy products.
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