What is aromatherapy?
It is a form of alternative medicine involving the use of certain aromatic substances distilled from plants called “Essential Oils”. Different essential oils and mixtures of these oils are used to treat different symptoms. You have probably used this therapy without even realizing that you did. Remember the strong smelling salve that your mother rubbed on your chest when you had a cold? The aroma tended to help open your sinuses and allowed you to breathe better. It likely contained eucalyptus or another aromatic essential oil. Over-the-counter commercial products for treating cold and flu symptoms using aroma can even be found at your local pharmacy. Air fresheners with essential oils are being marketed based on the moods they induce. While this approach to wellness is just beginning to go mainstream, it’s not something that is just practiced by the societal fringe that couldn’t escape the sixties.
What does Lavender have to do with aromatherapy?
Lavender Oil is the most common essential oil used for this purpose. This is primarily because lavender is effective in treating a wide variety of ailments. It also has a smell that is pleasing to most people. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Lavender Oil is one of the less expensive essential oils. Check out our specific web page on aromatherapy and aromatherapy and lavender for more information.
Does aromatherapy work?
While nobody is yet claiming that it will cure cancer or any other serious diseases (although research is underway), there are multiple scientific studies that show that it is effective in relieving symptoms of many common discomforts. These include relief from pain, stress, nausea, cough, insomnia, and many others. Some essential oils have been shown to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral abilities.
This field of treatment has not been researched as extensively as traditional medical treatments. One reason for this is that much of the research in the medical field is funded by pharmaceutical companies who lack the incentive to research anything that won’t give them exclusive profits. However, interest in this area is growing and some studies are currently in progress.
How do you practice aromatherapy?
One application of this therapy is simply through inhaling the vapors or aroma of the essential oil. There is a wide variety of methods to release the molecules of the essential oils into the air. One simple approach is to absorb a dilute solution of the essential oilwith a cotton ball or tissue and allow it to evaporate on a warm surface. A few drops of essential oil such as lavender can be added to a hot bath to effectively release the aroma. Using hot water on a stove or adding the oil to the water in a humidifier will work well too. There are other methods that include candles,diffusers, nebulizers, lamps, and burners.
Topical application through massage is another way to experience the benefits. While most essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil for use, lavender oil can be used full strength to treat pain and wounds. The combination of the aroma and its impact on your brain, the massage and its impact on your nervous system, and the oils and their special properties is a powerful therapy for the human body!
Is aromatherapy for you?
To get the most benefit, it’s recommended that you consult a reputable aromatherapist. However, there’s no reason why you can’t practice some simple applications on your own by trying some easy recipes like adding some lavender oil to your bath for a relaxing soak or go for some major stress relief by getting a massage with lavender massage oil. There are several good books on the subject that will help you learn about the many applications. You are sure to enjoy the experience as one of the finer, yet simpler things in life.