What is Aromatherapy and what are the benefits?

The art of aromatherapy involves healing the body and mind by using the sense of smell with pure essential oils. These oils are distilled from a variety of plants, shrubs, flowers and seeds cultivated worldwide. Some practitioners topically apply various essential oils during massage as an additional therapeutic technique.

History

Cleopatra knew the benefits of Aromatherapy!

The ancient Egyptians were well aware of the benefits of using essential oils for healing thousands of years ago. (Cleopatra's secret maybe ??)

In ancient Egypt , enjoyment and satisfaction was always portrayed with some reference to the “nose.” In hieroglyphics, a nose in every word written communicated pleasure. They actually adorned themselves with cone shaped objects that melted and released a variety of fragrances. Egyptians knew way back in the day the nose knows!

Other cultures followed in line and recognized the benefits of aromatherapy through history. The Greeks' Hippocrates holistically treated his patients with aromatherapy and massage. Dioscorides (Roman physician) documented his discoveries of healing benefits of plants in his “De Materia Medica” where he sketched hundred of plants with natural healing properties.

In the 17th century, the people who utilized essential oils through aromatherapy survived the Bubonic Plague more so than people with no contact at all.

This documented history stands as proof positive of the many benefits of aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy Today

Today's holistic community realizes the benefits of natural healing techniques. The return of alternative medicine offers a natural approach to healthcare. Physical and mental health practitioners recognize the emotional and physical benefits of practicing aromatherapy and considers this practice a useful healing tool.

Dr. Brent A Bauer, MD of the Mayo Clinic states, “Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system – the part of the brain that controls emotions.”

How Inhalation Aromatherapy Works

The practice of inhaling essential oils is the most direct and quickest method for getting results from aromatherapy.

Scented molecules travel through the nasal cavity via little nerves, to the brain's limbic system where hormones are secreted through the endocrine system. These hormones are secreted into the bloodstream and affect our mood and a variety of other functions of our bodies. This is where the magic begins!

The second part of our system affected by aromatherapy is the autonomous nervous system.This automatic nervous system joins the brain and spinal cord with electrical impulses to all the other areas that make up our bodies. Digestion, perspiration, heart rate, sexual response, respiratory rate, etc. are controlled by the autonomous nervous system's response.

How Topical Aromatherapy Works

Topical aromatherapy involves applying essential oils to the skin via bathing or by using the oils in combination with massage. Specific areas are also treated in some patients, ie: elbows, ankles, wrists, neck and shoulders, forehead, etc. The oils are absorbed into the skin and then enter the bloodstream where they disperse to various organs.

Benefits of Aromatherapy

Improves Digestion

Insomnia Decreases

Relieves Congestion / Asthma Symptoms

Decreases Stress / Increases Calmness

Relieves Depression

Increases Sexual Drive

Improves Mental Clarity

Energizes

Relieves / Alleviates Pain

Tips For Personal Use

Trouble Sleeping? A few drops of chamomile or vanilla on your Pillowcase / Bed linens

Stressed Out? Chamomile, Atlas Cedar, Cypress, Ginger

Nervousness? Bergamot, chamomile, ylang ylang

Aphrodisiac? Rosewood, Patchouli, Veviter, Ylang Ylang, Neroli, Mandarin Orange, Sandalwood, Jasmine

Feeling depressed? Anise, Chamomile, Cloves, Vanilla, Sweet Fennel, Jasmine, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Nutmeg, Rosewood, Tea Tree, Tangerine, Cinnamon

While the long term benefits of practicing is not scientifically proven yet, the physical and emotional well being in the short term can be obtained through practicing aromatherapy. If you're interested in positive results right now, you might want to give it a try.