Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. It works by stimulating the olfactory system, the part of the brain responsible for smell. The aromas from essential oils are thought to travel to the brain and affect the limbic system, which is associated with emotions, memory, and behavior.
Aromatherapy can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Sinus congestion
- Colds and flu
- Skin conditions
Aromatherapy can be used in a variety of ways, including:
- Inhalation: Essential oils can be inhaled directly from the bottle or added to a diffuser.
- Topical application: Essential oils can be diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the skin.
- Massage: Essential oils can be added to massage oil for a relaxing and therapeutic massage.
- Bathing: Essential oils can be added to bathwater for a relaxing and aromatherapy-rich bathing experience.
It is important to note that essential oils are very concentrated and irritate the skin and eyes. It is always best to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them to the skin. It is also important to avoid getting essential oils in the eyes.
Several studies show breathing in essential oils could benefit your health—but only if done right.
Essential oils have become a booming $1.5 billion industry. These oils are extracted from plants and are highly concentrated. Initially, they were used in beauty and cleaning products, but recent research has shown that inhaling them correctly can also provide health benefits. Brent Bauer, M.D., the Director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine program at the Mayo Clinic, confirms this.
Studies have found that essential oils can protect your long-term health and alleviate symptoms of common ailments. They can help decrease stress levels, ease pain, enhance mood, increase energy, decrease cravings, and help with nausea. Essential oils have also been shown to kill flu, E. coli, and cancer cells.
Essential oils and aromatherapy use come with a warning; however, "According to Bauer, anything that has the potential to produce a positive effect on the body is also capable of producing a negative one. Essential oils release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), similar to the off-gases of paints and pesticides. Some VOCs can be more dangerous than others, and "volatile" indicates that a substance can evaporate. While moderate exposure to essential oils can benefit the heart, prolonged exposure can lead to cardiac risks."
It is crucial to stay within a 15-60-minute time frame while using essential oils. Breathing in essential oils for more than an hour is not recommended. Always follow the instructions given on the bottle of essential oils. If you are taking any medication or have a chronic health condition, consult your doctor before using aromatherapy. Essential oils are similar to medicines and must be used correctly to gain maximum health benefits.
Before You Buy...
Follow these tips to make sure you purchase genuine products:
- Be cautious of the blanket aromatherapy label, often attached to diluted oils containing synthetic fragrances.
- When searching for oils, it is important to look for those that are 100% pure and organic, free from fillers, pesticides, and synthetic chemicals. Avoid any oils that contain these harmful substances.
- If a label says therapeutic grade or steam distilled, it's even better.
- Most essential oils have long shelf lives—more than a year if stored in a cool, dry place.
Using a diffuser is the most effective way to release essential oils into the air. However, if you don't have one, you can still enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy by adding one or two drops of oil to a bowl of steaming hot water. Take ten deep breaths, standing a few feet away, and breathe normally. You can safely practice aromatherapy daily by adhering to the recommended time limit and opening a window after use.
Although aromatherapy has many benefits, it may not suit everyone, especially pregnant women. Before starting, it's always best to consult your doctor to ensure it's safe for you.
What are essential oils, and what do they do?
Different oils have their uses and impacts.
Essential Oil: Lavender
Best for: Relaxation; Relieving PMS
The scent of the aroma can trigger the body's "rest and digest" response, promoting relaxation and easing premenstrual symptoms such as mental confusion and depression, according to a 2013 study.
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Essential Oil: Peppermint
Best for Stress Relief
Research has shown that inhaling peppermint essential oil can reduce cortisol levels, a stress-related hormone.
Bonus perks: Reduces both fatigue and (score!) chocolate cravings
Essential Oil: Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus essential oil may help ease the respiratory tract during an illness like a cold. It is often used in conjunction with peppermint. Unfortunately, many people are allergic to Eucalyptus, which must be taken care of.
Essential Oil: Sage
Best for: Blood-Pressure Reduction
In a study conducted in July 2013, women exposed to clary sage had reduced blood pressure and breathing rates and could relax during a stressful medical exam.
Bonus perks: Helps amp up memory and attention
Essential Oil: Orange
Best for: Decreasing Anxiety
A recent study found that sniffing a specific scent before a stressful test can help reduce anxiety and keep stress hormones at bay.
Bonus perk: Elevates mood
Essential Oil: Rosemary
Best for: Enhancing Brainpower
Breathing in its scent can enhance mental performance and leave individuals feeling refreshed, according to research conducted in 2012.
Bonus perks: Boosts energy; lowers fatigue
Essential Oil: Cinnamon
Best for: Improving Focus
Research indicates that the scent of cinnamon oil can stimulate the brain's alertness area, leading to better focus and reduced stress levels among drivers.
Bonus perks: Increases concentration; reduces frustration
What evidence shows that aromatherapy is effective?
Research has been conducted on the efficacy of specific essential oils, particularly the most well-known ones like tea tree, lavender, and peppermint. The antibacterial and, in some cases, antiviral qualities of these oils are widely recognized, and there is much research being carried out to confirm their healing abilities. However, each essential oil comes with its unique blueprint!
Can essential oils treat serious illnesses?
Aromatherapy isn't meant to be used in stressful or emergencies. Data suggests essential oils can aid in the emotional aspect of an illness of a severe nature, the most serious illness like cancer. Essential oils can help promote a higher living level when a severe illness is concerned. They can aid in healing wounds, treat skin conditions, and help the body's systems and mind achieve the right balance. Many essential oils are beneficial in treating common diseases and infections. Always seek advice from an expert before treating any severe conditions using essential oils or other alternative medication.
What's the potential of aroma using Essential Oils?
Certain scents stimulate our sense of smell. They affect our moods and emotions and can help us remember certain events and assist us in remembering locations, objects, and people. Rosemary is sometimes referred to for its "Rosememory" and is an excellent aid in learning and recalling information. Aromas can make the environment seem inviting, whether it be refreshing during a summer's hot day with a citrus aroma or cozy and warm with orange, cloves, and berries, all of which enhance the air quality in our indoor air. Certain essential oils can clean our air and even kill airborne bacteria. Our recommendation is not to use fragrant oils as they do not have any therapeutic value and are filled with synthetic, artificial, and sometimes harmful substances that could make you sick with headaches and nausea.
The essential oils have been used for over 6,000 years to improve people's health and mood.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) defines aromatherapy as the therapeutic use of essential oils for holistic healing.
The International Standards Organization (ISO) defined an essential oil in 1997 as a product that is extracted from vegetable raw materials through distillation using water or steam or extracted mechanically from the epicarp of citrus fruits or through dry distillation.
Essential oils have been discovered to have varying degrees of antimicrobial action and are believed to possess antiviral, nematicidal, and antifungal insecticidal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Aromatherapy treatments include massage, application to the skin as well as inhalation.
However, the user must be aware of the fact that "natural" products are also chemicals and could be dangerous if used in the wrong manner. Therefore, following a qualified expert's guidance when using essential oils is essential.
Aromatherapy is a form of complementary therapy. It is not a cure for rashes, illnesses, or diseases, but can help with traditional treatment for various ailments.
A eucalyptus-scented vapor bath can help with symptoms of an illness like a cold or flu.
It has been proven to decrease:
- Aches and pains in the body
- Anxiety, agitation, stress, and depression
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Muscular Aches
- Circulatory issues
- Menstrual disorders
- Menopausal problems
- Alopecia, or loss of hair
Certain types of psoriasis can get relief from aromatherapy, but a doctor should provide advice on the use and application.
Digestive disorders might benefit from peppermint oil; however, it shouldn't be taken in.
Some claim that a broad spectrum of other complaints can be treated with aromatherapy, but not all applications are supported by scientific evidence.
Aromatherapy can be used to treat ailments.
A variety of essential oils can boost your well-being and health.
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Inhalation: the oil evaporates into the air using an air diffuser spray, droplets of oil, or inhaled through, such as in the steam bath.
In addition to providing the aromatherapy scent of a pleasant one, these oils may also provide respiratory health, decongestant, and psychological advantages.
The inhalation of essential oils helps stimulate the olfactory organ, the brain part linked to smell, including the nose and the brain.
Molecules entering the mouth or nose pass into the lungs and onto other body organs.
When the molecules enter the brain, they impact this system. It is connected to emotional state, blood pressure, heart rate bre, breathing and memory, stress, and the balance of hormones. That is why essential oils may provide a subtle but overall effect on your body.
The skin absorbs massage oils for topical use and bath and skin care products. Applying massage to the area where the oil is applied will increase circulation and improve absorption. There is a belief that areas richer in hair follicles and sweat glands, like the head and the palms on your hands, can absorb oils more efficiently.
Essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin. Instead, they should always be diluted using an oil carrier. Generally, a few drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil would be the recommended concentration. The most commonly used carrier oils comprise sweet almond oil and olive oil.
To conduct An allergy test.
- Make sure to dilute the essential oil with an oil carrier at two times the concentration you want to use.
- Rub the mixture until it forms an area about the equivalent of half the forearm's inside.
It will be considered safe if there isn't an allergic reaction in the first 24 to 48 hours.
After repeated use of essential oils, individuals may develop an allergic reaction. If any new reaction occurs, discontinue product use and avoid the scent.
To get a 0.5 to 1 percent dilution, you must use up to 3-6 drops of essential oil for each 1 ounce of carrier. For a 5 percent concentration of essential oil, add 30 drops of essential oil to one 1 ounce of carrier.
A maximum of 5 percent is usually considered safe for adults.
Consuming or swallowing essential oils is not advised. When taken orally, the oils may harm the kidneys or liver.
They may also trigger interactions with other drugs and develop unexpected changes in the stomach.