Aromatherapy is a therapeutic practice that heals the body and uplifts the spirit. Individuals who engage in aromatherapy will explore the health benefits, as well as, the creative side of aromatherapy. Essential oils are more commonly used to experience the aromatic scents of various medicinal flowers and herbs. Aromatherapy works by stimulating the olfactory nerve receptors in our nostrils. The aroma stimulates the nerves and sends a message to the brain that affects emotion. The limbic system receives and processes the message. The brain, then, stores a memory related to the aroma. The limbic system may induce the body to release serotonin, endorphins or numerous other hormones that affect the way we feel and interact.
Origins of Essential Oils
Essential oils are extracted from a natural source such as a plant, flower, tree, bark or other sources. Each of the oils will have a unique healing property that is from the earth. Some of those properties include antibacterial, antifungal, antibiotics and antiseptics.
Benefits of Aromatherapy
Essential oils can allow the body to gain a pleasurable emotional balance. When serotonin is released, the individual may be relieved of anxiety. Endorphins will reduce pain and create feelings of exuberance. Some essential oils may also make a person feel more sexual or sensual. Essential oils may also relieve stress. Not only will the oils relieve stress, but they will also cleanse, tone, deodorize and balance.
Essential oils may be placed directly onto the skin; however, the oils may burn the skin in their purest form. Most individuals seek to dilute essential oils before application. The oils may travel into the hair follicles and enter the sebaceous glands.
Forms of Aromatherapy
Individuals may enjoy the benefits of essential oils in numerous forms. The most basic way to achieve direct benefits of essential oils is to dispense a few drops of chamomile onto a handkerchief and breathe deeply. The essential oils will diffuse into the air during the process. The oils may be combined with water and heated in a lamp-type ceramic vessel to diffuse the odor into the air. The heat may be generated by a candle or a light bulb and applied to the bottom of the vessel or basin.
Individuals may also experience the benefits of aromatherapy through candles infused with essential oils or soaps, sprays, lotions, massage oils and numerous other forms. Many essential oils are added to facial steams and foot baths.
The Effects of Particular Essential Oils
• Chamomile, rose or sandalwood may be effective in alleviating anxiety that a person may be experiencing.
• Peppermint, lemon or basil may energize the person and allow them to combat lethargy throughout the day.
• Lavender oil is used to calm a stressful day. It is also beneficial in cleansing, deodorizing, balancing and toning. Lavender oil is beneficial to both oily and dry skin types. Lavender may also alleviate symptoms associated with menstrual pain, headaches, analgesic, antiviral or anti-inflammatory effects.
• Grapefruit may be added to a warm bath to alleviate stresses in a person’s life.
• Frankincense oil may assist others in meditation and prayer.
• Sandalwood is useful for individuals with dry and sensitive skin. This oil has been known to help in the healing of infections and used as an antiseptic. It is also known for building confidence and building trust.
• Clary Sage is used to heal asthma, digestive problems, stress, tension and menstrual cramps. It is also effective as an anti-depressant and an anti-spasmodic. This essential oil, however, should not be used when pregnant.
Certified essential oils are not common. Certified oils have been proven by a reputable association to be beneficial for the ailments listed on the label of an essential oil. Some essential oils, such as Ylang-Ylang are considered certified oils. This particular plant originates in France from huge tropical plants with blooming yellow, pink or mauve flowers. The oil extracted is yellow or golden in color. Ylang-Ylang is known in the alternative medicine community for lowering blood pressure and alleviating hyperventilation. This oil relieves symptoms by promoting consistent heartbeats.