What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile extracts from plants, commonly called essential oils, that could be inhaled by people with a wide variety of health conditions. These essential oils could also be massaged on various parts of the body.
It is often used as an adjunct therapy to enhance one’s cognitive state or bolster one’s mood.
Aromatherapy can be quite complex as it could also involve the blending of carrier oils, vaporizer oils, herbal distillates, phytoncides, and absolutes. Common oils used in aromatherapy includes; lavender oil, chamomile oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and oregano oil.
Aromatherapy has been around, in various forms, for hundreds of years. Countries in which aromatherapy is prevalent include; China, India, France, England, and South Korea.
Below are various health benefits of aromatherapy;
1. Promotes Relaxation
Essential oils promote relaxation in two ways; through massages and when inhaled. Diffusers can be used to make these oils airborne. Massages are relaxing, on their own. Essential oils can also be blended with carrier oils for better dispersion, further enhancing relaxation. Professional aromatherapists use olive oil, almond oil and avocado oil as carrier oils. However, it all boils down to personal preference. Find out what works best for you and stick with it.
2. Reduces Anxiety
Lavender, the most common essential oil, is known to induce calmness and relaxation. It’s considered a non-medicative solution to irritability, panic attacks, and restlessness. How do you feel when you’re about to go for an interview? If you’re like the rest of us, you could be nervous. Try using essential oils to calm anxiety and perhaps you’ll have a success story worth sharing.
3. Alleviates Depression
It is worth noting that essential oils are not a cure for depression. They should never be a substitute for a doctor’s consultation. However, when used in conjunction with antidepressants, they suppress physical signs of depression such as insomnia. Just like all other forms of therapy, essential oils should be used cautiously. Talk to your doctor or trusted aromatherapist.
4. Improving Mental Performance
We all deal with brain fog differently? After concentrating for long, we tend to get confused and we lose focus. The end result is a sharp decline in productivity. According to psychologists, essential oils improve our mental state in more ways than we think. They’re rich in terpenes; chemical substances that improve the cognitive capability of the brain.
5. Triggers Good Feelings
Scents are powerful — they trigger memories, of people, places and good times. How do you feel when you smell your lover’s perfume? What emotions are triggered? Your heart rate is lowered, your breathing stabilized and your nervous system is calmed. Perhaps this is why scents have long-lasting effects on our bodies even after they have dissipated.
6. Gives Youthful, Glowing Skin
A few essential oils have anti-bacterial properties. They regulate how the body produces sebum; an active ingredient that helps in fighting acne-causing bacteria. In addition to this, essential oils are not oily making them ideal for people with oily skins. Doubting? Leave a bottle of essential oil open and most of the plant extract would evaporate. Furthermore, aromatherapy is used to improve numerous skin conditions. This includes reddening on the face, bug bites and nourishing dry skin
7. Helps In Weight Loss
Let’s be real, there’s no “magic” weight loss pill. There’s no amount of aromatherapy in this world that will help you magically shed off a few inches of tummy fat overnight. However, aromatic blends would help stop you from withdrawing from your weight loss workout routine. How is this even possible? Their aroma helps in uplifting our mental state. You will feel energized during your workouts thereby minimizing fatigue. When you lose weight too fast, stretch marks form. Essential oils promote skin elasticity, thus, minimizing risks of stretch mark formation. Aromatherapy massage could also be used to reduce subcutaneous abdominal fat.
8. Pain Relief
We all get headaches once in a while. Especially after spending a long day out in the scorching sun. Essential oils are home remedies for various ailments but are they really effective in combating headaches? Ancient civilizations used aromas for their health benefits. These oils are even incorporated into some cultures today. Headache and pain relief is actually one of the most effective uses of aromatherapy. Common essential oils used to treat migraines, reduce anxiety and help one fall asleep faster include; lavender oil, Clarey sage oil, chamomile oil, rosemary oil, and juniper oil.
9. It’s Safe And Natural
Even though there are a few exceptions, aromatherapy is performed using essential oils that are safe and non-toxic. They do not bring about respiratory issues when inhaled. They’re extracted from plants and no foreign preservatives are added. Because of this, they are generally considered a healthier alternative to synthetic pharmaceuticals packed with harmful chemicals that may bring about unforeseen side effects. In most cases, you won’t harm yourself, your pet or the environment when you use essential oils during aromatherapy. However, they may trigger mild allergic reactions. Exercise caution.
10. Readily Available
Even though aromatherapy has been in existence for ages, it has gained popularity recently. Thanks to mainstream media. You’ll find many companies offering essential oils around the globe. They’re readily available and at a fraction of the cost. No need to eat into your savings.
11. Boosts Memory
Memory loss is everyone’s biggest nightmare. Till today, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s. Aromatherapy has proven to be an effective way of improving short-term memory and keeping dementia at bay. Sage oil is commonly recommended for its memory-enhancing effects.
12. Faster Healing
Essential oils are stimulants. They increase oxygen flow to the affected areas through improved blood circulation. As such, the affected parts are nourished and healing is greatly improved.
13. Boosts Immunity
It’s preferable to prevent ailments than to cure them. This is done by the immune system. The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of essential oils eliminate threats before they get to you.
14. Improves Digestion
Research suggests that aromatherapy massage helps in promoting regular bowel movements especially in the elderly. This helps to keep your digestive tract free from bloating, constipation and indigestion. Metabolism is also improved too.
15. Improves The Circulatory System
Ginger and eucalyptus help in increasing blood flow. They’re blended together and essential oils extracted. This oil blend can be used in aromatherapy as a relief to poor blood circulation.
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