Aromatherapy is a practice that uses essential oils to promote relaxation and mental health. It’s also been found to help with pain, nausea and depression.
Research suggests that the chemical compounds in certain essential oils, such as limonene (found in lemon oil), may relieve labor pain and control vomiting. Other oils, such as fennel, aniseed and clary sage, have estrogen-like properties that may help relieve PMS symptoms.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a natural, noninvasive form of holistic therapy that uses extracts from plant oils. These oils can be absorbed through the skin or nose. They can be used in baths, massage, or as part of a vaporizer. They can also be added to lotions and other products.
Aromatherapists use different combinations of essential oils to treat specific ailments. They may use a combination of essential oils to reduce stress, ease insomnia, relieve menstrual pain or help with digestion. They can help with headaches, respiratory problems, infections, and even cancer-related issues.
Some studies suggest that aromatherapy can improve quality of life for people with chronic health conditions and help them feel more relaxed. But more research is needed to know how effective it really is. It’s important to use only under the guidance of a trained aromatherapist and in conjunction with other treatment methods. Some oils could interfere with certain medications and affect a person’s reaction to treatment, so it’s best to talk to your doctor before trying aromatherapy.
How do I use aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can also be used to ease aches and pains and boost mood. However, it is important to remember that these oils are highly concentrated and should be diluted properly before they are applied to the skin or inhaled.
There are many ways to use essential oils, but the most common is by inhalation. This is done through a diffuser, a spray bottle or by placing drops of the oil on a cotton ball and sniffing it.
It is also possible to apply the oil directly to the skin, but this should be done under the guidance of a trained aromatherapist. Some people may have sensitivities to certain oils and should avoid them. For example, people with high blood pressure should avoid stimulating oils such as rosemary and spike lavender. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use oils with estrogen-like compounds, such as fennel, aniseed and clary sage.
What are the benefits of aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy uses extracts from plants, called essential oils, to improve health and wellbeing. People inhale the oils through their noses or apply them to the skin during a massage or bath. The oils can also be mixed into body creams and shampoos.
Some research suggests that certain scents can influence physical and emotional well-being. It’s not clear how this works, but experts believe that the smells can stimulate parts of the brain known as the amygdala and hippocampus, which hold memories. Stimulating oils can boost mood and sedative oils can help you sleep. Oils from ginger, fennel, chamomile and clary sage may reduce nausea and digestive problems, while oil from melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) can treat colds, coughs, herpes and other viral infections.
Many doctors, nurses and complementary and integrative health practitioners recommend aromatherapy. However, it is not regulated and the FDA doesn’t evaluate or approve it. It’s best to use only pure, natural oils and consult a trained professional before beginning an aromatherapy treatment.
How do I choose an essential oil?
To ensure you are using safe and therapeutic oils, choose a supplier that is reputable. Look for a bottle that contains only essential oil with no fillers. Avoid fragrance oils that contain both essential and chemical oils. You should also be cautious of suppliers who advertise their oils as “therapeutic grade” or “aromatherapy grade.” There is no governing body that grades or certifies these terms, and they can be misleading to consumers.
Examine the label on the bottle to make sure it includes the Latin name of the oil, the country of origin, and the extraction method. It’s also important to avoid distilled oils that have gone through multiple distillations, as this can remove the therapeutic properties of the oil.
You should also avoid oils that smell strongly of chemicals and those that are diluted with other ingredients such as vegetable or carrier oils. Also, be careful of oils that are shipped in plastic or clear bottles, as this can cause them to deteriorate and taint more quickly.