Aromatherapy: What is it and does it really work?

Commonly found everywhere from spas to cleaning products, essential oils have health benefits, too. For over 6,000 years essential oils have been used in places like China, India, Egypt, Persia, and parts of Europe to improve people’s health and mood. The practice itself is called aromatherapy, and is a great holistic healing treatment for many common ailments.

What are essential oils?

Made from flowers, herbs, barks, roots, peels, petals, and more, essential oils are extracted from the cells of a plant that give it its fragrance, or essence. Essential oils are extremely concentrated, which means it takes massive amounts of plant product to make them. It requires over 200lbs of lavender flowers to make just 1lb of lavender essential oil, but the ratio changes depending on the plant used. True essential oils are not mixed with any other essence or chemicals, and are made without changing the chemical makeup of the plant.

What is aromatherapy and how does it work?

Aromatherapy uses essential oils in two different ways: topical application and inhalation. When applied to the skin, essential oils boost circulation and cause responses in your skin and joints, helping with afflictions like bacterial skin infections and joint pain or swelling. Some essential oils are also known to have different levels of antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, nematicidal, insecticidal, and antioxidant properties. You should always do an allergy check before you apply essential oil to your skin, and make sure to dilute essential oil with something else, like coconut oil so you don’t end up with a rash or burn.

Additionally, essential oils possess aromatic properties that can be activated through inhalation using different methods such as a diffuser, steam bath, or hot compress. The scents of these essential oils stimulate your olfactory system, in turn activating your limbic system and hypothalamus, both of which help to control your nervous system, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress, emotion, energy, hormone balance, and stress levels. You should try to stay within the 15-60 minute time period when inhaling essential oils.

What does aromatherapy help with?

Aromatherapy can help with a variety of afflictions, including anxiety, stress, depression, aches and body pain, chronic pain, insomnia, dementia, kidney stones, nausea, headaches, circulation problems, menstrual problems, hair loss, menopause, and more. Different essential oils affect your body in different ways. The following are some of the more popular oils and their uses.

Lavender is used to clean minor cuts, burns and abrasions, along with enhancing relaxation. It’s said to promote healthy sleep patterns and relieve headache pains, including migraines.

Peppermint is used to refresh and promote memory. After breathing in peppermint, people report feeling more alert. It’s also often used along with baking soda as a supplement for toothpaste.

Eucalyptus relieves airways and reduces mucus to help combat colds and flus. It’s very potent, so you only need a drop or two for it to work.

Lemon improves mood, helping to relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Rosemary is good for boosting memory and energy, overall enhancing brainpower. Additionally, rosemary oil has been claimed to promote hair growth, prevent muscle spasms, and support the nervous and circulatory systems.

Tea Tree oil is said to be antimicrobial, antiseptic, and disinfecting. It’s used in a lot of lotions, shampoos, and skincare products to treat burns, scarring, and acne, but should always be diluted before use. You should never swallow tea tree oil.

Summary

Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years by cultures across the world as a way to holistically heal and strengthen. While not all of its benefits are scientifically proven, its long history supports its legitimacy. The healing properties of essential oils are endless, and in this article we only cover a few of its more specific benefits, but in general it is known to help not only with physical health, but emotional and spiritual health as well.

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by Insider Envy Staff

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