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Aromatherapy

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Aromatherapy

PostAuthor: Hazel » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:43 pm

Aromatherapy

What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the systematic use of volatile plant oils known as essential oils for the treatment or prevention of disease. It is a form of complementary therapy designed to treat the whole person and not just the symptom or disease by assisting the body's natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself.
Essential oils consist of tiny aromatic molecules that are readily absorbed via the skin, and whilst breathing they enter the lungs. These therapeutic constituents next enter the bloodstream and are carried around the body where they can deliver their beneficial healing powers. Because they are highly concentrated, only a small quantity of essential oil is required to bring about results.
When using good quality essential oils correctly, the soothing combination of beautiful aromas, massage, aromatic baths and other treatments all work to regulate, balance, heal and maintain your entire being by working with nature, and not against it. A far cry from allopathic medicine, which tends to take a 'sledgehammer to crack a nut' approach.
A holistic approach
Today, aromatherapy is one of the most popular of all complementary therapies, offering a wide range of highly effective treatments to both the acute and chronic stages of illness and disease. At the same time, regular use of aromatherapy treatments and home-use products can help to strengthen the immune system, thereby establishing a preventative approach to overall health.
One of the reasons that aromatherapy has been so hugely successful is because it uses a holistic approach, whereby the aromatherapist takes into account a persons medical history, emotional condition, general health and lifestyle before planning a course of treatment. The whole person is treated - not just the symptoms of an illness, and this is in direct opposition to the modern trend of just treating the presented condition.
Backache, irritable bowel syndrome or headaches, for example, are often the result of stress and not actually a physical problem. Therefore no amount of pill-popping is really going to provide a long term solution since it only masks the symptoms without addressing the problems. By looking at the causes of the stress and providing treatments to ease and manage it, the aromatherapist will alleviate the condition in a much more efficient manner.


How it works

When applied to the body, essential oils penetrate the skin via the hair follicles and sweat glands and are absorbed into the body fluids, where they not only help to kill bacteria and viruses but also stimulate the body's immune system, thereby strengthening resistance to further attack.
Some essential oils increase the circulation and help with the efficient elimination of toxins; others promote new cell growth and encourage the body's natural ability to heal itself. Each essential oil has its own character and aroma, exhibiting a varying number of properties and benefits which are unique to itself, since no two essential oils are quite the same.
The minute molecules of essential oils are readily absorbed into the bloodstream when they are inhaled as the lungs work to oxygenate the blood. This form of absorption is most efficient when inhaling essential oils from a tissue, diffusing them in a vaporizer, or adding them to your bathwater. The aroma sends a signal directly to the Limbic System in the brain which is the centre of emotions, memory and sexual arousal. This is why essential oils have such a powerful effect on our moods and general state of mind, as we will see later.
Massage is one of the best ways to enjoy aromatherapy because you not only receive the therapeutic properties of the essential oils, but you also get the wonderful benefits of the massage itself. The therapeutic action of the essential oils when brought together with the revitalizing effects of massage stimulate all of the organs in the body, plus the skin, muscles, nerves and glands. The increased circulation of the blood and lymph flow also assists with the clearing away of body toxins.
Because essential oils can influence our emotions, aromatherapy can help to lift depression, soothe irritable nerves and generally encourage a better state of mind. It has been discovered that relaxing oils such as Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Clary Sage, Sandalwood, Frankincense and Ylang Ylang work by stimulating a neuro-chemical called serotonin that is naturally produced by the body to help relaxation and induce sleep. It is this action that makes these oils so invaluable in helping long-term conditions such as insomnia, stress and tension.
Last word
Aromatherapy excels as a form of complementary and alternative medicine, helping and bringing relief to millions of people where conventional medicine currently fails. Of this there can surely be no doubt. Aromatherapy is more effective than possibly any other healing paradigm.
It has long been understood that preventative measures go a very long way towards protecting the body against all types of illness. Therefore the relaxing and de-stressing influence of essential oils and massage, together with their effect on the immune system, places aromatherapy in the pre-eminent position as the finest preventative medicine.
And no matter what your opinion or beliefs may currently be about the efficacy of aromatherapy, there is one thing that we can all surely agree on: Prevention really is much better than cure.
Warning; some people can have a reaction to some of the oils and so can pregnant women so care must be taken to know what is safe to use.
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Hazel
 
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