What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy uses vital essences, distilled from plants for therapeutic purposes. The essential oils are known for benefitting physical, emotional and mental health. Let's discover how essential oils and aromatherapy can help you.

Aromatherapy is best described as a holistic system of healing that incorporates the use of pure essential oils. These aromatic oils are obtained from distilling various parts of flowers, plants, herbs and trees; each aromatic has its own unique therapeutic properties.

The effects of aromatherapy can be experienced through this simplified experiment – simply crush a few fresh mint leaves between your fingers and breathe in the powerful and invigorating fragrance. The strong scent will send an instant gush of energy into you, leaving you fresh and revitalised.

Brief history of essential oils

Aromatherapy is not something new, it has been around for centuries and originated in varied forms in the Indian sub-continent, China, Egypt, the Americas and Africa. They have been used for medicinal purposes for ages.

It is fascinating that we, living in the twenty-first century, use essential oils that were used over 4000 years ago. Frankincense, myrrh and sandalwood are examples of some of the aromas that humans used thousands of years back.

In ancient civilizations, Sandalwood oil was a famed aphrodisiac, and it is still considered as one. Frankincense is known to have a connection with holy and religious ceremonies. The strong and pleasant aroma has an ability to create a pious, prayerful atmosphere. Frankincense is used for holy rituals, by the Catholic Church.

In earlier times aromatherapy was used for varied purposes, and it has been a part of every culture. According to historians, aromatherapy was used not just for healing, but also for rejuvenating beauty treatments, incenses and for embalming the dead.

What are essential oils

Essential oils are thought of as being just sweet, strong smelling potions. However, there is another facet to them that is of much greater importance. These pure oils contain natural chemicals, in concentrated forms, making them highly potent and enhancing their curative properties.

Apart from that essential oils are extremely volatile and vaporise easily, at room temperature. The concentrates have rather strong elements and it is therefore advised that they are handled with the utmost care and used in very little quantities.

Essential oils are generally not very dense and have almost the same consistency as water. However, a few of them are more viscous – sandalwood, myrrh and vetiver are some examples. They can have bright vivid colours getting the same from their source.

What is the source of essential oils

All essential oils are plant-based, they are extracted from different parts of plants. For example, the eucalyptus oil is extricated from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. The oil is an excellent decongestant and helps clear blocked nasal passages and chest congestion. It is also known for its antiseptic properties and is of immense medicinal value.

Lavender oil is extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant. It is regarded as a potent essence in aromatherapy. It has many uses; it is known to cure headaches and heal burns. It also removes fatigue and diminishes stress, and can treat insomnia.

How to use essential oils

Aromatherapy massages are slowly becoming popular in India. A number of exclusive aromatherapy centres have opened shop, but they are expensive and remain an indulgence. However, this shouldn't prevent you from reaping the benefits of aromatherapy. Massage is just one that these oils can be used, there are a variety of other ways too, that can be practised at home.

They can be used at home as fragrances, the soothing smells emitting from essential oils can relax and soothe stressed nerves. They can lift the mood and are generally good for one's wellbeing. They also make good perfumes and can be added to the water for a fragrant and refreshing bath.

Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids, and must never be used in their pure form, on the skin. It is always better to thin the concentration by mixing another oily base before use, and for this purpose, sweet almond oil is recommended.

Can essential oils be mixed

Not all oils combine well together; certain combinations work better than others. And compatible oils when used in combination are often more effective, in controlling health issues. Mixed oils boost each other's property, producing more powerful results than if they were used independently. Together they create an efficacious synergy.

It must be noted that a perfect synergy cannot be attained by blending together huge quantities of a variety of oils. Instead, this formula works perfectly when two essences are subtly blended together. They create a potent potion. Just a couple of drops of these oils can have the desired effect.

Essential oils are safe to use

Essential oils must not be ingested. They are used only as aromatic therapy, in alternative medicine. They can be used in conjunction with other complementary treatments, like herbalism and shiatsu and many others.

Though homoeopathy doctors advise against the use of aromatherapy in conjunction with the treatment. It is best to consult your doctor if you are under homoeopathic medication.

How to select essential oils

Different essential oil help in healing different problems. So, select your essential oil based on your physical, emotional and mental health requirements. Remember, not all aroma oils have the same, they have different properties and are used for different problems.

Nevertheless, choose your fragrance with care. You want something that is pleasing to your olfactory system; you'll enjoy it more and it'll give a better outcome, compared to a fragrance that is not so pleasing. The latter will fail to provide an intensifying reaction upon your mood and sense of well-being.

Also, often a wide-range of aroma oils are available to treat the same condition, so you do have a choice to pick a fragrance that you prefer. For example, chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender and myrtle aroma oils are recommended for the treatment of headaches.

Lavender aroma oil is used to treat multiple ailments, such as, anxiety & nervous tension, burns & scalds, cellulite, colds & flu, constipation, cuts & grazes, depression, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, mental fatigue, muscular aches & pains, premenstrual syndrome, sore throat, spots & blemishes and varicose veins. Similarly, other aroma oils are also capable of treating multiple ailments; that is the amazing strength of the essential aroma oils.


Guest Author: Amol Sansare12 Sep 2018

Aromatherapy is not a new branch of Science but long back, China, Egypt, Africa etc used many plant oils for the alleviation of the disorders with which human being suffer from time to time.

At present, the Homoeopathy system has recognized its usefulness and there are around 20 plant oils being used in the Aromatherapy for the effective utilization of such plant oils.

A few noted oils such as Sandalwood oil, Lavender oil, Eucalyptus oil, Myrrh etc are appropriately used to provide immediate relief. Sandalwood oil produces a calming effect on the system and is an excellent source of blood purification and has the ability to cure Syphilis and other venereal diseases.

The Homoeopaths use all such oils and are termed as batch-flower medicines and its application and messages are employed after assessing the characteristics of the individuals.

Guest Author: Mohsin abbas Nasir H12 Sep 2018

I loved the article and sincerely appreciate the efforts of the author. She has very well presented it and given detailed information regarding history, sources, uses and safety of essential oils.

Aromatherapy is a combination of art as well as science. Day by day it is gaining popularity and is reaching a large number of people. Essential oils used in aromatherapy penetrate the skin. A very important sense in our body is a sense of smell. Through this sense, aromatherapy relaxes and rejuvenates the mind and body.

In aromatherapy, various products are used. Some of the products used are bathing salts, body oils, body lotions, body creams, diffusers, facial steamers, inhalers, hot compress, cold compress, face masks. These products can be used in combination or alone. More than a hundred different types of essential oils exist and they can be very well used in aromatherapy.

Make sure to purchase only those essential oils that are high in quality and manufactured by a reputable brand. They should be completely natural. They should be free of synthetic products such as additives. When essential oils are mixed and used in aromatherapy, they exert additional benefits.

Guest Author: 17 Sep 2018

Essential oils are known for their curing properties since long and many sprays, balms and creams are based on them. They have a pleasant effect on our senses and they give symptomatic relief in many conditions.

Nowadays due to adulteration we must be cautious in using these products and should get them from reputed sources.
The synthetic and duplicate fake items are also minting money in the market today. We should be aware of these things as these fake ones will be of no use to us.

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