Aromatherapy is the practice of using highly concentrated essential oils to change your mood or to improve your health. The use of essential oils for bathing, cosmetic and medicinal purposes goes back thousands of years in different cultures.
Essential oils are usually distilled from whole plants. They are often very fragrant. It’s thought that aromatherapy works through the scent receptors in your nose, which send messages to your brain and can affect your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.
Essential oils can be used in different ways. They are often rubbed on the skin in weaker strengths using a base or carrier oil. Drops of essential oils can also be put into bath water. They can be inhaled through the air if the oil is put into steaming water, diffusers or a humidifier.
Aromatherapy is often used along with massage. The essential oil is an ingredient of the oil or lotion used by the massage therapist.
There are many different types of essential oils available. Essential oils for aromatherapy should be as pure as possible, without any added chemicals or pollutants. Examples of common essential oils are rose, peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, chamomile, tea tree and bergamot (which is a combination of different essential oils).
Aromatherapy as a complementary therapy
There is no evidence at this time that aromatherapy can treat cancer itself. There is some evidence that the essential oils used in aromatherapy may help you cope with some of the emotional and psychological effects of living with cancer.
Aromatherapy may help lower stress and anxiety by promoting a sense of calm or well-being. It has been used to help promote relaxation and improve sleep. Some studies have shown that aromatherapy, when used with massage therapy, can help relieve depression for short periods of time.
We need more research to be sure, but a small amount of evidence shows that aromatherapy can ease pain and help relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
"Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul." Robert Tisserand
"Aromatherapy can be defined as the controlled use of essential oils to maintain and promote physical, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing." Gabriel Mojay
Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil therapy, can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process.
It was the French perfumer and chemist, Rene- Maurice Gattefosse, who coined the term “aromatherapie” in 1937 with his publication of a book by that name. His book “Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy” contains early clinical findings for utilizing essential oils for a range of physiological ailments. It seems vital to understand what Gattefosse’s intention for coining the word was, as he clearly meant to distinguish the medicinal application of essential oils from their perfumery applications.
So we can interpret his coining of the word “Aromatherapie” to mean the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing. As the practice of aromatherapy has progressed, over the years, it has adopted a more holistic approach encompassing the whole body, mind and spirit (energy).
"Aromatherapy can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It is an art and science which seeks to explore the physiological, psychological and spiritual realm of the individual's response to aromatic extracts as well as to observe and enhance the individual's innate healing process. As a holistic practice, Aromatherapy is both a preventative approach as well as an active method to employ during acute and chronic stages of illness or 'dis'-ease.
It is a natural, non-invasive modality designed to affect the whole person not just the symptom or disease and to assist the body's natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself by the correct use of essential oils." Jade Shutes
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