Top 10 Benefits of Aromatherapy
Table of Contents
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What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy that employs the use of scented essential oils for the treatment of a range of conditions in patients. The term “Aromatherapy” is believed to be coined by the French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé. He suggested the name in a book he published in 1937 on the therapeutic effects of essential oils. This was after his discovery of lavender’s potential for treating burns.
Aromatherapy has its roots in the ancient times in Egypt, China, India, and some other ancient countries. Around the 11th Century, alchemists discovered certain scented plant extracts that could be used to treat certain psychological conditions and relieve pain. With time, as the separation techniques advanced, more essential oils having great therapeutic potentials were extracted. The result is an array of essential oil types that are now available today for our use.
Does Aromatherapy Really Work?
The effect of aromatherapy has been tested and proved hundreds of years ago.
The Persians were regarded as the first ancient culture to develop extraction devices for essential oil from plants in the 10th Century. This means the Persians must have been using aromatherapy long before them.
In the 16th Century, German physicians published a series of articles on the potentials of aromatherapy.
Later, in the 19th Century, French chemists and physicians identified some essential oils that could effectively treat certain health conditions. They also published their works on aromatherapy.
In the 19th Century, modern medicine witnessed a lot of changes and favored the use of chemically synthesized drugs. However, German and French doctors continue to make use of essential oils in treating patients. Since then, the camp of advocates for aromatherapy as a significant alternative therapy has been growing.
It should be noted that despite the efficacy of many alternative medicine therapy, modern medicine is yet to accept them entirely. This is also the case of aromatherapy. The good news is that medical practitioners are now vocal about the efficacy of aromatherapy. It is no longer strange to find patients combining the use of essential oils with their normal medication as recommended by their medical doctors.
How Does Aromatherapy Treatment Work?
Aromatherapy is often administered through inhalation of essential oils or skin absorption. The various forms through which essential oil products can be used include:
- Aromatic spritzers
- Facial steamers
- Clay masks
- Bathing salts
- Topical ointments such as creams, body oil and so on
You can use one or any combinations of the forms in which essential oil products exist. There are as many as a hundred different types of essential oils that have been confirmed to treat certain conditions in patients.
However, most people prefer the most commonly used and popular ones. This is major because of the previous success records of the popular essential oils in treating the same or similar conditions in other patients.
Where to Get Essential Oil?
Essential oils can be found in most supermarkets, health stores, and online. FDA does not regulate essential oil products. Hence, you should be sure that you are getting your essential oil from a reputable source. However, top-quality essential oils are supposed to be 100% natural. The low-quality ones are most times mixed with synthetic ingredients or additives.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Aromatherapy
Here are the major health benefits of using essential oils and aromatherapy.
1. Stress Relief
Due to the stressful nature of many jobs today, coupled with a fast-paced world, many people are suffering from work-related stress. Aromatherapy is the most popular remedy for relieving one’s stress. Many people use scents and essential oil ointments to clear their minds and remove anxiety.
Some of the essential oils recommended by aromatherapy experts include peppermint, lavender, lemon oil, bergamot, vetiver, and some others. Recent studies have suggested that lemon oil can be effective in treating anger in adults.
2. Alleviates Depression
Some essential oils have been found to improve mood and give motivation. Depression often sets in when the mood is bad, and there is no motivation to do anything worthwhile.
Modern antidepressants often take longer to affect mood, and due to their complex side effects, many people rely on aromatherapy to manage depression. Jasmine, Chamoline, Peppermint, and Lavender have shown great potentials for reducing depression.
The use of aromatherapy for reducing depression should not hinder patients from seeking help from psychiatrists and mental health practitioners.
3. Manages Psychiatric Disorders
Results from some recent research by Karag Et al., 2017 into essential oils like peppermint and frankincense oils show that they hold great potentials for treating some cognitive disorders, partial memory loss, and depression.
Although these claims have not been fully verified, some aromatherapists have been recording outstanding results for using these remedies with their patients.
4. Quickens Recovery From Illness
It is a traditional practice among places close to the sea to take recovering patients near the sea. It is believed that the air from the sea carries substances that hasten the healing period.
The use of essential oils, such as rosehip, lavender, buckthorn, and calendula, has been confirmed to reduce convalescence. This may be because these oils improve the circulation of oxygen and blood around affected areas. As a result, wounds and internal injuries sustained during sickness or after surgical operation heal faster.
5. Boost Body Immune System
As they say, prevention is cheaper and better than a cure. As many disease-causing micro-organisms are becoming harder to kill with current antibiotics, researchers are looking to essential oils for the solution.
According to recent studies, essential oils from eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemon, oregano, and frankincense have high antibiotic potentials. Expert aromatherapists in India are recording amazing results with patients who use essential oil to build their body’s resistance against diseases.
6. Relief For Headaches
Headaches are usually initial signs of stress. We all have headaches once in a while. Rather than resort to the use of regular medicine or pain killers, use aromatherapy. Essential oils are a cheaper and healthier alternative to aspirin and pain killers. Essential oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, and sandalwood oils have been found effective for treating headaches and migraines.
You only need to mix these essential oils with carrier oils like coconut, apricot kernel, almond, sesame, and avocado oils. After thorough mixing, apply the mixture externally on the scalp, neck, or temples. Essential oils do not only relieve the headache immediately, but they also treat the cause of the headache.
7. Relieves Body Pain
Body pain is usually treated by analgesics, which could give some side effects right after pain relief. Aromatherapy offers a safer and more effective alternative as it can relieve all kinds of body pains without side effects.
The significant oils used for treating body pain include eucalyptus, chamomile, juniper, lavender, peppermint, and rosemary oil.
8. Treats Constipation
Constipation is caused by poor digestion of food. It can be very disturbing when not taken seriously. This area is still lacking in inadequate research. However, there is tangible evidence to prove that aromatherapy can treat indigestion.
Citrus oils such as orange and lemon have been confirmed to increase metabolism and food absorption; hence, aiding faster digestion.
Apart from citrus, essential oils of lavender, dill, ginger, clary sage, fennel, and chamomile have also been found effective against constipation.
9. Enhances Sleep
Having a good night’s rest is one way of staying healthy and alert throughout the day. There are times that adults find it hard to sleep. Without the required amount of sleep, one may encounter some health issues and generally feel weak to pursue daily activities.
Aromatherapy can tweak our body’s circadian rhythms to make us easily retire to sleep at night and wake up rejuvenated in the morning.
Some essential oils that can help balance our sleeping time include sandalwood, lavender, rose, jasmine, neroli, chamomile, and others.
10. Stimulates Body Activity
The use of stimulants to increase body activity and reduce fatigue is common. The use of coffee, cigarettes, and some hard drugs may lead to addiction, which can pose serious health concerns. People can use diet and exercise to increase their levels of motivation for work.
However, some essential oils can boost mental alertness and reduce body fatigue without people getting addicted or suffering side effects. Some essential oils that can boost body energy levels include angelica, cinnamon, black pepper, clove, jasmine, rosemary, and tea tree.
Some other uses of essential oils include the deterrence of mosquitoes. It has been confirmed that citronella can repel mosquitoes for up to three hours if mixed with vanillin. The essential oil can also give our homes beautiful and healthy fragrance with refreshing scents. Some people use essential oil as a fragrance on their clothes during laundry.
Essential oils are not to be used alone without an expert aromatherapist recommending it. Make sure they are only applied externally. In some cases, essential oils are inhaled. Ingesting essential oils can be very dangerous to the body as they may contain toxins.
If you mistakenly swallow some amounts of essential oil, call emergency services and report poisoning. As such, it is best to keep the containers or essential oils out of the reach of children.
When you consider the benefits of using aromatherapy, you’ll see to it that you add at least one major essential oil product to the home remedy kit.