What is Aromatherapy?
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) defines aromatherapy as “the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing”.
Put simply, aromatherapy is a form of affordable healthcare that makes use of aromatic essential oils derived from different medicinal plants. They are believed to have antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, insecticidal, and antioxidant properties that make them therapeutic in nature. They help overcome numerous ailments when used as an inhaling agent or applied externally on the skin. They have also proven to enhance physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Here are some facts about aromatherapy to help you understand how it works:
- Plants produce certain powerful chemicals to defend themselves from insects and microorganisms.
- Aromatic oils are derived from these active ingredients of medicinal plants through distillation.
- As they’re obtained in concentrated form, essential oils used in aromatherapy are mixed with a carrier oil like coconut, almond, or jojoba before they are applied onto the skin.
Aromatherapy can be performed in several ways:
- Massaging essential oils onto the skin
- Direct inhalation from a bottle or cotton swab
- Soaking in an oil-infused bath
- Diffusing essential oil/s into the air
Aromatherapy has proven effective in dealing with a wide range of health conditions. Some of these are listed below:
Has a relaxing effect
Several essential oils used for aromatherapy, including chamomile and lavender, act as relaxants that ease stress and anxiety.
The antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties of essential oils offer protection against a wide range of illnesses and infections, thereby strengthening your immune system.
Results in better sleep
By helping people unwind and de-stress, aromatherapy also aids in better sleep.
Results in healthier skin
Diluted essential oils are effective in combating a wide range of skin related issues such as acne, dandruff, fungal infections, inflammation from insect bites, cellulite, rashes, etc.
Aids in pain management
Applying aromatic oils to troubled areas helps ease sore muscles, relieve inflammation in tissues, and soothes aching joints.
Enhances mental alertness
Aromatherapy has proven to increase alertness, enhance competency, and boost overall mood in mentally fatigued patients.
Raises energy levels
While we all feel the need for energy boosts, substances like coffee, cigarettes and several other stimulants have an adverse impact on the body. Many essential oilshave been found to increase circulation, raise energy levels, and stimulate the body and mind without dangerous side effects.
Aromatic oils can act as aphrodisiacs by enhancing virility and blood flow.
Aromatic oils derived from turmeric, ginger, peppermint, lemon, grapefruit, etc. promote better digestion by preventing digestive disorders like acid reflux, ulcers, nausea, morning sickness, as well as menstrual spasms.
Helps manage cancer symptoms or related side-effects
Aromatherapy can serve as a supportive therapy for cancer patients. It helps in stress reduction and pain management while invoking an overall sense of well-being.