Experts estimate that stress in the underlying cause of nearly 90% of all dis-ease. Aromatherapy is a very effective way to alleviate stress.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing modality that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Sometimes it’s called essential oil therapy. Aromatherapy uses aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. It enhances both physical and emotional health.
Aromatherapy is thought of as both an art and a science. Recently, aromatherapy has gained more recognition in the fields of science and medicine.
How long has aromatherapy been around?
Humans have used aromatics for thousands of years. Ancient cultures in China, India, Egypt, and elsewhere incorporated aromatic plant components in resins, balms, and oils. These natural substances were used for medical and religious purposes. They were known to have both physical and psychological benefits.
Essential oil distillation is attributed to the Persians in the 10th century, though the practice may have been in use for a long time prior to this. Information about essential oil distillation was published in the 16th century in Germany. French physicians in the 19th century recognized the potential of essential oils in mitigating disease.
The term “aromatherapie” was coined by a French perfumer and chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé in a book he wrote on the topic that was published in 1937. He had previously discovered the healing potential of lavender in treating burns. The book discusses the use of essential oils in treating medical conditions.
How does aromatherapy treatment work?
Aromatherapy works through the sense of smell and skin absorption using products such as these:
- aromatic spritzers
- bathing salts
- body oils, creams, or lotions for massage or topical application
- facial steamers
- hot and cold compresses
- clay masks
You can use these alone or in any combination.
As an essential oil is inhaled, the volatile molecules stimulate the olfactory receptor cells and the impulse is transmitted to the limbic system. The limbic system is the par to the brain that controls emotion, memory, breathing, blood circulation and stimulates the hypothalamus, which in turn, regulates hormones. This occurs whether or not you are able to appreciate the smell of an aroma, so those who have a loss or reduction of their sense of smell may still benefit from aromatherapy.
Each essential oil contains naturally-occurring chemical components that offer unique healing properties, uses, and effects. Combining essential oils to create a synergistic blend creates even more benefits.
Aromatherapy has an array of benefits and may be helpful to:
- manage pain
- improve sleep quality
- reduce stress, agitation, and anxiety
- soothe sore joints
- quell headaches and migraines
- heal wounds, bites and stings
- alleviate side effects of chemotherapy
- ease discomforts of labor
- fight bacteria, virus, or fungus
- improve digestion
- improve skin conditions
- improve hospice and palliative care
- boost immunity
What happens in a consultation?
During a consultation, you’ll answer questions and talk about your general health, medical and family history, lifestyle and emotional well-being. These details are necessary as each care plan is highly individualized and designed to meet the particular needs of the individual. All information is held in the strictest confidence. Together, we come up with an individual care plan to meet your goals and improve your well-being. You may have a few sessions or you could decide to have ongoing sessions for a longer period of time.
Since aromatherapy is a complementary therapy, you may wish to talk to your doctor before starting your sessions. That way your essential oil therapy can be tailored to work together with any medical care or treatment you’re receiving.
What is Aromaflexology?
Aromaflexology is the amalgamation of aromatherapy and reflexology. Unlike reflexology, Aromaflexology is not a just a hands-on treatment. The therapist uses the tip of his/her thumb and pressure over the reflexes to assess the client's level of health. All nerve endings terminate in the hands, feet and ears. When pressure is applied to a reflex, the client may feel a twinge of pain or the therapist may sense a gritty feeling under the skin. This indicates that the corresponding body system may require attention. After this initial assessment is completed, the therapist will create an essential oil blend specific to the client's needs and mix it into a cream to be massaged into the affected reflexes. The client then receives instruction for self care at home.
Aromatherapy is a natural medicine. Natural is good, right?
Yes! However strawberries are natural too and if you are allergic to strawberries you can have a bad reaction.
Are there any side effects to using Aromatherapy?
Professional Aromatherapy is a safe complementary therapy for men, women, children and the elderly. It can be used alongside allopathic medicine for those with conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Essential oils are generally safe to use, however soem essential oils have some precautions associated with their use, especially if you take any prescription medications.
Essential oils should never be applied directly to your skin. Always use a carrier oil or lotion to dilute the oils. Some essential oils, such as citrus oils are phototoxic/photosensitizing and can cause darker pigmentation of the skin when exposed to sunlight withing a few hours of application.
Children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, those on medications, and the elderly and/or infirm require additional precautions. Essential oils are not to be ingested unless prescribed by a licensed practitioner with an advanced education in Aromatic Medicine.
Side effects of using essential oils that can occur include:
- asthma attacks
- allergic reactions
- skin irritation
Your Aromatherapist will help to choose those best suited to you and your care to reduce the possibility of any side effects or adverse reaction. While not a replacement for conventional healthcare, in professional hands, aromatherapy can be used alongside traditional medical care to actively support the body's own healing process.
How long before I see results?
Results vary by individual and depending on the condition (chronic or acute). Keep in mind that essential oils differ from pharmaceutical drugs. Pharmaceutical drugs work by having a single chemical acting on the major component of a dis-ease. It's a one-on-one fight much like a boxing match. Essential oils contain over 100 naturally-occurring chemical constituents that act on multiple components of a dis-ease, more like a battle of armies. It can take a little longer for an essential oil or blend to work, however the results are longer-lasting and using nature's medicine encourages homeostasis in the body. That is to say that pharmaceutical drugs may attack the bad stuff, but they attack the good stuff too as in the case of antibiotics. It can take up to a year for the body to rebuild its immune system after just one round of antibiotics. Essential oils help the body to heal itself and create a more harmonious healing environment without depleting the body systems' functioning.