Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils in holistic treatments to improve physical and emotional well being.
Have you ever noticed how a certain smell be it bread baking or freshly cut grass can transport you back to the happy moments related to these smells. This powerful transporting experience is the basis of how aromatherapy works. By exposing ourselves to essential oils of plants and flowers that arouse nurturing feelings, we can manipulate the brain chemistry to effect our emotional well being in a positive way.
Apart from the psychological effects these oils possess distinctive therapeutic properties which can be used to improve health and prevent disease.
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Benefits of Aromatherapy(these vary from oil to oil but generally it)
- Helps boost immunity
- helps reduce pain
- Balances hormones
- Promotes a sense of well being
- Induces a state of deep relaxation combating stress and stress related conditions
- Improves circulation
- Improves concentration
- Promotes sleep and helps with insomnia.
- Aids digestion
- Helps with skin problems
Some of the conditions it can help with.
- Stress and anxiety
- Muscular tension
- Panic attacks
- Arthritis / rheumatism
- Digestive disorders - I.B.S., constipation etc
- Eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis
- Fluid retention/ cellulite
- Cystitis / urinary tract infections
ROSE - Rosa damascena
Rose is known as the 'queen of oils' because it is so beneficial particularly to women. It is a ultimately feminine oil and gives a woman positive feelings about herself. It is very useful around the Heart Chakra which is very much connected with self love and self esteem.
Mind - It has a soothing effect on the emotions and is particularly good for depression, grief and jealousy. It lifts the emotions and eases stress and tension.
Skin - Rose is good for all skin types especially dry mature skin. It is a vasoconstrictor and is therefore good for tread veins and broken capillaries.
The reproductive system - Female: Rose regulates P.M.T. and uterine disorders.
Male: It increases semen production.
Digestive system - Its antiseptic and purging action helps to clear out the alimentary canal. Its detoxifying effect was valued by the ancient Romans who used it to cure hang overs.
precautions - avoid during pregnancy
Lavender - Lavendula agustifolia
The properties of lavender were first discovered by a French chemist called Rene Gattefosse. He burnt his hand while working in his lab and plunged it into a vat of lavender to cool it down. He discovered the lavender helped his burns to heal quicker and prevented scarring.
Lavender is for me the most useful of all the oils and I think every household should have a bottle of lavender to hand. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, anti-fungal, and as is proven it helps heal burns, a must for any first aid kit; and that’s just the physiological benefits it also has great psychological benefits.
Mind - Lavender balances the emotions and lifts depression. Its great for relieving stress and anxiety, and for headaches, migraines,tension and shock. It has also long been valued for its ability to promote sleep.
Skin - It balances sebum, promotes the growth of new cells and is very healing for burns and sunburn and can help with acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Skeletal system - eases rheumatism and arthritis.
Circulatory system - lowers high blood pressure and calms heart palpitations.
Respiratory system - relaxes breathing, eases bronchitis and has an antiviral effect on colds and flu. Very useful for people who suffer with panic attacks.
Digestive system - Clears the spleen and liver, increases gastric secrereations and is helpful around nausea and vomiting.
Precautions - avoid during pregnancy and as it lowers blood pressure avoid if you suffer from low blood pressure.
Mandarin - citrus reticulata
Mandarin is a beautifully refreshing, uplifting oil what I particularly like about it is that (unlike most other oils)it is mild enough to use on women during pregnancy when the are most in need of aromatherapy.
Mind - Mandarin is uplifting and helps to banish depression and anxiety.
Skin - It promotes cell growth and is particular good around scars and stretch marks.
Lymphatic system - It is a mild diuretic and can help with cellulite.
Reproductive system - Eases P.M.T.
Digestive system - A tonic to digestion, it stimulates the appetite especially after illness or when depressed. It stimulates the liver helping to regulate metabolic processes, calms the stomach and expels wind.
precautions - can cause phototoxicity when exposed to sun.
rose geranium - pelargonium graveolens
geranium is a great balancer, it balances both mind and body, is emotionally uplifting and stimulates circulation.
mind - Geranium lifts the spirits, eases anxiety and depression and puts the mind back into balance. its great for those suffering from stress as it works directs on the adrenal cortex.
Skin - It balances sebum and helps to keep skin soft and supple.
Endocrine system - It balances hormones and is great for P.m.T. and the menopause.
Circulatory system - It improves circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system and is very helpful for fluid retention and swollen ankles.
Precaution - avoid during pregnancy
Frankincense - boswellia carteri
Frankincense has long been used for religious rituals, it was burnt at alters in Egypt as an offering to gods and use as and aid for meditation due to it ability to slow down the breathing.
Mind - It slows breathing producing feelings of calm. Its refreshing and comforting action helps anxious obsessional states linked with the past.
Skin - rejuvenates dry mature skin and is said to have anti-aging properties.
Respiratory system - It clears the lungs and eases shortness of breath making it particularly helpful for asthma and bronchitis.
Urinary system - eases symptoms of cystitis.
Tea tree - Mullica Alternifolia
Tea tree is a very useful oil , it is quit rare in that it is proven to effect all tree types of infection that attack the body; bacterial, viral and fungal. It is therefore useful in treating infection and preventing it.
- Mind - It revitalizes the mind
- Skin - It's very helpful around fungal and viral infections of the skin. Also for cold sores, spots, acne, athletes foot, warts, verruca, infected wounds, and dandruff.
- Urinary system - good for thrush, cystitis and urinary tract infections.
- Immune system - boosts immunity
- Precautions - a very strong oil it is not suitable for full body massage but should be used locally with care as it can cause skin irritation . Avoid during pregnancy.
Peppermint - Mentha Piperita
- Mind- Wakes up refreshes and improves concentration, mental fatigue and headaches. It cools and calms anger, hysteria and nervous trembling.
- Digestion - great for indigestion, nausea and travel sickness.
- Respiratory - It decongests blocked sinuses and relieves cold and flu symptoms, it encourages to reduce fever.
The term aromatherapy is greatly misused these days with all sorts of chemically produced products on the market being labeled aromatherapy just because they have a strong scent. Not only do these products not possess the therapeutic benefits of the natural oils but some of them can put our bodies under serious stress.
Always buy your oils from a reputable company, there are no bargains in aromatherapy; you get what you pay for and if you buy an unusually cheap oil it is most likely of bad quality.
You will notice I have given the Latin name of each oil. This Latin name should appear on the bottle or else it probably isn't the real thing.
check that the oils are not synthetic, adulterations or 'nature identical'.
If possible try to buy organically grown oils the quality is far superior.
there are various ways of using essential oils
It can be used at home in baths, in oil burners, inhalations but the method I use the most is massage.
Massage is the perfect medium for aromatherapy. The oils are absorbed into the body through the skin so that it not only works on the olfactory system but is absorbed directly into the blood stream. You also have the relaxing benefits of massage together with the calming benefits of the oils which produce the ultimately relaxing experience.
Massage also aids lymphatic drainage which along with the immune boosting effect of some of the oils can really act to boost the immune system.(for more of the benefits of massage see massage page).