No one likes to go to the doctor. Besides the exorbitant fee that we are going to be saddled with, we dread the presumably excruciating pain and suffering we have to endure while undergoing treatment. But what if the therapy involves lavender-scented baths, peppermint flavored tea or a relaxing massage? Will you still fear it? These pleasurable and fragrant treatments are the hallmark of Aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is a system of caring for the body with the use of botanical or essential oils. The oils may be added to a bath, massaged into the skin, inhaled or diffused to scent a room. It is in existence for thousands of years and used in a variety of ways; alleviating pain, caring for the skin, relieving tensed muscles, lessening fatigue and invigorating the body with a sense of well-being.
Essential oils work on the body on different levels but the most common and obvious one is through stimulating the sense of smell. Studies have shown that odors do have a significant impact on emotional states. Furthermore, individual scents affect different parts of the brain. Smelling lavender affects the front part of the brain, commonly associated with relaxation; jasmine has affects the back part which is link to a more alert state. Since we can smell different types of scents, the therapeutic potential of aromatherapy seems boundless.
Scent is not the only way that essential oils can work on the body. Essential oils are made up of small molecules that enable them to penetrate the skin into the blood stream, making them ideal for topical application. Essential oils are a popular ingredient in skin products and cosmetics and also use to treat an assortment of skin problems.
Essential oils are also utilized in aromatherapy massages. The oils are added to almond, olive, or sesame oil and enhance the benefit of the massage. It relieves stress, improves circulation and provides a sense of well-being.
However, not all oils are created equal. Some oils are too expensive and others can only applied by trained aroma therapist. These oils may cause skin irritations or allergies if handled incorrectly. The following are six essential oils that can be safely employed by home users.
- Citrus oils- Works well in a diffuser. Creates a bright uplifting atmosphere that dispels somber mood. Examples are lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit.
- Floral oils- may be added to unscented lotions and bath oils; can be mixed with traditional oils for a more soothing massage. Best for stress relief. Examples are rose, jasmine and geranium.
- Lavender- Is added to bath oils for a relaxing soak. Can be applied to treat cuts, bruises and insect bites.
- Peppermint- This is a great mental stimulant. Add a drop to an unscented facial lotion and apply the lotion under the nose or behind the ears. Mix a drop with a teaspoonful of honey and add to a cup of herbal tea to ease, intestinal discomfort.
- Rosemary- works well in an aroma lamp or diffuser. Provides an invigorating feeling.
- Tea tree- Apply a drop directly to the skin to speed healing of cuts and pimples. Has antiseptic properties and very gentle to the skin.
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