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Aroma therapy is a therapy which uses  natural oils  also known as essential oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant or tree to improve psychological and physical well-being..

Researchers  believe “smell” receptors in your nose communicates with parts of your brain . So when you breathe in essential oil molecules, it is believed that they stimulate  parts of your brain and enhance physical and mental health. Some researchers believe that some molecules from essential oils may interact  with hormones or enzymes in bloodstream. Aromatherapy massage is a popular way of using essential oils .

When Aroma Therapy can be used?

In general, it seems to relieve pain, improve mood, and promote a sense of relaxation. Massage therapy with essential oils (combined with medications or therapy) may benefit people with depression. Some essential oils have  antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. As citrus oils may strengthen the immune system and that peppermint oil may help with digestion.

Methods of use of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy Massage: One of the most widely used method for fetching aromatherapy benefits is massage. Blending carrier lotions (almond oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, refined coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil etc. depending on which essential oil you use )  with drops of essential oils. Lavender is a known for  relaxing senses . During massage, apart from influencing senses some oils are also absorbed into the skin and ultimately to the blood stream to produce healing effects.

Applying Lotions , Oil or Creams :Blend a few drops of essential oil to your favorite carrier lotion, massage oil or cream (cocoa butter, almond oil etc) depending upon which essential oil you are using for fetching benefits of aromatherapy to  stimulate  senses.

Aromatherapy Vapor Inhalation  : Vapor Inhalation is one of the popular methods .In this method few drops(less than or equal to five drops) of essential oils are added to steaming water and inhale the aroma using towel tent .

Compress: Blend few drops of required essential oil to  a bowl of warm water. Dip a  cotton washcloth into the bowl and wring out. Use the washcloth as a compress, and apply it to the  affected areas of the body that need pain relief, such as muscles, forehead or stomach.

Baths: Adding a few drops of essential oils  to the bathwater can also fetch you benefits of aromatherapy .The aroma will arouse  your  senses, and help you maintain physical and mental well being .

Aromatherapy : Safety and precautions .

Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that can be harmful if not used carefully.

These safety guidelines are not a complete safety reference for the proper use of essential oils. When in doubt, consult your physician and/or a qualified and trained aromatherapy practitioner.

  • Essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. Add water or a base massage oil (such as almond or sesame oil) to the essential oil before applying it to your skin. Avoid using near your eyes. However there  are instances when experienced aromatherapy  practitioners make exceptions to this precaution but under proper supervision.
  • Do a skin patch test on small area of skin when using a new oil for first time . As some oils can cause  allergic reactions to some individuals.
  • Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy or by those with asthma, epilepsy or with other health conditions. Rarely,aromatherapy can induce side effects, such as rash, headache, liver     and nerve damage, as well as harm to a fetus. Hyssop oil should be avoided by people with a history of seizures and pregnant women .Stimulating essential oils such as rosemary and spike lavender should be avoided by people suffering from high blood pressure .Essential oils with estrogen-like compounds such as fennel, aniseed, sage, and clary-sage should be avoided by people suffering from estrogen-dependent tumors (such as breast or ovarian cancer).People receiving chemotherapy should talk to their doctor before trying aromatherapy.
  • Use smallest  amount required .
  • Some  essential oils should be strictly used under supervision of Qualified aromatherapy practitioners, if ever at all.As essential oils like wintergreen,  wormood, rue, bitter almond ,pennyroyal ,onion, camphor, horseradish and sassafras are some of those essential oils.
  • Essential oils should not be taken internally. Essential oils should only be taken internally after receiving a detailed consultation and prescription from a trained and qualified aromatherapy practitioner.
  • Keep essential oils  away form children and fire . As essential oils are flammable and can be fatal if used undiluted and without proper supervision . Oils that are high in phenols, such as cinnamon, can irritate the skin and have other harmful effects also .
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