Aromatherapy – Wellness

Introduction – Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a treatment in which uses essential oils for healing of body. In this method, the oils are not inhaled but massaged into the skin or taken orally. These oils should not be ingested without advice from a qualified specialist. It is a novel method in treatment of infections, stress and other health problems. However, scientific evidence about the efficacy of the aromatherapy is yet to be proven.

Essential oils:

Essential oils are the extracts taken from the roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms of various plants having healing properties. Some oils are used to help physical healing for conditions such as swelling or fungal infections. Some are used for enhancing relaxation or make a room smell pleasant. Orange blossom oil is one such oil containing an active ingredient that is thought to have calming properties.

Mechanism of action:

Aromatherapy is given in health spas, wellness clinics and hospitals for treatment of lot of conditions.
The mechanism of action is not yet clear. It is believed that the smell or olfactory receptors have an active communication with certain parts of the brain such as the amygdala and hippocampus which are storehouses for various emotions and memories. The essential oils stimulate these parts of the brain and improve physical, emotional, and mental health. The oils are also postulated to interact with hormones and enzymes in the blood after the skin absorbs them. An additional advantage of massaging also helps in comforting the patients.

An aromatherapy session:

  1. Aromatherapists or massage therapists usually provide topical or inhaled aromatherapy. Oral therapy is a field of only trained professionals.
  2. The practitioner asks about the patient’s symptoms and previous medical history as well as favorite scents of the person.
  3. Patient is asked to inhale the oil from a piece of cloth or through other methods like steam inhalations, vaporizers, or sprays. Or else, the practitioner can apply diluted essential oils to skin during a massage.
  4. The practitioner can also tell the procedure to use aromatherapy at home by mixing various essential oils in the bath water.

Benefits:

Aromatherapy is given in health spas, wellness clinics and hospitals for treatment of lot of conditions. Various oils like lavender, rose, orange, bergamot, lemon, sandalwood are used in the therapy. Its benefits are:

  1. Relieves pain.
  2. Improves mood
  3. Helps in relaxation
  4. Relieves stress and anxiety
  5. Reduces depressing thoughts.
  6. Some oils are used by midwives for reducing anxiety and fear of delivery in pregnant women.
  7. Reduces nausea and vomiting during labor.
  8. Reduces need of pain relieving medications during labor.
  9. Some oils reduce blood pressure.
  10. Some oils can boost the immunity.
  11. Some oils have antibacterial and anti fungal properties.
  12. Reduce the symptoms of premenopausal syndrome.

Other conditions for which aromatherapy may be helpful includes:

  1. Constipation
  2. Alopecia or hair loss
  3. Insomnia or lack of sleep
  4. Topical peppermint reduces headache
  5. Cancer and arthritis pain can be reduced.
  6. Severe Itching occurring after dialysis treatment
  7. Psoriasis

People who should exercise caution for undergoing aromatherapy are:

  1. Pregnant women
  2. People with severe asthma
  3. Allergic individuals
  4. Seizure patients
  5. People with high blood pressure
  6. People with estrogen dependent tumors such as breast cancer or ovarian cancer
  7. People receiving chemotherapy

Adverse effects:

  1. Essential oils should not be ingested without supervision of a qualified specialist as some oils are toxic and can cause death if taken orally.
  2. Aromatherapy can cause side effects like rash, asthma, headache, liver damage, nerve damage, as well as toxicity to the growing fetus.
  3. Some oils can irritate skin and eyes. Therefore, they should not be applied near eyes.
  4. Essential oils are very volatile and inflammable so they should never be used near an open flame.
  5. Essential oils can probably interact with some medications. Eucalyptus oil can cause reduction in the efficacy of pentobarbital used for treating seizures and amphetamine used for treating narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

- Links of interest: Twitter Wellness

This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.


 

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