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What is Aromatherapy?

What is Aromatherapy?
The alternative medicine system of aromatherapy has been gaining acceptance and popularity of late. There are also many naysayers who refuse to believe it is effective. But scientific research is beginning to throw up evidence that aromatherapy can indeed make you feel good, though it may not be a physical cure. Read on to know more about aromatherapy and how it can improve your mood and mental wellbeing.

Essence of Aromatherapy
This therapy uses essential oils that are inhaled or massaged into the skin. These oils stimulate the region in the brain that controls the olfactory system and release chemicals which have a calming and relaxing effect. Massage with the essential oils enhances the relaxation of body and mind. These oils can also destroy fungi and microbes infecting the skin when applied topically. Aromatherapy is popular in Western Europe for its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antiseptic effects.

Benefits of Aromatherapy
It can provide relief from the following conditions:

  • Depression
  • Menopausal problems
  • Menstrual problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Circulation problems
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

Common Aromatherapy Products

  • Basil: Relieves migraines, headaches and depression. But pregnant women should avoid it.
  • Bergamot: Benefits the digestive tract and urinary tract
  • Black pepper: Treats bruises, pains and muscle aches
  • Citronella oil: Used to repel insects
  • Clove oil: Relieves toothache and treats dental problems
  • Eucalyptus: Can treat flu and cold symptoms
  • Geranium oil: Known for its diuretic and antiseptic properties
  • Jasmin: Has aphrodisiac powers
  • Lavender oil: Can treat minor burns and cuts. Used as a relaxation agent and to cure insomnia
  • Lemon oil: Gets rid of the blues caused by depression and stress by lifting the mood
  • Sandalwood: Can boost the libido
  • Tea tree oil: Known for its disinfectant, antiseptic and antimicrobial powers. It is a common ingredient in mouth rinses
  • Thyme oil: Helps to relieve stress, nervousness and fatigue
  • Yarrow oil: Reduces joint inflammation and treats influenza and cold symptoms

Possible Risks of Aromatherapy
You can avoid risk by following the instructions on the product package carefully. Be careful while handling concentrated products as they need to be diluted first. Persons suffering from the following conditions need to be extra cautious about this therapy:

  • Allergy
  • Hay fever
  • Asthma
  • Skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema
  • Epilepsy
  • High blood pressure
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Breastfeeding or pregnant women

Some possible side effects include mild allergic reactions, headache or nausea. Citrus-based essential oils can make your skin sensitive and vulnerable to sunburn. Some oils can interfere with the effect of traditional medicines, so be sure to get the green signal from your doctor before you try aromatherapy.

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