Aromatherapy is essentially defined as “the practice of making use of oils obtained from flowers, barks, stems, leaves, and other parts of plants/trees to improve the psychological and physical well being of an individual”. Now, aromatherapy over the years has gradually gained in popularity, and has been used quite regularly as a form of “alternative medicine”. In this form of medicine, the “aromatherapist” basically prescribes the use of a mixture of therapeutic oils either topically, via inhalation, or by mixing in water, to improve the physical and psychological health of an individual. So here is presenting five essential facts about “aromatherapy” that one needs to understand.
1. “Aromatherapy”, and its origin:
In the field of “Alternative Medicine” a number of essential oils were blended together in order to enhance the physical and psychological state of a human being, which is what was eventually referred to as “aromatherapy”. According to certain historical evidence, this form of medicine is said to have originated from the ancient Chinese, Indian, Egyptians, Greeks, and Roman civilizations. Apparently, the use of essential oils (aromatherapy) was first recommended by a group of European scientists and doctors in the beginning of the 19th century. Furthermore, the word “aromatherapy” was for the first time publicly mentioned in a French book titled “Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales” written by a chemist named René-Maurice Gattefossé. In addition, the English version of the book was published in the year 1993. The use of aromatherapy in public was officially first undertaken during the Second World War by French surgeon Jean Valnet. He basically used essential oils as a form of an antiseptic in treating wounds suffered by the soldiers.
2. The Theory behind Aromatherapy :
Now, this therapy when used comprises of two basic mechanisms or mode of actions. They are as follows:
a. Influence on the brain:
In this mechanism, the aroma of the essential oil used stimulates the brain via the olfactory system i.e. sense of smell in the body.
b. Pharmaocological effects :
In case of this mechanism, the essential oil directly exerts its pharmacological effects on the body of the individual using it.
- The Modes of Application used in Aromatherapy :
Aromatherapy when used can be applied using three different techniques. They are as follows:
a. Aerial diffusion:
This technique is basically used for “aerial disinfection” in aromatherapy.
b. Direct inhalation:
This technique is only used in aromatherapy when “respiratory disinfection” is required. In other words, this oil mainly “inhaled”, may also be used as either a decongestant or an expectorant.
c. Topical applications:
This technique is used in aromatherapy only during “massages or baths”. Furthermore, it is mainly applied in the treatment of skin.
- The “Beneficial effects” related to the use of “Aromatherapy”:
“Aromatherapy” when used is supposed to exert a number of beneficial effects on the health of the individual using it. This is simply due to the fact that most of the essential oils used in therapy comprise of medicinal properties. These properties include antidepressive, antiseptic, antispasmodic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and in the case of some oils even anti-cancerous. It must be said though, that there exist no medical evidence to suggest that the oils used in “aromatherapy” possess such powerful curative properties. However, the use of this therapy could lead to an all round improvement in the general health of an individual.