Aromatherapy is a therapeutic treatment focused on the use of natural or essential oils that are extracted from plants, flowers, herbs or trees. It aims to improve health and well-being in general.
It is very effective in relieving some physical ailments or diseases and, in turn, to lift the mood and balance our emotions. Learn about the main benefits of aromatherapy.
Characteristics of aromatherapy
This alternative therapy that uses different aromas and oils that are inhaled, ingested or added to the bath water, promotes physical and psychological well-being . Aromatherapy can be used along with other techniques for a more holistic approach to any treatment or to “help” modern medicine.
While aromatherapy has “become fashionable” in the West for some time, the truth is that it is not a practice at all new in the East. It was already used in the year 4500 BC in China . It is also said that the ancient Egyptians used essential oils for embalming and for therapeutic purposes.
The “medical” aromatherapy, studied from the point of view of the chemistry or pharmacology of essential oils is quite recent but with many followers around the world. And even in the United Kingdom or France it has been incorporated into the “official” medicine book.
The oils can be applied in different ways , they are:
- By inhalation: it is the basic method, it can be direct or not (mixing with water, for example). Diffusers or steam can also be used. It is used for problems in the respiratory system or some skin conditions.
- By massage: they are diluted in some lotion or water and the massage is performed energetically or softly, depending on the ailment. Ideal for contractures.
- As aromatic baths: the tub of hot water is filled and some drops of oils are thrown. Then it alternates with warm water. For circulation and relaxation.
- As poultices (hot or cold) : for skin conditions or muscle problems.
- Internal use: only indicated in some cases and with certain oils. It should not be consumed without a professional’s endorsement.
Essential oils and aromatherapy: what is it for?
The following list offers you the main oils that are used in aromatherapy techniques and what are their healing properties:
- Bergamot: it is stimulating, revitalizing, energetic and refreshing. It is used to relieve stress, depression and
- Cypress: sedative, invigorating and purifying. It calms the nervous system, reduces the symptoms of menopause , stress and allergies.
- Geranium: balancing and stimulating. Relieves the symptoms of menstruation, depression and anguish. Raises the spirit and calms the nervous system.
- Ginger: promotes circulation, is relaxing, helps to prevent dizziness and nausea, relieves digestive problems, improves circulation and stimulates the immune system , in addition to treating flu and colds.
- Grapefruit : it is stimulating, emotional balancing and purifying. It allows to regulate emotions such as anger, relieve stress and combat respiratory problems such as the cold.
- Lavender: it is purifying, balancing, sedative and relaxing. Relieves headaches from tension or stress, regulates high blood pressure, is sedative for women in labor and relieves burns and insect bites.
- Lemon: stimulating, refreshing and purifying. Relieves stress, reduces mental fatigue, improves blood circulation.
- Mint: antiseptic, decongestant and digestive. It is effective in treating the flu, relaxes and calms the muscles of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract, as well as nervous disorders.
- Sandalwood: it is decongestant, aphrodisiac, relaxing and purifying. Relieves emotional problems, calms the nervous system, balances the mind, the spirit and the body, prepares for meditation.
- Romero: it ‘s stimulating. Relieves rheumatic and muscular pain, helps those suffering from low blood pressure. It also increases the circulation of blood to the brain.
- Ylang Ylang: aphrodisiac, invigorating, purifying, euphoric and soothing. It is effective for problems of the reproductive system (especially male), calms anxiety, regulates the pulse, relieves depression and prevents panic attacks.
How is an aromatherapy session
Before attending a session of this technique you should know that it is not a “simple massage” . During the whole process you just have to concentrate on your feelings at that moment, in the sensations that the oils and aromas produce, in the massages, in the heat of the room, etc.
Reserve a time for yourself once it’s over and do not run out to the office because it will not have good results.
First a specialist is responsible for making an analysis on the health status of each patient. Ask about physical problems, diseases or illnesses and based on that, direct the session using the specific oils.
It is likely that five different oils are placed during the session, which can last approximately one hour (there are from 30 minutes to one and a half hours, depending on the parts of the body being treated). Surely you should return to a new appointment so that the results are more lasting or the problem really disappears.
Images courtesy of Tara Angkor Hotel, Naomi King, Honou, Matt Reinbold, Neeta Lind and Matt @ PEK.