What is aromatherapy?
Let's start off with just what is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is a holistic method using natural plant extracts to support healing as well as overall well-being. In recent years aromatherapy has gained popularity as well as recognition in the fields of science and medicine for its positive effects.
How long has aromatherapy been around?
Humans have used aromatherapy in one form or another for thousands of years. Ancient cultures from China, India, Egypt, to Indo-Europeans have utilized plants in the form of oils, balms, and resins. Essential oils have been used for religious ceremonies as well as for medical purposes for literally thousands of years. It was believed that essential oils have both psychological and physical benefits. It wasn't until the late 1900th century, however, that the French saw the potential of essential oils for treating various diseases. The term "aromatherapy" itself came from the French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gatterfosse, who wrote about the subject in a book he published in the late 1930s.
Aromatherapy has many benefits. Essential oils are commonly used to:
- manage pain
- improve sleep quality
- reduce stress, agitation, and anxiety
- soothe sore joints
- treat headaches and migraines
- alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy
- ease discomforts of labor
- fight bacteria, virus, or fungus
- improve digestion
- improve hospice and palliative care
- boost immunity
Possible Side effects
- Before beginning any therapy using essential oils, it's vital to speak with your primary care physician. This is good advice for any treatment regardless of whether its aromatherapy or not. Most essential oils are generally safe to use. But there are some possible side-effects and precautions that should be taken when using them. There may also be some side effects as well that you need to be aware of, particularly if you take any prescription drugs. It is inadvisable to use some essential oils directly on your skin, always use a carrier oil such as almond or coconut oil. Before using essential oils on your skin, remember to do a skin patch test. Citrus based essential oils are considered photosensitive, which means sunlight will amplify your skin's sensitivities, particularly if they are exposed to sunlight. Woman who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as children, should consult with their doctors before starting any essential oil therapy.
I encourage you to explore using essential oils as a natural alternative for treating a variety of ailments. I have personally benefitted from them. Before beginning, you should always consult with your doctor. Aromatherapy is not meant to replace any treatment your doctor has you on but is intended to be used as a complementary therapy.