What Is Aromatherapy and How Does It Help?
What Is Aroma Therapy?
Aromatherapy might be something you have heard or come to know about for the first time but actually this practice has been practiced by people of different cultures for thousands of years. Back in 3500 BC essence of plants were valued very much owing to their amazing therapeutic qualities and used for promoting well being and health. These aromatic oils that are highly concentrated are extracted naturally from stem, petals, twigs, roots, leaves, fruits or grasses. Aromatherapy brings out emotional responses, soothes nerves, creates a positive mood state and generates a sense of euphoria.
Many times when you start to feel that you've overdone or your mental health didn't seem to be right. This is the time you need to take a break, rejuvenate your body and de-stress yourself. Aromatherapy can be of help as it helps in relaxation of mind and rejuvenation of the body. In aromatherapy it's not only the pleasant smell of the different oils but the therapeutic value of these essential oils that are inhaled through smell, and used to put them on the body and massage. These two methods, i.e. absorption and inhalation are the two ways that these essential oils affect our brains in positive ways. When these oils are inhaled and they reach our brain they have an effect on our memories, emotions and stimulation. On the other hand when they are used in massage, oils get absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and reach the brain.
There are various benefits of Aromatherapy
- Relieves anxiety and stress - Meditation and mindfulness are now being adapted by people a lot as a way of life and aromatherapy helps in giving you a peaceful environment where you can rest and breathe in peace. Stress can be relieved and the tired mind can be rejuvenated with the help of aromatherapy as it relaxes the mind, calms down the nervous system and helps in lowering blood pressure.
- Improves sleep quality - Not only the hours you sleep but the quality of sleep also matters a lot. Essential oils used in aromatherapy help in giving you restful sleep at night. Here lavender oil can be used that possess therapeutic qualities of inducing deep sleep and relaxes the mind.
- Fatigue and exhaustion - Unique chemical properties of the essential provide numerous health benefits. Certain essential oils give you a sense of relaxation and fight fatigue as well. Aromatherapy rejuvenates and revitalizes the body and mind and relaxes muscles.
- Muscle pain relaxation - Aromatherapy can help in relieving the different kinds of pain from mild to moderate severity like headache, stomach ache, pain in lower back and knee pain. To relieve the muscle pain you can yourself do a gentle massage by a blend of oils.
Now you must be wondering about the essential oils which are used in aromatherapy. There are numerous essential oils in the market with different fragrances, aroma and chemical composition having a wide variety of health benefits.
Let's get to know about some of the most commonly used essential oils
- Lavender oil - This scent is the most common essential oil which is used in aromatherapy and has amazing therapeutic effects on the body.
- Tea tree oil - Antibacterial property of this oil is probably the most popular one. It can be used to relieve and soothe irritated and painful skin owing to its anti-inflammatory property. Tea tree oil is also used to eliminate head lice, heal wounds and treat dandruff.
- Peppermint oil - As the name suggests this oil is extracted from peppermint plants. Other than freshening up your breath it also boosts your concentration, wakes up your brain and increases alertness.
As in the starting I mentioned that aromatherapy is a new trend but it isn't new and has been used throughout the world in Indian as well as other cultures since ages. Ayurvedic literature and Indian history suggests that flowers and leaves were used by men and women since ancient times not only as an ornament but also for aromatherapy. As per Ayurveda, healing is done in three modes, Daiva vyapasraya, Satvavajaya and Yukti Vyapasraya. We all have seen that when we enter a temple there is an aroma of flowers, diyas, incense sticks and Prasad that has a very healing aroma. These things suggest that aromatherapy comes under Daiva vyapasraya, i.e. healing from the divine power. In aromatherapy there is not only inhalation of the scents but also the application of herbal paste made from grounded dried herbs on the wound area like rose and sandalwood paste. The Unani system of medicine also has shown the use of strong aromatic herbs that have healing properties and this was very popular among royals in ancient times.
Other than Ayurveda and Unani system of medicine you can also see use of Aromatherapy in Chinese cultural medicine where essential oils and scents are used for the treatment of different ailments. However it is a bit different from the ways which other parts of the world use it. In Chinese traditional medicine the aromatherapy is used to enhance vitality and increase life force.
In western world, Aromatherapy is used by essential oils diffusion with the help of electric diffusers which is used to treat various lifestyle problems like fatigue and stress. People have now started using Aromatherapy to calm themselves down after a long day of work. Aromatherapy is also being used in western world in massage parlors.
Hence, Aromatherapy is nowadays being used not only in one country but throughout the globe in different ways for different healing purposes. Every time to gain benefits of Aromatherapy it is not necessary to go to a specialist or therapist but you can enjoy it at home as well while reading a book, listening to relaxing music, doing meditation or yoga. Aromatherapy will enhance your benefits and experience of the activity and help in improving the overall well being and also enhances the quality of life.