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Aromatherapy is a very popular method of alternative therapy.  It is the use of volatile plant oils (essential oils) for psychological and physical wellbeing.  Essential oils are liquids that are distilled from the stem, leaf, root, flower or other parts of a plant that offer therapeutic benefits whether inhaled or applied to the skin.  They are highly concentrated, so a little will go a long way. Essential oils should never be used directly on the skin without being diluted with carrier oil, as they will travel directly to the blood stream. Essential oils are not the same as perfumes or fragrant oils, they are from a plant, where as perfume is artificially created fragrances that offer no therapeutic benefits.  Aromatherapy is not a cure for ailments but it will help with symptoms- such as relieving one of nausea, relieving stress, enhancing moods, or calming fears.  Aromatherapy should not be expected to replace modern medicine but rather to compliment it.  

 

Aromatherapy is an ancient healing practice.  The earliest recorded history begins with the ancient Chinese and Egyptian.  The Chinese primarily used aromatic plants for well being by burning incense to create harmony and balance.   While the Egyptians really used aromatherapy and essential oils in their daily life for spiritual, medicinal, fragrant and cosmetic uses. It is believed the Egyptians were the first to use the term perfume.

Over the centuries the methods of essential extraction as well as the study of aromatherapy has evolved. 

 

Aromatherapy is often used in the spa to deepen relaxation or to increase the overall benefits of the treatment.  Spa therapists may use oils to create a soothing, peaceful environment that will physically relax and calm you. But they may also use oil that will aid in the treatment of a physical condition.  Many skin care products contain essential oils because several oils aid in cellular turnover, are antiseptic, or antibacterial, or may calm and sooth the skin. Thus certain oils help treat certain skin conditions.

 

Some examples  of essential oil uses are:

 

Geranium oil: aids cellular renewal so it is often used in something for a mature skin

 

Lemon oil:  antiseptic and antibacterial thus it is wonderful in treating acne, also stimulating to the mind when inhaled.

 

Chamomile and lavender oil: are soothing and healing, thus great for a sensitive skin, but also ease tension and relieve stress when inhaled.

 

Rosemary oil: Stimulates cellular renewal, soothes aching muscles, relieves stress, fatigue, mild depression, and increases alertness.   

 

Aromatherapy is very interesting and exciting.  There are oils that stimulate, relax, calm, soothe or heal.  The study of aromatherapy is so much more than pretty smelling plants.  It is a healing adventure for the mind, body and soul. 

 

 

Stephanie Keenan

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