Aromatherapy for Wellness of the Mind and Body
Compiled by Ama H. Vanniarachchy
Aromatherapy is a healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to improve your well-being. It is also called essential oil therapy. This is the use of aromatic essential oils for medicinally improving the health of the mind and body. This is great to relax your body as well as the mind.
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, aromatherapy can be defined as using “naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance harmonise and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.”
What does aromatherapy do?
Researchers say that aromatherapy helps to improve your anxiety and stress issues and sleep disorders. This is done by either inhaling the oils or applying them on your skin. You can do this by yourself by applying some oils on your skin after a bath.
What are essential oils?
Now, what are essential oils? Let’s find out.
Essential oils are made out of plant extracts. These plants are specifically herbs that have a strong aroma. Flowers, barks, roots, peels, or leaves are used to make the oil. The cell in a plant that gives the fragrant smell is the essence of the plant. So when this essence is extracted from the plant, it is called the essential oil.
You don’t call all products made out of plants as essential oils as essential oils are not mixed with any chemical or artificial smells. In the process of making these essential oils, it is made sure that the chemistry of the plant is not changed. A large number of plant products are used to make these oils, therefore essential oils are known to be expensive and valuable.
These are some of the best essential oils used for aromatherapy
How does this work?
Researchers say that aromatherapy activates smell receptors in your nose which sends signals through the nervous system to the brain. It is said that these oils may activate certain parts of the brain that play a vital role in human emotions. Also, these may have an impact on the hypothalamus. This part responds to the oil as it created happy and relaxing brain chemicals.
Some experts think that when you put essential oils on your skin, they cause a response in your skin and other parts of your body, like your joints.
How to use them?
You can add these oils into your body lotions, carrier oils and apply them. You can also add them into your shampoos, conditioner, facial toner, liquid soap, toothpaste or mouthwash.
It is also possible to diffuse or spray them indoors, add some into a lighting lamp’s oil or pour them into a bath. You can also mix some with water and heat the water with a candle.
How are they used?
• Bathing salts
• Body oils, creams, lotions
• Aromatic sprinters
• Facial steamers
• Clay masks
Health benefits of aromatherapy
• Reduce stress and anxiety
• Improve sleep quality
• Treat headaches and migraines
• Reduce side effects of chemotherapy
• Fights bacteria and fungus
• Improve digestion
• Boost immunity
may be treated by aromatherapy
How safe is it?
Experts say that aromatherapy is safe although essential oils do have certain mild side effects. You have to be cautious when using these oils as they can irritate your eyes, skin, or nose. If you are prone to allergies consult an expert before using them. You shouldn’t drink them or add them to your food unless a doctor prescribes it.