Aromatherapy and essential oils explained
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy involves more than just sweet-smelling fragrances. Aromatherapy is a non-invasive, natural therapy that uses volatile plant oils, most commonly essential oils. Each essential oil has a unique blend of natural chemicals. The wide range of essential oils used in aromatherapy and their individual blend of chemicals mean they produce various therapeutic effects for emotional and physical wellbeing.
Aromatherapy can work in different ways. A practitioner may prepare an individual blend for the client and, depending on their circumstances, the use of essential oils may be recommended through means of an oil burner, aromatherapy massage, bath or foot bath, or facial steam.
Essential oils must be diluted and should only be used internally on instruction from a qualified practitioner. It is important to remember that essential oils should not be applied directly on the skin as burning may occur.
Common Essential Oils Used in Aromatherapy
If you want stress relief, a natural pick-me-up or way to ease aches and pains, there is an aromatherapy solution for you. Here are five favourite essential oils, all of which have a range of therapeutic properties.
- Eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, making it the perfect winter remedy for congestion, colds and headaches. Eucalyptus oil can be inhaled or massaged with base oil into the scalp. It is also used to treat cuts and burns and offers relief for muscle and rheumatic pains.
- Bergamot oil is used in aromatherapy for its strong anti-depressant and balance properties. Bergamot oil contributes to overall wellbeing by offering stress relief and assisting with fear, anxiety and skin problems, including acne. Use an oil burner to experience the calming and uplifting aroma of bergamot oil.
- Lavender oil is a beneficial essential oil used in aromatherapy. Lavender oil has calming and relaxing properties. Along with this, it can assist with insomnia, a reason why many keep a few sprigs underneath their pillows for a good night’s sleep. Lavender is also beneficial for pregnant women to ease aches and pains, treat skin irritations and balance the emotions.
- Peppermint oil is a natural energy booster and its powerful scent allows it to be an air deodoriser as well. Peppermint oil has the ability to enhance alertness and aid concentration and is also effective for treating cramps, muscular sprains and lower back pain. Peppermint oil has been shown to be effective in IBS (irritable bowel) patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhoea to alleviate the symptoms of pain and bloating and improve the quality of life.
- Ylang ylang oil also has a range of beneficial properties. Ylang ylang is used in aromatherapy to stimulate the circulatory system and balance the nervous system, making it beneficial for stress relief and anxiety. It is also know for its euphoric and aphrodisiac properties.
The belief that scent has the power to transform our emotions and heal our bodies underlines the role aromatherapy can play in contributing naturally to health and wellbeing.
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