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What Is Aromatherapy And How Does It Work?

Jun 6, 2008
Aromatherapy has been around for in the region of 6000 years and it is an alternative kind of medication which uses essential oils. It is described as a form of holistic therapy and takes into account your emotional, mental and spiritual factors as well as your physical symptoms as these are all known to greatly influence your general health.

The three main ways in which the essential oils used during an aromatherapy session enter your body are as follows:-

* Via your skin
* Through your sense of smell
* Through your lungs

Via Your Skin

The most common use of essential oils during aromatherapy is massage. The massage oil is made up of a few drops of the essential oil mixed with a base or carrier oil. When this is massaged onto your body the oils are absorbed into your skin. The application of heat will speed up the rate at which the oils are taken into your body, so quite often towels or blankets are used in the treatment.

As soon as the essential oils are in the skin, they then work their way through the tissues and into your bloodstream and your organs.

A quick and simple test to see how easily essential oils are taken into your body is to cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the wet part into the sole of your foot. Usually within fifteen to twenty minutes you will be able to smell garlic on your breath.

Through your Sense of Smell (Olfaction)

Embedded deep within your nasal passages are the nerve endings known as chemo receptors. Fragrances within the air are inhaled and once they hit the fluid lining in your nasal passages, they dissolve. This then lets the chemo receptors pick them up and send "chemical messages" direct to your brain.

Such chemical messages arrive first at the frontal lobe of the brain where the smell is examined, and then on to the limbic and autonomous nervous system. This is the area where physical and emotional reactions to fragrance are formed. For example, you may experience feelings of calm, sleepiness or the desire to sneeze. You could have an emotional response by being reminded by something in your past.

Some essential oils have the powerful ability to change your mood altogether which is a useful aid when suffering with stress or depression.

Through Your Lungs

The fastest way to allow essential oils into your bloodstream is by inhaling them directly into your lungs. This is due to the fact that the lungs are super efficient at taking in oxygen and vaporized essential oils. After all, your breathing system has been designed as a means of getting oxygen into your bloodstream so when you inhale the scent of essential oils, they will also be transported rapidly into your blood.

Some of the Benefits of Essential Oils.

Modern day aromatherapy originated in France and it is clearly in evidence that this practice of mainstream medication controls infections due to the strong antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral properties within essential oils.

Although all essential oils are antiseptic to one degree or another, some of the more powerful are cinnamon, clove, lavender, manuka, oregano, tea tree and thyme.

The ancient Egyptians used essential oils in skin care regimes as far back as 5000 years ago when they were first discovering cosmetology.

A study carried out in Japan showed that lemon, vaporized in a room, reduced typing errors by a massive 54% and this shows why lemon is known for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties throughout office buildings where many people are passing through each day.

Although there are several benefits of essential oils, one which regularly gets forgotten about is the sheer pleasure of using them. Even if you are not a qualified aromatherapist, you can still have loads of fun, discovering which are your favorite fragrances, by simply putting a few drops in your bathwater and enjoying the feeling of well being.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of My-Personal-Growth.com, a site that provides information and articles for self improvement and personal growth and development.
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