Aromatherapy is an alternative form of medical practice or healing treatment that uses fragrance and aromas of oils derived from a wide variety of healing plants. Also known as Essential Oil therapy because the extracts contain the “essence” or odor of the plant, its considered a form of naturopathy.
The roots of aromatherapy can be traced back more than 3,500 years before the birth of Christ, to a time when the ancient Chinese and Egyptians first burned incense made from aromatic woods, herbs, and spices in honor of their gods. In ancient India, aromatherapy existed in correlation with Ayurveda. The use of aromatic plants and plant parts for treatment and cure comprised a major section of the Ayurvedic treatments as written in the Rig Veda over 4500 years ago. The natural aromas were thought to be related with spiritual upliftment and cleansing of the soul. It was the Persians who made the most enduring contributions to the knowledge of aromatics and medicine. The term 'aromatherapy' was coined by a French chemist named René-Maurice Gattefossé (1881-1950), who studied the medicinal properties of essential oils for many years while working in his families’ perfumery business.
Aromatherapy works through the sense of smell (Inhalation) and skin absorption (Topical application). Once we inhale the aroma (steam inhalation or simple diffusion), it reaches our brain and produces a nerve impulse to which our body responds positively. This makes it ideal for maintaining a healthy respiratory system. The molecules of the essential oils used in aromatherapy are small enough to allow them to penetrate through the skin. They travel through the skin layers to the blood vessels allowing them to circulate throughout the body. Aromatherapy can also be performed by soaking in an oil-induced bath. Studies have shown that aromatherapy can have both sedative and stimulant effects plus positive effects on the immune system and nervous system.
These are natural oils distilled from specific plants that carry the characteristic odours and chemical components of the plant or other source from which it is extracted. The filtered extract is then either mixed with alcohol or used raw to produce an oil formulation termed as Essential Oils. These oils are often volatile in nature (which means they tend to evaporate easily) and spread their essence across the room.
Carrier oils are the base oil that is used to dilute the essential oil, which is a very important practice before they are applied to the skin for aromatherapy. They are called carrier oils because they carry the essential oil onto the skin.
1. Walnut oil: Contains saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, is rich in minerals like potassium, zinc and manganese and is a great source of anti-oxidants and Vitamin B.
Benefits: Help boost hair growth. Improves skin health. Protects scalps from oxidative stress and help maintain glowing skin.
2. Apricot oil: Contain nutrients like proteins, soluble sugars, fibers and unsaturated fatty acids like oleic and linoleic acid. The oil is rich in plant antioxidants and is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K. It has a huge mineral content including copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and potassium.
Benefits: Has excellent softening and moisturizing properties that aid skin, scalp, and hair to retain their elasticity. Its anti-inflammatory properties provide relief in cases of eczema and dermatitis.
3. Wheatgerm oil: Contains different nutrients like proteins, vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, iron, and calcium.
Benefits: Moisturise or heal dry and cracked skin and prevent scarring. Reduce skin damage and combat aging.
4. Clear Jojoba oil: It is non-toxic, non-comedogenic and non-allergenic and acts as a natural skin conditioner.
Benefits: Control oily skin and eliminate acne. Reduce the effect of sunburns and helps in damage control and skin repair.
5. Golden Jojoba oil: This oil is unique and unlike most other vegetable oils, it closely resembles sebum, a waxy substance produced by our skin glands, so it can act as a natural skin conditioner. It is non-toxic and non-allergic.
Benefits: Relieve itching and dryness in eczema. Control hair loss, control dandruff and relieves scalp psoriasis.
6. Sweet Almond oil: Contains monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and minerals like potassium and zinc. It has a non-greasy lubricant, is medium-light and has quick absorption rate so works well on the face and even on sensitive skin.
Benefits: Get rid of body rashes and treat chapped lips. Help reduce dead skin cells and reduces signs of aging and dark circles.
7. Unrefined Grapeseed oil: Contains beta-carotene, palmitic acid, and linoleic acid and is rich in vitamins D, C, and E. It is non-comedogenic and is easily absorbed into the skin without leaving an oily residue.
Benefits: The natural astringent and antioxidant properties assist in the prevention of free radicals while improving the overall elasticity of the skin. Prevents aging and reduces hair loss.
Pairing Essential Oils to manage symptoms of various health conditions is now getting popular. Especially for those dealing with chronic illnesses and long-term heath issues. Combining oils allows for multiple benefits to be delivered through massage or inhalation at once. Here are a few that are known to help.
|HEALTH CONDITION||ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND||USAGE|
|Alzheimer's & Dementia||Vetiver + Lavender + Rosemary + Ylang Ylang||Massage, Diffusion|
|Arthritis, Osteoarthiritis||Thyme + Cypress + Peppermint + Black Pepper||Massage|
|Back Pain||Black Pepper + Ginger + Juniper Berr + Eucalyptus||Massage|
|Diabetic Neuropathy||Lavender + Geranium + Eucalyptus + Tea Tree||Massage, Diffusion|
|Hypertension||Lavender + Ylang Ylang||Massage, Diffusion|
|Insomnia||Cedarwood + Lavender ( Massage Blend )||Massage|
|Lavender + Frankincense + Cedarwood + (Diffuser Blend)||Diffusion|
|Muscle Spasm||Rosemary + Cypress + Ginger||Massage|
|Parkinson’s, Tremors, Fibromyalgia||Vetiver + Lavender + Rosemary + Frankincense||Massage, Diffusion|
|Rheumatoid, Gout||Rosemary + Juniper Berry + Black Pepper + Ginger||Massage|
|Sciatica||Ginger + Thyme + Lavender + Peppermint||Massage|
|Skin Dryness||Patchouli + Palmarosa||Massage|
|Snoring, Sleep Apnea (Chest Rub)||Lavender + Thyme + Eucalyptus + Peppermint||Massage, Diffusion|
|Spondylitis||Rosemary + Peppermint + Juniper Berry||Massage|
|Stroke & paralysis||Frankincense + Lavender (Blend for Men)||Massage/Diffusion|
Cypress + Juniper Berry (Blend for Men)
|Geranium + Cypress (Blend for Women)||Massage, Diffusion|
|Varicose Veins||Cypress + Rosemary||Massage|
|Water Retention (Oedema)||Juniper Berry||Massage, Diffusion|
Whenever under stress and tiredness aromatherapy, can be used as a treat to heal. But the effects of aromatherapy depend on dosage and should be used correctly under the supervision of a practitioner.
By Sayani Chatterjee
Guest Author and Student of Biotechnology
Aromatherapy: What you need to know, Medical News Today | What Is Aromatherapy? 9 Ways It Benefits Health, Dr. Axe | Aromatherapy Uses and Benefits, Health Line | Essential Oils: Natural Doesn’t Mean Risk-Free, WebMD
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