Definition of Aroma Therapy:

Aromatherapy is an alternate therapy in which aroma is the main ingredient used for the purpose of treatment. This aroma comes from the use of essential oils which  are aromatic essences extracted from plants, flowers, trees, fruits, roots, bark, grasses and seeds with distinctive therapeutic, psychological, and physiological properties, which improve and prevent illness . There are more than 400 essential oils. At a time an essential oils can be used as it is or mixed with other oils.

Most of these oils have antiseptic properties; some are antiviral, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antidepressant and expectorant. Other properties of the essential oils which are taken advantage of in aromatherapy are their stimulation, relaxation, digestion improvement, and diuretic properties. To get the maximum benefit from essential oils, it should be made from natural, pure raw materials. Synthetically made oils should not be preferred as they do not give the required benefits, instead can cause many side effects like skin problems etc.

Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment of caring for the body with pleasant smelling botanical oils such as Rose, Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Ylang-ylang etc. The essential oils can be added to the bath, massaged into the skin, inhaled directly or burnt in a diffuser to spread fragrance into an entire room. In Japan, aroma systems are being incorporated into new buildings. In one such application, the scent of lavender and rosemary is pumped into the customer area to calm down the waiting customers, while the perfumes from lemon and eucalyptus are used in the bank teller counters to keep the staff alert.
Most of the time people are unknowingly practicing aroma therapy in their lives. For example, burning a scented candle or walking through a garden full of sweet smelling flowers, are some of the examples of practicing aromatherapy. In fact, nearly all of the bath and body care products used in the daily routine contain some form of essential oil which is again an example of aroma therapy.

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Aroma Therapy Massage

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Aroma Oils

The Greeks acquired most of their medical knowledge from the Egyptians. The use of olive oil as the base oil to absorb the aroma from the herbs or flowers was done and the perfumed oil was then used for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes. The Romans learned from the Greeks and became well known for scented baths followed by massage with aromatic oils. The popularity of aromatics led to the establishment of trade routes which allowed the Romans to import "exotic" oils and spices from distant lands such as India and Arabia but with the decline of the Roman Empire, the use of aromatics faded and the knowledge of their use was virtually lost in Europe during the dark ages.                
The modern day word "Aromatherapy" was first coined in the 1920s by French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who devoted his life to researching the healing properties of essential oils after an accident in his perfume laboratory. He was fascinated by the benefits of lavender oil in healing his burned hand without leaving any scars. While doing an experiment he accidently set his arm on fire and immediately thrust it into the nearest cold liquid, which happened to be a vat of NOx Ph232 or more commonly known as lavender oil.
During World War II, the French army surgeon Dr. Jean Valnet used essential oils as antiseptics to treat gangrene in wounded soldiers. Later, Madame Marguerite Maury elevated aromatherapy as a holistic therapy. She is also credited
with the modern use of essential oils in massage.

Benefits from Aroma Therapy:

Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing fields in alternative medicine. It is widely used at home, clinics and hospitals for a various requirements. Its use for massage purpose is not a new thing but centuries old. Aroma therapy uses aroma oils in various ways to treat the problem. For example: to treat the premises, aroma oil is used by either burning it in a diffuser or by mixing it with water and sprinkling it in the building with the use of a sprinkler. Similarly these oils are used to treat problems related to the living bodies by either using it for massaging the body, making cold compresses, putting it in bathing water or by inhaling the aroma oils by putting it in the steaming water or directly.
Some of the benefits that one can gain for self or premises from the aroma therapy have been mentioned below. But, these oils should always be used under the guidance of a professional aroma therapist:

Benefits for the Body:

  • It helps in bringing relief for women while in labor pain. For Example: Lavender oil can help with contractions and Nutmeg oil can facilitate delivery.
  • Provides relief from pain caused by the side effects of the chemotherapy undergone by the cancer patients.
  • Helps patients suffering from depression. A good example will be Sandalwood, Tea tree oils.  
  • Oils like Sandalwood, Patchouli are helpful in relaxing the muscles, removing cramps etc.
  • Lavender oil reduces the pain from the burn wounds and helps in non-formation of blisters.
  • Aroma oils help to relieve from headache, migraine, stress etc.
  • They are very effective as an antiseptic.
  • Helps in increasing concentration.
  • Very effective in bringing relief in cases like cold, flu, stuffy nose etc when inhaled or bathed in water containing them.
  • It has been seen that aroma therapy is very effective in treating male impotency, anxiety, insomnia etc.
  • In a study conducted at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reported 63 percent less claustrophobic after getting exposed to the aroma of Vanilla. There was no change in their heart rate.
  • In another study, 122 patients who were in an intensive care unit reported feeling much better when aromatherapy was administered with the oil of Lavender (compared to when they were simply given a massage or allowed to rest.) No changes in the patients who were given aromatherapy were observed in the blood pressure, respiration, or heart rate.
  • Massaging the aroma oil mixed with carrier oil on the skin of a child is very helpful as it not only strengthens the muscles but also relaxes them. Oils like Patchouli, Peppermint can also be used to reduce the nappy rashes.
  • Oils like Rosemary are helpful in treating digestive disorders and also strengthen the memory.
  • Benefits for the Buildings:

By burning the essential oils or spraying them in the building helps in the following ways:

  • Cleansing the negative energies from the buildings.
  • Aroma oils like Rosemary, Camphor, and Frankincense are very helpful for disinfecting houses as well as offices when diffused, sprayed or used in mopping at regular intervals.
  • This therapy is useful for healing buildings and their occupants suffering from Sick Building Syndrome. Oils like Jasmine, Eucalyptus are very helpful in such type of cases.
  • Helps in removal of bad odours and disinfecting the buildings. For example: Lemon grass is the most frequently used essential by the hotels, hospitals etc. to disinfect and remove bad odours from the premises.
  • Aroma therapy is very beneficial in changing the gloomy, depressed and sad environment of a building into a healthy and lively one.

 

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