Aromatherapy has been a part of human history for centuries past. It dates back to the Egyptian times when essential oils where extracted from plants by soaking them for a while and then filtering out the oils through a linen bag. Some records have it that the procedure now known as aromatherapy was used by Hippocrates and other historic Egyptian physicians. But it did not become general knowledge until late in the 1920s when the French scientist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse first used the procedure in treating the wounded of World War I. The term 'Aromatherapy' was coined by this scientist. After continuous researching, he discovered that certain essential oils have different healing properties. He went ahead to classify these plant essential oils into groups like antiseptic, stimulating, calming, antitoxic, etc based on their healing properties.
However, aromatherapy has come along way from that starting point. Interest has been increasing in this area of holistic healing with many users claiming that aromatherapy encourages stress relief and self-healing. One, therefore wonders, how does aromatherapy works and how far can it realistically go with self-healing and emotional/mental uplifting.
Basically, with aromatherapy, aroma-rich oils are extracted from specific plants. These oils are mixed with other materials like alcohol, oils, lotions etc to give the desired effects on the body. These formulated oils are then applied to the body by either massaging them into the skin, inhaling though air disbursement or pouring into bath water for a soothing and calming effect on the body.
When massaged to the skin, it is believed that the oils are absorbed into the body through the pores on the skin and then directly into the blood stream. The oils are believed to be lipophilic in nature, making it easy to gain entrance into body cells to exert their healing effects. Oils in the bath water seem to follow this pattern too, except that the effect of the oil water mixture tend to add an extra soothing and relaxing feeling to the body. This would be understood better if you think about what a cool shower does to a tired body on a hot afternoon.
When inhaled, the aroma of the oils is believed to activate cells in the nose, sending sensory signals to the limbic system of the brain. This is the part of the brain that takes care of higher sensory functions like emotion, thinking and intelligence.
This would give you a clue into how aromatherapy works. It is believed by practitioners that it can be used emotionally to invigorate, calm and relieve stress and physically to help treat or alleviate certain conditions by stimulating the body's immune system, the nervous system or the circulatory system.
Although, not much scientific evidence is available to support the claims, aromatherapy practitioners believe that aromatherapy can be applied to a wide array of therapeutic treatments including physical and mental conditions, burns, infections, depression, sleep deprivation and high blood pressure.
The best advice is that, aromatherapy should be seen as an adjunct to the normal body healing system. It should be used to complement the body's immune function, but not as a replacement for professional medical attention especially in people with evident signs and symptoms of a medical condition. Aromatherapy could be well effective in uplifting moods, relieving stress and perhaps invigorating the mind, but the therapeutic powers of these plant oils should probably not be over stretched beyond these limits.
Artice Source: http://www.articlesphere.com
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