The earliest account of aromatherapy dates back about 4,000 years ago in Ancient China during the reign of Emperor Shen Nung, who documented his finding that tea tree oil could be used for oral hygiene and skincare. The brief history of aromatherapy tells that it has been quite in use ever since the oils were discovered.
In Ancient Egypt, around 1,000 BC., oils were massaged into the skin to treat aches and pains, while various oils were also infused in steam baths to cure respiratory and other ailments.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for medicinal purposes. Essential oils are natural oils that are derived from plants due to their scent.
In order to be called 'essential,' the oils must approximate 100% pure oil, with no fillers.
The art of aromatherapy uses essential oils from plants for different physical and psychological problems. The use of these oils helps bring a balance within the body through smelling the plant's scent.
Moreover, according to the brief history of aromatherapy, it has helped with multiple health especially respiratory problems and is still one of the best remedies by far.
Where did aromatherapy originate?
Aromatherapy originated from many different civilizations, including Ancient Greece, India, China, and Egypt. Around 1,000 B.C., the Egyptians documented their use of oils to enhance skin beauty as well as for aromatherapy purposes.
Aromatherapy also began in ancient Greece, where it was used during childbirth and other medical procedures.
What are some benefits of aromatherapy?
There are a number of benefits of aromatherapy, including stress relief, pain relief, enhanced mood and behavior, promoting body function, and improved skin health.
It can also be used as a stimulant or sedative, depending on the type of essential oils that are being used.
Modern-day aromatherapists use the scents of essential oils for mental and emotional well-being. The smells promote relaxation and a feeling of calmness, while some scents can also improve mood and energy levels.
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What are the different types of essential oils?
There are many different types of essential oils, including eucalyptus, lavender, chamomile, clary sage, peppermint, rosemary, jasmine.
Eucalyptus oil is great for respiratory problems such as coughs and colds, while lavender oil can help treat insomnia. Chamomile oil is great for skin irritations, and chamomile tea can also be used to relax the mind before sleeping at night.
Among other benefits of aromatherapy, Rosemary oil benefits the circulatory system, while peppermint oil helps treat headaches and improve mental clarity.
What are some common methods of aromatherapy?
To begin, you need to know which oils will benefit you most using the method that best suits your lifestyle. You can use aromatherapy by inhaling or applying the oils to your skin.
Other methods include aromatherapy lamps, using an essential oil diffuser, using a vaporizer, and using lotions and creams with the oils inside them.
With inhalation, you light an aromatherapy candle or use an aromatherapy spray in order for the scent of the oils to be released in the air.
There are a number of different essential oil diffusers available, including those that plug into your wall as well as those that you use with batteries. You simply add water with a few drops of oil to one of those diffusers, and it will slowly diffuse the scent throughout the room.
Today's aromatherapy uses essential oils in several different ways, depending on which area is being targeted for relief. The four main methods are topical application, oral ingestion, inhalation, and external application.
Methods include: applying diluted oils topically to the skin or scalp; taking orally ingested drops or capsules of essential oils; inhaling the scents of essential oils from the air, diffusers, or hot water; and adding them to bathwater.
Another common method of aromatherapy is a vaporizer. Aromatherapy works great with those during the winter or those suffering from colds, as you can add the oil to the water inside the vaporizer and let it diffuse naturally.
Some people also use aromatherapy lamps which are great for those that have trouble sleeping, as you place a few drops of lavender oil on a cotton ball and let it sit inside the lamp overnight.
Modern day uses for aromatherapy
Since there are unlimited benefits of aromatherapy so during the past few decades, it is now more popular than ever.
People are beginning to realize that essential oils can help them achieve a healthier lifestyle through natural means. Aromatherapy has become widely implemented in spas, massage parlors, and dermatology offices throughout North America and Europe.
Today's most common ailments can be treated with aromatherapy. The practice is generally considered a complementary and alternative approach, but it may also be used in conjunction with conventional medical treatments.
Modern-day uses are usually divided into four main areas of application:
- Effects on the mind or mood
- Effects on the body
- Use as skin applications
- Use in the form of inhalation
The action of essential oils
Essential oils are also used in aromatherapy to help with digestion, weight loss, cellulite, and fluid retention and to maintain skin. The oils can also be used in massage therapy, baths, inhalation therapy, and compresses.
Another way essential oils and aromatherapy can benefit you is by helping reduce stress and alleviate depression. For centuries, aromatic plants were burned for their medicinal properties. Now scents are inhaled through vaporizers, aromatherapy candles, and diffusers to help relieve tension.
Aromatherapy is also used in the treatment of respiratory problems such as colds, sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis. Essential oils are used for inhalation to treat these problems. Breathing in the vapors stimulates different nerve endings in the nasal passages that are connected to the brain.
The main aromatic compounds included in essential oils can affect three different body systems:
- The central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord
- The peripheral nervous system (PNS)
- The immune system
When inhaled, some of these therapeutic compounds enter into contact with olfactory neurons, which stimulate the olfactory bulb in the CNS.
Oils can also be applied topically as a carrier oil or as a massage cream. In addition to affecting the CNS, absorption through the skin is effective for treating body problems such as muscle and joint pain.
Inhalation, whether done from an aromatherapy candle or a nebulizer, is the fastest method of getting aromatherapy chemicals into contact with the olfactory neurons. Inhalation allows essential oils to exert a powerful effect on cells that line the respiratory tract and sinuses. These effects can reduce congestion and help fight off infection.