Alternative Medicines (Aromatherapy) 3/3

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aromatherapy
aromatherapy

An evergreen, Sandalwood is easily recognized by its woody fragrance. It is an expensive oil given the length of time it takes for a tree to reach maturity, the best time to extract and distill the essential oil. It has numerous aromatherapy benefits. Extraction and Application: Sandalwood oil is extracted and distilled from the wood chips of a mature tree. Sandalwood oil can be applied several ways: blended with massage oil and lotions, added to a vaporizer, used as incense, even gargled (diluted). Aromatherapy Uses: Sandalwood oil can help mucous membranes of the urinary tract and chest wall. It helps to alleviate chest pain. It is also used as a relaxing agent for tension relief. Many practitioners of yoga use Sandalwood for its calming and sexual properties. It is a hydration aid for the skin, as well as an anti-inflammatory.

If you have but just one essential oil in your possession, it should be Tea Tree oil. Tea Tree oil is one of the most popular and effective essential oils for aromatherapy use. It is widely known to boost the immune system and fight infections. Extraction and Application: Tea Tree stems from the Cypress-like Melaleuca alternifolia tree. It is extracted from the trees leaves and steam distilled. Tea Tree oil can be inhaled (via humidifier or steam inhalation) and/or applied to the skin various different ways. Blend Tea Tree oil with a lotion, oil or cream to massage it into the skin. Add a few drops into your bathwater or apply it directly to your skin (using precaution, of course). Tea Tree oil is also found in shampoos, lotions and mouthwash because its healing properties are so powerful. Aromatherapy Uses: Tea Trees healing properties are abundant. Not only is it a natural immune booster, but it also fights all three kinds of infection. It works to heal skin conditions, burns and cuts, and also works as an insecticide. In addition, it helps to soothe and treat cold sores, respiratory conditions, muscle aches, the flu, Athletes foot and dandruff. Its uses are vast and its healing power is quick.  Caution: Tea Tree oil is not toxic, but avoid using it internally or around the eyes and nose. It is also not recommended for serious cuts.

Ylang-Ylang is recognizable because of its strong fragrance. Its sweet aroma is excellent for reducing stress and as an aphrodisiac. Extraction and Application: Ylang-Ylang is extracted from the flowers of a tropical tree and steam-distilled. Much like other essential oils, Ylang-Ylang can be used in a vaporizer or blended with other lotions for massage purposes. Add some drops into a bath, especially if youre looking for a little romance. Aromatherapy Uses: While its calming properties are its most powerful, Ylang-Ylang oil is also used to soothe headaches, nausea, skin conditions, stimulate hair growth, reduce high blood pressure and fight intestinal problems. Caution: While it is a non-toxic oil, overuse can lead to headaches.

I would like to end this article series on aromatherapy with their various means of application as each individual oil does work better in some applications over others. The first method is taking a bath in the oil. Adding aromatherapy oils to your bath is an easy way to cash in on their health benefits. Simply add a few drops to the bathwater and blend it before submerging yourself. The aroma will trigger your olfactory sense, which will in turn enhance your circulation and help to bring about physical balance. The second way is using the oils during a massage. This is probably the most popular method of aromatherapy application. Blending drops of essential oil with carrier lotions (almond, cocoa butter, shea butter, etc.) can affect the body both psychologically and physiologically — depending on which essential oil you use. Peppermint is known to energize the senses whereas lavender is a known relaxing agent. The olfactory sense is triggered using essential oils during massage, and some oils are absorbed into the skin and ultimately the blood stream to produce healing effects. A third means of accpliceation (and my personal favorite) is using a diffuser to cause a steaming of the oils that creates somewhat of a vapor.

Since many essential oils are thought to alleviate sinus or respiratory issues, steam inhalation is a very popular application method. A rule of thumb for many essential oils is to add five drops to steaming water and inhale the aroma using a towel tent (place the towel around your head so the aroma doesn’t escape while you inhale it). There are numerous other means of application with these oils including using lotions and creams or even a compress with the oils added to. Overall I feel the best bang for my buck has been using the vaporizing or steaming method with a diffuser before bed overnight. I will set it up and allow it to run all night and it gives me a tremendous effect! Personally, lemon and lavender have given me the best results but that also is because I am using those for their specific purposes. In the end. aromatherapy in any method is very affordable and I encourage all of you to go out, try it for yourself, and see how you feel. Its a very cheap investment that has changed my life on a daily basis.

References

  1. Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva. Toshiko Atsumi, Keiichi Tonosaki. Psychiatry Res. 2007 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17291597)
  2. Evaluating Effects of Aromatherapy Massage on Sleep in Children with Autism: A Pilot Study. Tim I. Williams. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16951722)
  3. Aroma therapy for dementia. L. Thorgrimsen, A. Spector, A. Wiles, M. Orrell. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12917949)
  4. Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy. William N. Setzer. Nat Prod Commun. 2009 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19831048)
  5. A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia. George T. Lewith, Anthony Dean Godfrey, Philip Prescott. J Altern Complement Med. 2005 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16131287)
  6. Evaluating the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing levels of anxiety in palliative care patients: results of a pilot study. Gaye Kyle. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16648093)

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