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Aromatherapy and Its Benefits

Divine Kiss Salt Bath

BATH SALTS WITH ROSE PETALS Image by Ancient Oils via Flickr

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that makes use of the body’s sense of smell to help boost your mood, relieve stress as well as encourage better health. Aromatherapy uses volatile liquid plant materials called essential oils, and other compounds from plants for the purpose of healing.

Various fragrant substances are used during aromatherapy sessions, such as aromatherapy soy candles, and each smell can produce a different result. For example, peppermint and eucalyptus scents are often used to help stimulate the body for people who are feeling sluggish. Lavender and chamomile can have the opposite effect as it helps a person relax.  Lemon and rosemary are effective at revitalizing a tired body.

Our sense of smell is very powerful. In fact, the body can distinguish around 10,000 different scents!  As a scent is inhaled, the smell travels across the olfactory nerves located inside the nose and then up into the part of the brain that controls our moods, our memories and our ability to learn. This area is called the Limbic System and when stimulated it releases endorphins, neurotransmitters and other ‘feel-good’ chemicals. In other words, aromatherapy triggers various responses in the body.

Aromatherapy also works by absorbing the essential oils that have been extracted from plants, fruits, herbs and flowers into the blood stream. This method is perfectly safe and if you’ve ever rubbed a fragrant lotion, cream or ointment into your skin or received a massage, you’ve already indulged in this type of aromatherapy.

Fragrances used in aromatherapy are many and are commonly added to:

- Lotions
- Inhalants
- Gels
- Candles
- Bath salts
- Vaporizers
- Perfumes, and
- Room sprays

Aromatherapy oils extracted from naturally occurring materials are unlike synthetic fragrances and perfumes which can cause allergies and irritation. Essential oils are safe to use for every one and evidence of its use has been found as far back as Ancient Egyptian civilizations.

Benefits of Aromatherapy

You don’t have to pay someone a fortune to do it – it is something you can learn to do at home

Many people seek out professional massage therapists or visit expensive spas for their aromatherapy sessions. While this is a great way to indulge if you can afford to, it’s easy to learn how to do aromatherapy right in the comfort of your own home.  All you need are some candles, essential oils or bath oils and a burner or diffuser.  You will also want to find a comfortable space for your aromatherapy session where you can totally relax.

There’s nothing unhealthy about it – Aromatherapy is a completely natural approach that will improve your health.

Aromatherapy is a great alternative to other treatment options such as prescription medications and caffeine. When used properly, there are no or very few side effects.  Some of the side effects that can emerge are due primarily to a person’s sensitivity to certain ingredients that they might have an allergic response to. Most people are aware of their particular sensitivities so you can easily avoid those.

Aromatherapy is great for alleviating minor discomforts before they become a big deal!

While aromatherapy isn’t going to cure a major illness, it is very effective at:

- alleviating minor aches and pains in joints
- improving the functionality of the immune system
- relieving the symptoms of menstrual cramps
- improving your skin tone
- relaxing muscles (something you can do every day if you want)
- lowering blood pressure
- clearing congestion
- improving circulation to the scalp which helps reduce dandruff and helps promote healthy hair growth
- relieving tension that causes headaches, and
- improving sleep

For more information about essential oils go to The Reference Guide for Essential Oils http://www.diffuserworld.com/detail.aspx?ID=93

Cathy Taylor is a freelance writer and can be reached at creativecommunications@cox.net You can find her blog at Women Entrepreneurs Journey or join the free BraveHeart community for women.
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