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Aromatherapy

 

Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing fields in alternative medicine. It is widely used at home, clinics and hospitals for a variety of applications such as pain relief for women in labor pain, relieving pain caused by the side effects of the chemotherapy undergone by the cancer patients, and rehabilitation of cardiac patients.

The essential oils are aromatic essences extracted from plants, flowers, trees, fruits, bark, grasses and seeds with distinctive therapeutic, psychological, and physiological properties, which improve and prevent illness. 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 do not work.

Scents from essential oils can stimulate olfactory (smell) receptors in the nose, and brain scans have shown that this can then trigger activity in certain areas of the brain linked to mood and memory.

Components of essential oils may also be absorbed via the skin into the bloodstream and are then thought to influence the nervous system, mental state and emotions, and possibly even organ function, although the exact mechanism for this is still unclear.

An aromatherapy massage can last from 20 to 90 minutes depending on whether its a partial or full body massage.

Essential oils are very concentrated and some cause irritation if applied directly to the skin. They should always be diluted in a vegetable carrier oil before being applied to the skin. Contact with the eyes should also be avoided to prevent irritation. Some citrus oils can increase the skin's sensitivity to light, making it more prone to pigmentation.

The oils should not be swallowed or otherwise taken internally, unless under expert medical supervision, as they may be toxic. Allergic reactions are also possible. It's best to test for this by applying a small amount of diluted oil on the back of the wrist or ear lobe as test before using it fully.

Certain oils may also interact with prescribed medicines. Get advice from your doctor or aromatherapist if taking medication.

Talk over any concerns with your practitioner, but if you have a more serious complaint use the formal complaints procedure of your practitioner's professional body.

 

 

 

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