Aromatherapy has been a form of medicine since the 1900’s, but is still being clinically researched as of today. However, numerous clinical studies suggest that aromatherapy is beneficial in treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, anxiety, depression, and even cancer. Furthermore, aromatherapy is also helpful during childbirth. The study “Aromatherapy in Childbirth” conducted by Burns E. Blamey, suggests that 62% of women participating in the study were relieved of their negative symptoms (anxiety, pain, nausea, and vomiting) after using essential oils.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants, flowers, fruit, seeds, trees, bark, and herbs as a form of therapy to improve physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Essential oils such as Roman chamomile, geranium, lavender, eucalyptus, jasmine, peppermint, and cedar wood are the basic materials of aromatherapy. Each oil contains its own mix of active ingredients, and this mix determines what the oil is used for. Some oils are used to promote physical healing — for example, to treat swelling or fungal infections. Others are used for their emotional value — they may enhance relaxation or make a room smell pleasant.
Aromatherapy works by sending chemical messages to certain parts of your brain. These parts of your brain (the amygdala and hippocampus) serve as storehouses for emotions and memories and are known to affect your mood. When you breathe in essential oil molecules, some researchers believe they stimulate these parts of your brain and influence physical, emotional, and mental health.
Although the word “aroma” suggests that the oils are inhaled, they can also be massaged into the skin or taken orally. However, you should never take essential oils by mouth without specific instruction from a trained and qualified specialist. The most common way to use essential oils is to add them to a warm bath, put them in a cold compress next to your skin or on a handkerchief, or add them into an oil burner or diffuser so that the vapor spreads the aroma into the air.
Research evidence suggests that aromatherapy can help with the following:
- Nausea / vomiting
- Boosting the immune system
- Fighting off colds and bacterial infections
- Helping with menstrual problems
- Improving circulation and urine output
- Relieving headaches and digestion problems