An Introduction to Aromatherapy
What Is Aromatherapy?
Whereas herbal remedies use various types of herbs, aromatherapy uses essential oils. It is often used in conjunction with other forms of New Age therapies and alternative medicine. Generally speaking, aromatherapy oils tend to be used in three different ways. Firstly, they can be used aerially in sprays. This is known as aerial diffusion. Secondly, some essential oils can be directly inhaled to treat congestion problems and to act as a disinfectant. Thirdly, essential oils can be massaged into the skin or applied to bath water. This is known as topical application.
Most essential oils are too strong to be applied directly to the skin. Because of this, they will often need to mixed with a carrier oil to dilute them.
Will Aromatherapy Benefit Me?
Using aromatherapy essential oils can have several health-related benefits. Some aromatherapy oils have antiseptic and anti-fungal qualities, while others can treat specific medical complaints such as stress and headaches. Depending on the complaint in question, you may be able to use aromatherapy oils to improve your symptoms. This will not always be the case though as not all health problems can be treated using aromatherapy.
Popular Aromatherapy Oils
Some aromatherapy oils are popular due to the effect that they can have on the user. Some of the most commonly used aromatherapy oils are:
Basil - This is often used to lift the mood during periods of depression and improve concentration. It can also be used to treat headaches and migraines. It should be avoided during pregnancy.
Bergamot - This is used in relation to the urinary tract and the digestive tract. It can also be helpful in treating stress-related health problems such as cold sores. Using eucalyptus oil in conjunction with bergamot oil can make this more effective. If you plan to use bergamot oil via a topical application, you will need to dilute it with a carrier oil or opt for a "bergaptene-free" type.
Clove - This can be used for minor pain relief. It is often rubbed directly onto the gums to relieve toothache.
Eucalyptus - This is often used in conjunction with peppermint oil to improve nasal congestion. It can be particularly useful if you are suffering from a cold or sinus problems that are causing your airways to become more blocked than normal.
Geranium - This is used as an antiseptic and a diuretic.
Lavender - This can have many uses. It is often used as an antiseptic and can also soothe skin that has been irritated after being burnt or cut. In addition, it also has anti-stress qualities and can treat headaches and migraines.
Lemon - This is commonly used to help the user relax and unwind. It is also believed to be able treat depression.
Tea tree - This is noted for its antiseptic and anti-bacterial qualities and is often applied on a topical basis directly onto the skin.
Yarrow - This can be used to treat inflamed joints and can also fight againt cold and flu symptoms.
Before you start using aromatherapy oils, it is important to make sure that it is safe for you to do so. For example, not all aromatherapy oils are safe to use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Aromatherapy oils can also interfere with any medicine that you may be taking, such as prescription drugs. This can have severe consequences. For example, essentials oils such as Sweet Birch and Wintergreen tend to have a high concentration of methyl salicylate, which can result in hemorrhaging if used in conjunction with Warfarin medication.