The term ‘Aromatherapy’ has two meanings in it. Aroma means scent and therapy means treatment. Aromatherapy is a treatment, which involves the use of essential oils to improve emotional well-being of a person.
Essential oils are aromatic in nature and they smell sweet. These essential oils are extracted from plants, flowers, trees, fruit, bark, grasses and seeds. There are more than 150 essential oils. They have distinctive physiological, psychological and therapeutic properties and thus they improve health and prevent illness.
Different essential oils have different properties. Most of the essential oils are anti-septic in nature and they have unique healing properties. Some of them are anti-depressant, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory and pain relieving, while some others are stimulating and relaxing
Essential oils can affect our mind and emotions. They get absorbed into our body and the residue gets dispersed from the body naturally. Essential oils can enter the body in 3 ways: Inhalation, Absorption and Consumption.
Essential oils consist of organic compounds, which include ketones, terpenes, esters, alcohol, aldehydes and many other complex molecules. The most pure forms of essential oils are as light and clear like water. Essential oils are often very expensive. To extract 3 kg lavender oil, 100 kg of flowers are required. In the same way, 8 million jasmine flowers yield 1 kg jasmine oil.
The most common essential oils used in aromatherapy include clary sage, lavender, peppermint, ylang-ylang, rosemary, tea-tree, eucalyptus, lemon and geranium. These essential oils are used to cure various ailments like headaches, acne, bad breath, backache, bronchitis, cold, constipation, cough, cramps, diabetes, dandruff, digestion problems, ear ache, edema, sunstroke, malaria…etc.
Essential oils can be used in various ways:
· Room sprays: Add 10 drops of suitable essential oil to ½ liter water. Spray this mixture using a bottle spray. Oils like lavender, lemon, peppermint, pine and rosemary are widely used in this method.
· Insect repellents: Add 3 drops of essential oil on pillow covers or mattresses or on the exposed parts of skin (after mixing the carrier oil). This can prevent mosquito bites.
· Beauty treatments: Essential oils like lavender, geranium, sandalwood, rose, chamomile, lemon, lavender, geranium and sandalwood can be incorporated in facials, massages, scalp treatments, pedicure, manicure…etc, along with other creams and oils.
· Bed time: Sprinkling few drops of essential oils on pillow covers can treat headaches, stress and insomnia. Some of the essential oils act as an aphrodisiac.
· Massage: Massaging essential oils can improve circulation of blood and detoxify toxins from the body.