Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential oils from fragrant plants to help relieve health problems and improve the quality of life in general. It is part of a larger science called phytotherapy -- the use of whole plants or parts of plants for medicinal purposes. Relatively new to the United States, aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years in other parts of the world. Ancient Egyptians, for instance, used essential oils in cosmetics and in embalming. The modern practice of aromatherapy developed primarily in 20th-century Europe.
|Research About Aromatherapy:
†Among claims made for various essential oils are that they can:
Heal minor cuts and insect bites.†
Aid breathing and loosen mucus secretions.
Promote relaxation and sleep.†
Soothe muscle aches and pains.
Energize or enhance memory.†
Soothe digestive problems.†
Kill organisms that cause infection and disease,
including bacteria, viruses and fungi.
But scientifically speaking, not much is known for certain about how essential oils produce their effects, or even whether commonly used essential oils live up to the claims made about them. Some researchers speculate that the placebo effect is a factor in some use of aromatherapy ó that is, the aromatherapy is effective because the user believes it will help, not because of any direct physiological effect of the essential oil. Along the same lines, an essential oil may help simply because of memories or feelings you associate with the oilís scent. For instance, if cinnamon reminds you of how hot apple cider warms and comforts you on a winter night, then an essential oil from cinnamon may induce you to relax. Your relaxation may, in turn, have positive effects on your health. Some essential oils do seem to have direct medicinal properties. More scientific research is needed to establish how effective these oils are and how they can best be used.
In general, aromatherapy can be safely practiced at home as long as you follow some basic safety guidelines. Most important, if you suspect or know that you have a health problem, see your medical doctor for an evaluation and to discuss treatment
options before you try to resolve the problem through aromatherapy. Heed the following guidelines:
Research details about the reported effects and any possible safety considerations of the specific oils you plan to use. For instance, people who have sensitive skin or lung conditions should not use certain oils because they may cause irritation. Also, some essential oils tend to cause allergic reactions, and some are especially toxic.
†Let your medical doctor know that you plan to try aromatherapy, and ask whether the oils you plan to use may be harmful to you, given your individual medical history and current health. This is especially important for people with long-term health problems, those taking medications, pregnant women, and children and older adults.
For purposes of aromatherapy, use only pure essential oils, which occur naturally in plants. Manufactured fragrances are not pure essential oils, and their properties may be different, even if they seem to smell the same.
If you buy a prepared product that claims to be aromatherapeutic (such as bath products, skin and hair care products, candles or incense) read the label to be sure the product actually contains essential oil. Some companies use manufactured fragrances rather than essential oils in these products. Candles that contain manufactured fragrances have been known to cause headaches. Also, manufactured fragrances should never be used in diffusers.
Research the brand of essential oils you plan to use to find out about the company's concentration. Two different brands of the same essential oil may have different concentrations.†
Because of the dangers of side effects and overdose, you should not ingest drinks made with essential oils, unless you are working closely with a skilled aromatherapy practitioner. Overdose of essential oils may cause nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, agitation, convulsions and coma. Pregnant women and very young children should not ingest essential oils.
Because they are volatile, essential oils tend to be flammable. Take care to keep concentrated essential oils away from heat or flames.Avoid prolonged use; it may cause you to become hypersensitive to the oil, leading to skin reactions or reactions in the kidney, liver or other organs.
|other links: IMHOTEP† read about IMHOTEP the Egyptian visier and physician lived since 4800 years|
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