Aromatherapy consists of a therapy that involves the use of concentrated essential oils. These oils can be massaged into the skin, inhaled or put into a bath. It remains unknown exactly how essential oils work although there is evidence to suggest that it does. It is now considered as an alternative medicine or as a complement to conventional medicine.
Aromatherapists use concentrated essential oils that are extracted from plants to treat conditions that are aromatic and volatile. Unlike herbal medicines, the oils are not concentrated from whole plants but extracted. The oils are extracted from leaves, roots, flowers, resin, bark, grasses and peel.
People have been using aromatherapy for thousands of years dating back as early as ancient Egypt, China and India. Aromatherapy today is used as a treatment for a wide range of conditions and is said to relive physical and psychological illnesses. The theory suggests that when a person smells an essential oil, the limbic system, (which is the part of the brain that stores and retrieves learnt memories and controls emotions and relaxes you) is triggered. Other theories suggests that the essential oils are through the skin and their medicinal properties act on the problem.
Aromatherapy is used to treat a wide range of conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and stress, muscular aches and pains, headaches, asthma, digestive problems, eczema, menopausal and menstrual symptoms.
You can buy many aromatherapy oils from pharmacies and health shops and use them to treat yourself or you can be treated by an Aromatherapist. An Aromatherapist will massage essential old into your skin. If you decide to treat yourself, you can add the essential oils to your bath, inhale them via steaming water or use an oil burner or diffuser. Nowadays there is a wide range of toiletries that contain essential oils and many claim to increase one’s wellbeing along with having healing properties.
There is currently a lack of good research which proves whether or not essential oils work via inhalation or skin absorption. However theory suggests that it is possible to predict aromatherapy’s effects based upon the chemical make up of the essential oil. So far there is no scientific evidence that is conclusive that any of the theories are true or false.
There have, however been good quality trials which studies the effects of aromatherapy on many groups of people. The studies have compared aromatherapy with the affects of dummy treatment and no treatment at all. The findings suggested that aromatherapy can assist with some conditions such as its mild and short lasting anxiety soothing effects, possibility of helping relieve alopecia, possibility of preventing bronchitis, fungal infections and acne may be relived by tea tree oil.
The majority of this research has not been conclusive and to firmly establish whether there are beneficial effects of aromatherapy, much more research is required.