aromatherapy

Aromatherapy, as the name suggests, is an approach to good health thorough nature’s produce. Yes, it is not natural products but nature’s produce. Aromatherapy is not new to us. Our ancestors, in all parts of the world have been using aromatherapy in some form or the other.  Right from the age of the caves to the age of the stones. And even now. We do not realise it as aromatherapy yet our herbal home remedies and concoctions are based on it.

Aromatherapy mostly deals with plant extracts and compounds in therapy, aimed at relieving stress or pain. It is considered an alternative medicine or pseudo-medicine. Some also believe that, the fragrance or the olfactory or smell-induced therapy creates a sensory-perceptual illusion giving short-term relief. On the contrary there are others who believe and actively use aromatherapy for its natural components. The natural produce used should be sourced from authentic sources that can provide pure extracts for best results.

What is it?

The primary components of aromatherapy include a host of essential oils. These are plant extracts either from seeds or even the leaves and petals. These essential oils are said to have great benefits for our health. Essential oils are used in inhalation diffusions or as topical applications. This therapy is mainly pursued for its soothing effect during stressful times, ability to relieve anxiety and for skin and hair care.

How is it used?

Aromatherapy is used by many as stress-relievers. The soothing effect is obtained through use of either one essential oil or a combination of various oils. The skin care industry is taken over by the benefits of these oils that, there are many variants with essential oils, being offered in the entire spectrum of skin care products. The following ways highlight the common usage preferences:

  • Inhaling or getting a small sniff of the fragrance. Just a small whiff of the sweet orange essential oil is said to relieve stress and keep us cheerful.
  • Massage oils in spa treatments. The massage oil is supposed to be a combination of various aromatic oils that has benefits not only for the mind but for the skin as well.
  • Body oils or topical applications. Essential oils are very strong in nature and must not be used as is. They are combined with other carrier oils like coconut or almond to create a topical application. These applications are used for treating various symptoms of the dry or damaged skin or hair. Sometimes they are just used as stressbusters.
  • Essential oil in skin care and toiletries. Essential soaps, shampoos, deodorants and a host of other skin care and grooming product are available. Some of these are purely natural and hence are sought after widely.
  • Diffusers and incenses – Essential oils are renowned for their aromatic fragrances. Just a few drops of essential oil in a diffuser is enough to get an entire room or part of the room soothed through the fragrance. There are also incense sticks and cones that are lighted to keep private spaces smelling of preferred scents allowing for a soothing atmosphere.

The main usage of essential oils is external administration, through topical applications or inhalations. An oral intake of essential oils is not recommended due to the strong nature of these oils. There also no proven records to affirm the benefits of intake of these oils. Aromatherapy provides benefits mostly, only through the olfactory sense of smelling. This alternative form of medicine started with Asian and European civilisations of India, China and other Southeast Asian countries and the roman diaspora of Europe. Now it is prevalent all over the world, leading to boom in the production of these natural oils and plant-based compounds. In India, the manufacture of natural soaps and incenses has created opportunities for small scale industries, paving way for more employment opportunities as well.