Harmonising Body, Mind & Spirit Through Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has its roots in antiquity, but the word itself is a 20th century invention. The use of aromatic plants as medicines, incense and cosmetics in ancient times is well-documented, and over the centuries this led to the development of aromatherapy and its use of essential oils from these plants as a healing tool in our lives today.
Essential oil use in aesthetics traces back to ancient Egypt, Greece and China where flowers and herbs are used to enjoy an aromatic bath, massage, and in skin care for curative and cosmetic purposes without the worry of unwanted chemical effects or long term side effects.
Aromatherapy is also a form of healing. What is healing? It can be described as a positive change of some kind which restores balance to a system that is over or under-performing in some way. One of the main reasons that a particular health problem occurs is because the body is reaching to an area of stress somewhere within the system.
Conventional medicine chooses to focus on the problem itself, sometimes with very direct interventions, and these can be vital for extreme situations such as surgical emergencies or acute problems such as a heart attack.
The complementary therapies, including aromatherapy massage, concentrate on the terrain of the body system itself, with the idea that, if at all possible, prevention is better than cure. Aromatherapy works well as a supportive treatment for chronic problems, which unfold over a long period of time.
Essential oils and massage, gradually given, can gently allow the body to rebalance itself, which it is very capable of doing. We inhabit bodies and minds with extremely sensitive capabilities especially when it comes to adapting to new situations and our bodies are capable of amazing feats of repair and renewal right down to the cellular level, especially when they achieve a relaxed, restful state.
As a healing tool combining both touch and smell, or the physical and the non-physical, aromatherapy massage sits well in the holistic framework. The individual blends of oils mixed for the recipient’s treatment are chosen to complement the person’s physical and emotional state.
Massage is the means of application, but more than that, it allows the giving of a caring and soothing touch, which helps to de-stress the system completely and sends deep messages of calm to the mind. In today’s frantic world, this is a vital need. Many physical and emotional illnesses are the result of the human system being stressed to a breaking point. The simple act of aromatherapy massage can help to rebalance and rejuvenate body, mind and spirit.
Benefits of the Aromatherapy Massage
- Increase metabolism
- Speed up healing process
- Enhance the removal of toxins
- Increase muscles and joint mobility
- Improve skin tone
- Aid relaxation by calming the nervous system
- Improve circulation for blood & lymph
- Relieve mental and physical fatigue
- Reduce aches, pains, spasms, and stiffness
- Improve digestion
Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils extracted from flowers, barks, stem, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant. Natural oils are gathered through processes of steam distillation or extraction of parts from the plants such as the stem, young twigs, leaves, peels of fruits, and petals of flowers.
Essential oil properties cover a wide range of natural healing, relaxing and uplifting attributes. Aromatherapy helps to enhance physiological and physical well-being. Properties of aromatherapy include benefits from anti inflammatory, anti bacterial, astringent, sedative to stimulating. These natural oils may produce both physiological and physical effects at the same time expanding from stress and headache relief, hormone regulation, mood boosting, muscle relaxation and immune system stimulation. Aromatherapy works through methods of inhalation, vaporization, bathing, massage and spraying on beddings, linens, towels or used as a room spray.
Benefits of Aromatherapy & Essential Oils
Essential oil such as lemon grass for example is popular for its anti-microbial properties that inhibit the reproduction and growth of bacteria and virus. It is commonly used in skincare that heals acne. On the other hand, women for many generations have practiced giving gripe water to babies to relive digestive discomfort as it contains fennel.
Peppermint and lemon are often used in cleansers for their deep cleansing and pore refining attributes. Don’t be surprised to find that after using a cleanser that contains peppermint, your skin is immediately relieved of itching and inflammation. Skin care products that contain essential oils undoubtedly keep aging at bay. Geranium, carrot, fennel, rose, sage and lavender contain vitamins that nurture the skin whilst giving the user a youthful glow.
Aromatherapy essential oils are not the same as perfume or fragrance oils as it is more potent and if applied to the skin undiluted, it could cause irritation or allergic reaction. Therefore, essential oils are mixed with carrier oils such as palm kernel oil, jojoba and olive oils to dilute its potency while adding value to it as the carrier oils usually contain natural anti- oxidants and vitamins. Most importantly there is essential oil suitable for any skin type, be it oily, dry or sensitive skin. The use of aromatherapy as a beauty therapy is a wiser choice considering the safe yet effective elements.
There are various other important elements of essential oils that could benefit your well-being:
An oil great for acne and skin infection as it is a powerful antibacterial and anti fungal agent. Research has shown that this essential oil has wonderful qualities for reliving both urinary and respiratory infection. This essential oil works wonders for dry and aging as it assists the skin in promoting hydration and moisture.
A popular essential oil as it has a scent similar to rose essential oil; it helps to improve the condition of wrinkles, fine lines and can be used for cracked nipples or tender breasts during pregnancy.
A wonderful oil for spot treating, clearing pimples in less than a week due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial traits. Tea tree oil is also effective in relieving muscle aches and pain when used in massage therapy.
This oil does a great job in balancing oil production in the skin while clearing blemishes and evens the skin tone. This oil promotes growth of new cells and has a healing effect on sunburns, acne, eczema, insect bites and stings. Women can use lavender especially to treat headaches and sleep problems associated with menopause, painful periods, arthritis and back pain. It works well in reducing stress and anxiety in both genders too.
This oil brightens pale and dull complexions by removing dead skin cells as it has an effective cleansing action especially on oily skin although great care to avoid the sun should be taken while using it. Lemon oil belongs to the citrus oils which can also be used to enhance and uplift the manly spirit and masculinity.
This essential oil has an amazing calming property, thus helps tremendously in reducing emotional irritation. This is why the oil is great for treating menstrual and menopausal problems. It is excellent in easing dry or itchy skin. It helps to reduce puffiness, regenerate and strengthens the tissue resulting in improved elasticity.
One of the most expensive of all essential oils, this oil is especially good for mature, dry and sensitive skin. It helps to soothe inflammation and has a constricting action on dilated capillaries. Rose essential oil is also commonly used by women to treat stress, depression and irritability. Rose oil has a reputation as an aphrodisiac too.
A strong astringent, this oil helps to tone and tighten the skin. This essential oil is great for stimulating the brain, improving the memory and mental clarity. It is sometimes used for improving hair and scalp health while some find it great at boosting the liver and gall bladder.
It has a special balancing effect on the sebum production in the skin, thus making it suitable for both dry and oily skin. An all rounder, this essential oil is anti-depressant, anti-seborrhoeic and antiseptic. It can be considered a sedative that helps to calm nervous afflictions, stress, anger and anxiety by its relaxing properties. For couples interested to activate loss libidos, this oil will do wonders.
This essential oil does more than smell exquisite. It is deeply relaxing, boosts confidence, soothes cough and is good in improving the skin’s elasticity which can be useful during pregnancy as it reduces stretch marks and scars.
The active ingredient in this oil has strong germicidal and disinfectant properties which function in various ways to help lower blood sugar and relieve coughs or flu. It can be used to clear dandruff when mixed with shampoo. Applying this oil on pulse points during massage helps to combat exhaustion and dispels mental sluggishness, a note to remember for last-minute projects and examinations.
Its medicinal properties have been explored for centuries and its anti-oxidant properties are found to be highly effective. Its oil has been proven to aid in wound healing and is an excellent salve for burns, cuts and bruises. This oil is used in aromatherapy for its antiseptic and ant-inflammatory properties to treat sore feet, ring worm, and even diaper rash. Calendula refreshes and regenerates the skin.
This fresh smelling essential oil has been successfully used in fighting jet lag, combating cellulite, and revitalizing the exhausted body. Through research, this oil is found to ease fluid retention, improve circulation and promote lymph flow. Not many users know that this oil is also excellent for keeping the family pet away from fleas and ticks.
This oil is well known in aiding digestion, preventing rheumatism, and bacterial dysentery. This oil warms the skin during massage and comforts the body during cold weather. Highly beneficial in relieving pain, this oil also helps in toning and strengthening the body. It can also be used to relieve sore throat.