Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for healing.  These are made from concentrated extracts from leaves, roots, seeds or blossoms of plants.  Each type of essential oil has its own blend of active ingredients that determine what the oil is for.  Among the known ailments that essential oils are known to heal are swelling, fungal infections and muscle stress and body pains.  Some essential oils are also known to promote relaxation aside from its natural ability to make a room smell pleasant.

Because of the word aroma, there is a common misconception that aromatherapy is practiced by inhaling the oils, but in truth, a large chunk of the process is done by massaging the oils into the skin.

How does it work?

It was not made clear how aromatherapy works.  But according to experts, our sense of smell could play a role in the healing process because the smell receptors in your nose which captures the aroma, sends the pleasant message to the brain and stimulates the amygdala and hippocampus, the parts of your brain that influence physical, emotional and mental health.

The application of essential oils into the skin through aromatherapy massage also gives your muscles a soothing effect from stress and tiredness.

Aromatherapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, but it is generally known for its ability to relieve pain, improve mood and give a relaxing effect.  Several clinical studies showed that essential oils had reduced the fear and anxiety of pregnant women when these were applied to them during delivery.  The qualified midwives who applied oils also noted that the women developed a stronger sense of well-being and delivered their babies with lesser dosage of pain relievers.

Other conditions which are known to respond to aromatherapy include depression, hair loss, agitation, anxiety, constipation, insomnia, muscle and joint pains and headache.

Although there’s no established scientific proof of the health benefits of aromatherapy, random laboratory tests suggest that compounds from several essential oils contain antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.  Some observers also suggest that certain essential oils may help to strengthen the immune system, while others may help to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual cycle and menopause.

Aromatherapy has been used around the world for centuries.  It was once upon a time man’s only way to cure diseases, but scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness is still lacking.  It should therefore be used as an alternative or a means for temporary relief.  Professional advice is still the best especially when your health and well-being are at stake.