aromatherapyAromatherapy is the therapeutic use of (extracted from plants) essential oils. The research on its effectiveness is limited, but some studies have shown that aromatherapy may benefit our health. Aromatherapy is useful as a relief from depression and anxiety and it can also improve the quality of life, especially for people with chronic health conditions. The fact is that it has been around for centuries and people still use aromatherapy because of its numerous benefits.

Essential oils that are used in aromatherapy are commonly extracted from plants (various parts depending on the exact plant) and after that distilled. These highly concentrated essential oils are then inhaled indirectly or directly or they may be applied to the patient’s skin through bath salts, lotions and especially massage. Aromatherapy is considered to stimulate nasal smell receptors which then send messages to the limbic system through the nervous system. Limbic system is the part of the brain which controls emotions.

When used as directed and by a trained aromatherapist, most of the essential oils have been shown as safe, even they are not regulated by the FDA. Common side effects of the application to the skin may include skin irritation, increased sun sensitivity and allergic reactions. However, further medical research on the effects of essential oil on pregnant and breast-feeding women and children, as well as on the interaction of essential oils and other medications and treatments. Aromatherapy is a popular choice when it comes to relaxation massage, although it can be used when preparing meals, for example. If you consider aromatherapy because of any of its uses, consult your aromatherapist or a doctor.

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