Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses scents to soothe your body, which may help relieve nausea, pain and stress.

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  • 7 Answers
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants to treat various conditions.  These include oils such as jasmine, lavender, eucalyptus, and sweet orange to name a few. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years.  

    The modern practice of aromatherapy was started in 1920 when a scientist, Rene Gattefosse was working in a perfume factory and caught his arm on fire. He placed it in the closest vat of liquid he could find which turned out to be lavender oil. He noticed that he healed quickly from the burn with very little scarring.  After that experience he continued to study the ability of essential oils to promote healing.

    Aromatherapy is used in mainstream medicine in Japan and France.  Here in the US it is used as an alternative therapy.  A study at Sloan-Kettering found that patients having MRI scans when treated with the scent of vanilla oil had less anxiety than those who were not given the scent.  Lavender oil has been used to treat headaches and help with sleep, and eucalyptus oil added to steam treatments has been used to help with a stuffy nose.
     
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    Bergamot is a type of orange tree grown in Italy. The essential oil from the peel of this orange is used in perfume, to get rid of insects, and to flavor tea. Bergamot oil is also used in aromatherapy for depression, anxiety, and poor digestion. The scientific name for the bergamot orange tree is Citrus bergamia.

    This answer is based on source information from National Cancer Institute.

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    A , Integrative Medicine, answered

    Aromatherapy is a term coined by the French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse in the 1930s from his clinical experiments with the use of essential oils from aromatic plant sources. He found that certain oils produced specific and reproducible effects when used in certain ways. Much research has been done since then to understand more about how essential oils work.

    When we open a bottle of essential oil and smell it (called olfaction), the aroma molecules initiate coded electrical changes in specialized cells in the top of the nose that are then sent to an area of the brain called the limbic system. Certain parts of the limbic system are responsible for many important functions such as hormone messaging, excitement, relaxation, temperature control, appetite and immune function. The message of the essential oil molecules when it reaches the limbic system can have a profound effect on mood and behavior, as well as producing a sense of well-being that is amplified to the rest of the body. Quite amazing how this happens!

    A woman with bulimia came to me on 80 mg of Prozac per day. She said it helped her not open the refrigerator and eat when she was upset or anxious, but the medication caused side effects. I gave her some lemon balm essential oil to smell when she felt anxious. Three months later she reported that she felt so calm each time she smelled the lemon balm that she was able to reduce and then stop the Prozac. She no longer was having to resort to food and her anxiety was well controlled.

    Essential oils have hundreds of individual chemicals that have marvelous properties. D-limonene found in some citrus oils has been studied for its ability to help shut down cancer cell growth. Terpene-4-ol in tea tree oil has shown strong action on certain resistant staph bacteria. Methyl chavicol, a molecule in tropical basil, has been helpful in alleviating menstrual cramps. These are just a few effects of essential oil chemicals.

    As an aromatherapist, I greatly respect the power of essential oil therapy. Some things we know, but there are unanswered questions that remain. All of us come to the experience of scent with individuality. A scent that pleases one person may be disliked by someone else. The key is to experience this modality for yourself. A change of mind (and heart) may only be a sniff away!

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    Aromatherapy infusion is the process of heating (without boiling) a mixture of water and an essential oil (scented liquid taken from a plant) to release a pleasant aroma. Aromatherapy infusion may also refer to the process of heating an herb in liquid to release the essential oils. Inhaled oxygen scented by aromatherapy infusion is being studied as a complementary therapy (used in addition to standard treatments) to relieve pain and shorten recovery time in patients undergoing colonoscopy.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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    A , Pulmonary Disease, answered
    Does aromatherapy help improve sleep quality?
    Aromatherapy can help improve sleep quality because it's a soothing ritual; eucalyptus oil has an added benefit in opening nasal passages. Watch internist and sleep expert Carol Ash, DO, share some tips on how aromatherapy can improve your sleep.
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    A , Preventive Medicine, answered
    Smell is the most powerful of our senses. Experiment with different scents according to your moods. On days that you feel lazy, tired or depressed, use an invigorating citrus flavor like lemon or orange. On mornings you wake up anxious, fearful, or nervous, you may want to choose the calming aromas of lavender, chamomile, or clary sage. You way want to choose a sensual scent such as jasmine or patchouli to feel amorous. Aromatherapy is not a passing fad: herbal and floral essences are shown to have an immediate effect on the brain and nervous system. There are many books on the market about aromatherapy to help you choose a scent for your particular need.
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    A , Midwifery Nursing, answered

    Aromatherapy is one homeopathic remedy that has been demonstrated to help with insomnia. Adding essential oils to either your warm bath water before bed or in a room diffuser followed by a massage of your back, sholders and feet may be just what the midwife ordered. Scents you may find helpful include Lavender, Yling Ylang, and Geranium.

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    A , Healthcare, answered
    In Egypt, aromatherapy was used more than 3,000 years ago to cure illness. Ancient Egyptians also used aromatic plants and oils for massage, embalming, and cosmetics. The most famous Egyptian fragrance, kyphi (the name means "welcome to the gods"), was said to induce hypnotic states.

    There are biblical records of herbal use in the Middle East more than 2,000 years ago, particularly the fragrant herbs myrrh and frankincense. Accounts are written of the ancient Hebrews using aromatherapy fragrances to consecrate their temples, altars, and priests. In fact, the book of Exodus in the Old Testament of the Bible gives the recipe for the holy anointing oil given to Moses for the initiation of priests:  a blend of myrrh, cinnamon and calamus, mixed with olive oil.

    Aromatherapy was commonly used in Greece. Before going to battle, Greek warriors anointed themselves with oils, and by the 7th century BC, hundreds of perfumers set up shops in the mercantile center of Athens. Aromatherapy was used in early Rome, where clients would be massaged with oil after taking a bath.

    During the Middle Ages in Europe, such plants as cypress, clove, and rosemary were burned to help control the plague. The use of aromatherapy moved to the Far East, and in China upper classes made lavish use of fragrance. Some of the most commonly used aromas were jasmine, which was used as a general tonic, rose to improve digestion, chamomile to reduce headaches and colds, and ginger to fight coughs and treat malaria.

    Even though incense didn't arrive in Japan until around 500 AD, the Japanese turned the use of incense into a fine art, having perfected a distillation process. Incense was burned for ceremonial purposes and students performed story dances for incense-burning rituals.

    On the other side of the world, the Aztecs used aromas and essence for medicinal purposes, massaging injured warriors with scented salves in the sweat lodges. Massage ointments of valerian and other herbs were made by the Incas, and in Central America, the Mayans steamed their patients in cramped clay structures.

    North Americans used aromatherapy in more traditional ways, using steam to treat congestion, chronic pain, headaches, fainting and other problems. Echinacea, a commonly used herb today, was used as a smoke treatment for migraines or headaches.

    Even though this complement to touch therapy has strong ancient roots, it was not actually called “aromatherapy" until the 1930s.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Some fragrances can help you feel more relaxed. For example, lavender aromatherapy is a popular complementary treatment for mental relaxation. In one study published in the International Journal of Cardiology, researchers studied 30 healthy men who inhaled essence of lavender for 30 minutes and concluded that the fragrance reduced blood levels of cortisol, a so-called stress hormone.

    If you are tempted to purchase a scented skin care product, however, be aware that fragrances added to products are the most common cause of skin reactions, such as redness, itching, and blotchiness.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Aromatherapy can help you to de-stress. Chamomile is known for calming the stomach and mind, as are the scents of lavender and ylang ylang. You can buy these items at shops that sell home and bath products. You can keep them in your office, put drops on your pillow, or use them in candle or essential oil form to scent a room or your bathtub. You can also use edible herbs as tea (as in the case of chamomile).
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