Aromatherapy is the ancient science of healing, relaxing and energizing. Done mainly by the use of essential oils, extracted from the flowers, fruits, leaves, stems and roots of flowers, shrubs and trees. It is one of the most frequently used alternative therapy. The essential oils are used solely or in combination with other oils for specific ailments or simply for the purpose of relaxation. Aromatherapy is successful in treating a number of ailments like colds, burns, bruises, sunburns, headaches and skin related diseases. However, it is more frequently used for de-stressing and improving emotional health.
Plant extracts in the form of aromatherapy have been used for more than 6000 years. First traces of practical use of aromatherapy have been identified to the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Hippocrates, the renowned father of modern medicine was reportedly an aromatherapy enthusiast. He experimented with the essential oils and used aromatic application to rid Athens of plague. The father of modern day aromatherapy is French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse. Around 1930 he coined the term and started experimenting with plant extracts on his own. He developed his interest when lavender oil healed his burnt hand without leaving any scars. He then started investigating the effects of other essential oils for healing and for their psychotherapeutic benefits.
Essential oils can be made at home but they are also widely available in the local markets. One golden rule is to never apply these oils directly on the skin as they are flammable. They should always be diluted in carrier oil. Therapists usually prefer almond oil as it mixes well with most of the oils. Otherwise, the carrier oil can be any, except mineral oil. Aromatherapy is used in many spiritual practices as they impart a feeling of mental well being and increases the concentration power. It contributes largely to a positive frame of mind which helps to keep people in good health.
There are various methods of Aromatherapy application. Inhalation, baths, massages and hot or cold compresses are the most common methods. The method that you use depends largely upon what the ailment is. Like, if you are tired and have sore muscles you would benefit most from massages or bathing. Nasal congestion would be best treated with inhalation. Sleeping disorders are best treated with inhalations. To cure insomnia two drops of relevant oil can be applied on the pillow for a sound sleep. Similarly, while suffering from common cold, two drops of related oil on the handkerchief can work wonders. Many oils also work as bug repellent.
Introducing essential aromatherapy oils into your lifestyle can be quite easy, fun, and therapeutically beneficial. The numbers of oils available are plenty. Keeping the simple cautions in mind one can easily experiment with these oils safely and discover the basics of aromatherapy on their own.