The science of “aromatherapie” was founded by a French chemist in the 1920s and three decades later it was being used by doctors, nurses and physiotherapists. Now, more than 1,500 doctors in France use aromatherapy instead of prescription drugs to treat pain and a variety of ailments. Here, it took until the 1980s for aromatherapy to land, with new products continually popping up on store shelves. But use caution: be sure the products you buy are true essential oils, not synthetic ones.
Essential oils are extracted from plants and are then inhaled or rubbed into the skin. They can be used in massage, baths, vaporization, diffusion and sprays, or as topical applications,. Each type of oil has a different property, thereby alleviating different concerns. The oils are able to quickly penetrate your skin and tissues, allowing fast healing. Many drugs are in fact based on these effects. Aromatherapy may work by interacting with your brain, nervous system, and immune system.
The first step is to ask your doctor which oils you should be using for the condition that ails you. And how to use them. One idea is the bathtub. Fill it with warm water and add up to 10 drops of oil. The water will cause the oils to release into the air for you to inhale. Also, the bath water with diluted oil stimulates your skin, bringing relief to your back.
Another way to incorporate aromatherapy is through massage. If you do a self-massage, be careful not to apply essential oils directly to the skin, you should mix them with a type of carrier oil (i.e. grapeseed, avocado, sunflower, peanut, etc) to dilute them. Mix one ounce of carrier oil with 10 drops of pure, essential oil. Use only five drops to start if you have sensitive or thin skin, or are elderly. If you have no reaction, you can slowly increase the amount of essential oil to 10 drops. Gently massage any sore spots ? it’s even better if you have someone else do it — blending in the massage oil for about five to 10 minutes.
You can also inhale oils in a number of ways. The vaporizer or diffuser can either be an electrical device that emits micro-particles of essential oils into the air or a burner. Many diffusers are made with a small candle as the heat source. The oils are heated by the candle and released into the air. Inhaling them is the fastest way to experience the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, because the nasal cavity is connected to the part of your brain that is responsible for heart rate, blood pressure, stress, hormone balance and nerve response. It can create a relaxed and pain-free state.
Aromatherapy has dozens of potential uses, none better than for pain and anxiety. While you might be a bit shocked at the price of the essential oil, you must keep in mind how little is used every time. In the long run, aromatherapy is actually more cost-effective than taking over-the-counter pain medications. As always, speak to your doctor.