An introduction to Aromatherapy (Part 1)

It's fairly simple to add some aromatherapy to your lifestyle and enjoy it's therapuetic benefits. Below is a brief description and history of Aromatherapy as well as a list of essential oils and how they can be used.

Aromatherapy can be described as the use of natural fragrances and essential oils extracted from herbs, plants and flowers to remedy/heal and to influence/enhance our moods and well being. Aroma Therapy's origins remain unclear but it has roots in China, Egypt and Greece. Aromatherapists practice the use of these herbal concoctions to aid in healing and remedying a variety of ailments including anxiety/fear, fatigue, stress, anger, depression, bacterial infection, psychological problems, as aphrodisiacs and more.

Essential oils are used both topically (lotions and massage oils) and aromatically (oil diffusers or candles). Essential oils alone are extremely concentrated and potent. They can irritate skin if they are not diluted. Essential oils should always be diluted by adding them to a carrier oil such as almond oil, olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, etc.

Some popular Essential oils and some of their uses:

Rose- uplifting, eczema, stress, depression
Lavender- calming, relaxing, burns, PMS, headaches, high blood pressure, depression, insomnia
Lemon Grass- refreshing, cleanser, infections, perspiration, opens pores
Sandalwood- dry skin, relaxing
Patchouli- fungal infections, aphrodisiac, sedative, anxiety, dandruff, wrinkles
Chamomile- anti-inflammatory, digestion, irritability, skin problems, arthritis, stress
Ylang Ylang- insect bites, hair loss, depression, high blood pressure, dry skin, insomnia, impotence
Peppermint- indigestion, nausea, impotence, respiratory problems
Spearmint- refreshing, nausea, colic, cleanse pores, headaches, indigestion
Eucalyptus- diabetes, sinus infections, chest colds, urinary infections
Thyme- gout, sore throat, anemia, dermatitis, flu
Valerian- soothing, relaxing, sleep
Tea Tree- antiseptic, immune system, urinary infections, insect bites, acne, fungal infections 
Ginger- memory, digestion, impotence
Grapefruit- obesity, depression, energizing
Rosewood- acne, massage oils, stress, dermatitis, wrinkles, fatigue, relaxing

Aromatherapeutic Items include:

Pure Essential oils
Bath oils
Facial toners
*I would recommend using quality natural fragrances, soaps, lotions and candles or creating your own from essential oils.

Here are a few ways to use your favorite essential oils and benefit from their therapeutic properties:

Massage oils-
Add approx. 10- 20 drops of an essential oil to 1 ounce of a carrier oil like olive oil. Use mixture to for massage. Be careful not to apply essential oils to sensitive areas of the body to avoid possible irritation. 

Bath oil:
Add 5-10 drops of an essential oil of your choice to a carrier oil and add it to your bath water. Be sure to stir it in well. 

Add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice to a facial tissue and hold tissue a few inches from your nose while sitting or lying down, gently inhale the fragrance. 

Steam inhalation-
Pour 1-2 cups of boiling water into a bowl and add a few drops of essential oil. Try doing this sitting down at a table. Place bowl on table in front of you and lean in above the bowl keeping your nose a few inches away. Gently breathe in the steam to clear nasal passages and relax. If steam is too hot or the oil is too potent for you, move away or discontinue use.

In the home-
Try adding a few drops of essential oils or oil diffusers to areas of the house that need freshened like the trash can, on a tissue in drawers, near the litter box, in the laundry room, etc.

Stay tuned for Introduction to Aromatherapy Part 2 which will go more in depth on specific ailments and aromatherapeutic remedies. It will also include some recipes for making your own Aromatherapeutic products at home.

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