What Is AROMATHERAPY and How Does It Promote Wellness ?
Health & Wellness

What Is AROMATHERAPY and How Does It Promote Wellness ?

Aromatherapy essential oils
Written by Anima Sur

Aromatherapy and Wellness are interrelated. This is invariably associated with aromatic compounds of flowers or plants. Usually, a concentrated volatile substance which is commonly known as “Essential oil” is extruded from plants or flowers. This aromatic substance has the power to cure various illnesses. Besides, it finds use to uplift mood and creates a good ambiance where the soul reaches tranquillity. Because of this, I like to put it as Luther Burbank said: “Flower always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul”.

As per Ayurveda and many cultures around the world, the mind and body do not operate independently. Body and mind are interrelated with one another. The relationship between the Olfactory system and fragrance/aroma is somewhat similar. They are in a way to help unify the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of ourselves.

If you’re feeling like you could use some extra help to improve overall well-being, the aromatic path is for you. This article gives some tips on how to incorporate aromatherapy into your life.

Let me start with a quote from the Quran “Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.”

How the term Aromatherapy came into existence:

Way back in the 1920s there was a French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse. he was researching to find the healing properties of essential oils. At that time he met with an accident in his perfume laboratory.  The accident proved to be lucky for the entire world. ( In the accident, he lit his arm on fire and thrust it into the nearest cold liquid. It was a huge jar of lavender oil. Much to his amazement, the burn quickly healed in a scarless way.)

What does history inform us?

Historical evidence of aromatherapy dates back for thousands of years in terms of healing and spiritual rituals. Aromatherapy was widely practiced in Egypt, India, China, Persia, Hebrew, Maya, and Greece.

Documents show that the ancient Egyptians were using the natural oils from around 3,500 BC. Some of the ingredients profusely used by Egyptians were spikenard, frankincense, citrus fruits,  oregano, and cedar.

In the case of India, essential oils and incense are in abundance in Ayurveda. ‘Ayurveda is the indigenous system of medicine which is 5000 years old. Ayurvedic therapists’ severely utilized herbal essences for both psychological and physical ailments, in addition to incense aromatherapy.

Coming to the traditional Chinese system, the second oldest in continuous practice in the world today. The use of sophisticated pharmacology is strongly an offshoot of the Ancient Indian school of medicine.

Aromatherapy in Europe can be traced back to the Greeks and Romans. They were familiar with essential oils for various medicinal purposes.

Present-day, aromatherapy is a very active movement in Europe, especially in France.T here it is now considered medicine reimbursed by medical insurance.

What are the main divisions in aromatherapy?

Broadly we can divide into three segments

  1. Home Aromatherapy (for self-treatment, perfume & cosmetic use)
  2. Clinical aromatherapy (mostly as part of pharmacology & pharmacotherapy)
  3. Aromachology (the psychology of odors and its effects on emotions)

When Can You Use

The best idea about aromatherapy is you can use it anywhere and anytime. If you use lavender while traveling it will help you stay calm and relaxed amidst the rush. If you’re feeling a little sluggish in the morning, try to smell eucalyptus; it’s like a splash of cool water for your brain.

If you’re anxious and having a hard time to ponder clearly, rosemary can give you relief. It is a natural and effective way to gain clarity and clear thoughts.

Whether at the office, in the home, or by the bed, having your oil readily accessible will increase usage, and is a super tool to remove some of the daily travails of life.

How to Use

The plant aromatics don’t always have to be in oil form. I love to enjoy rosemary. I pluck it fresh and roll it between my fingertips to release the aroma. The aroma of different herbs while cooking can be beneficial for the senses.

The entire universe world is alive with fragrance; you just have to take notice. In the case of essential oil, there are different ways of usage.

External application (the most common technique)

  • Place on pulse points such as temples, inner wrists or elbows, back of the neck, or anywhere where you can enjoy the aroma
  • Place a generous amount on your palm, rub your hands together and inhale deeply

Aromatically

    • Use with the help of a diffuser
    • Steam inhalation (good for respiratory issues)

Mixed with water

  • A few drops of oil in your bath or while cloth washing in water infused with essential oil can do wonders to soothe and relax
  • A little goes a long way when using essential oil and in most cases, 1 to 2 drops will be sufficient
Important Note:

Aromatherapy is not essential for curing all illnesses; it helps significantly so your body and mind can function in an optimal state. Nature has offered us numerous medicinal benefits.  Improper use of essential oils can be hazardous. Before using read all labels and warnings. Keep essential oils away from little children. Attraction by the smell they may want to ingest. This would lead to a fatal situation. If you have a specific health problem or concern, talk to your family physician as well as a practitioner who is knowledgeable about aromatherapy to eliminate complications.

To sum up, Aromatherapy is an excellent way to help promote well-being at a nominal expense. It’s not only will you be enjoying the benefits alone. Your surrounding environment will also to be full of with a splendid aroma.

According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) defines aromatherapy is “the therapeutic application or the medicinal use of aromatic substances (essential oils) for holistic healing.”

Benefits

Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy. Giving certain usage of essential oils

    • Black pepper essential oil is for enhancing the circulation, muscle aches, and stiffness. In combination with ginger essential oil, it is used to reduce arthritis  pain and improve flexibility
  • Chamomile essential 0il used to treat eczema
  • Citronella essential oil is a relative of lemongrass and acts as an insect repellent
  • Clove essential oil is a topical analgesic, widely used for toothache. Even dentists use this. This has antifungal and antimicrobial quality. Finds use as an antispasmodic antiemetic, for preventing vomiting and nausea. Sometimes as a carminative, preventing gas in the gut.
  • Eucalyptus essential oil help relieve the airways during a cold or fever. It is often combined with peppermint. Many people are allergic to eucalyptus, be cautious
  • Geranium essential oil recommended in skin problems, to reduce stress, and as a mosquito repellent.
  • Jasmine essential oil increases beta waves, linkage to alertness. As a stimulant,
  • The lavender essential oil is an antiseptic for minor cuts and burns. It is for enhancing relaxation and sleep. Thought to relieve a headache and migraine symptoms.
  • A lemon essential oil correlates with emotions, and to help relieve the symptoms of stress and depression.
  • Rosemary essential oil may enhance hair growth, boost memory, and prevent muscle spasms. Some say it supports the circulatory and nervous systems.
  • Sandalwood essential oil has a cooling effect.
  • Tea tree essential oil is full of antimicrobial, antiseptic, and disinfectant qualities.  It is a common ingredient in shampoos and skincare products. It helps to treat pimples, burns, and bites. Never ingest as its toxic
  • Thyme essential oil helps reduce fatigue, nervousness, and stress.
Balancing the Chakras with Aromatherapy -Essential oils

We also are aware of the fact that there are 7 Chakras in the body. Chakras are the nodal points of energy situated along the spinal cord from the base of the spine to the tip of the head. Base one is called the Root Chakra and the one on top of the head the Crown chakra.  Well, these chakras have certain specific characteristics. But to have a well balanced fruitful joyous life we all require that all the chakras are in a balanced condition. This is especially required for persons who want to attain a higher level in the path of spiritualism. For all other beings, a balanced chakra gives a harmonized life.

Essential oils in chakra healing

Now for detailed characteristics of each chakra, will give in some other topic. Which chakra is imbalanced can be known for  Spiritual masters, Healers, and others.  Chakras can be energized or healed by yoga asanas, meditation dhyana. But in a simple way Aromatherapy can also be of good help. Hereby mere application of essential oils or by inhaling essential oils one can balance the chakra.

I will try to share some commonly used essential oils for healing. Since these are tropical applications you can try them out.

Chakra Name Essential Oil Herb
Root Clove oil/Patchouli Rosemary
Sacral Orange/Sandalwood Parsely
Solar Plexus Chamomile/Lavender Lavender
Heart Rose Vanilla
Throat Ginger /Eucalyptus Mint
Third Eye Lemongrass Lemongrass
Crown Rose Wood/Frankincense Thyme

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How to Use:

For Root Chakra Massage under feet.

Massaging Lower back for the Sacral region.

A gentle tummy massage to stimulate Solar plexus

A body spray applied on the chest or neck area for the Throat Chakra

Third eye chakra can be evoked by an application of essential oil on the forehead or by simple inhalation.

For Crown Chakra, room diffusion is the best.

About the author

Anima Sur

A health Blogger. "Take care of the whole, and the part will take care of itself". This is the essence of Yogic Wellness- keeping the whole being healthy.