Overview of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy of healing which is basically based on the uses of fragrance, scents and essential oils extracted from natural flowers, resins, wood, roots, fruits, herbs, leaves, seeds etc. The concept of aromatherapy is not new and has been used since centuries. The initial traces of aromatherapy can be found in a painting of France during 18000 B.C. Though, it is believed that aromatherapy is an origin of Egypt. They used this therapy for cosmetic and medicinal uses as well for preserving the dead bodies. In ancient times Chinese people used aromatic herbs to show respect to god. Through the centuries aromatherapy has been practiced by several civilizations like Egypt, China, India, Rome, and Greece. In India the science of aromatherapy has been used for 3000 years as an important aspect of ayurveda. In modern era, the concept of aromatherapy was raised by a group of scientists of Europe in 1907. The first text form of aromatherapy came in 1937 in a form of French book called Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a chemist. Later in 1993 this book was also published in English language called Gattefossé?s Aromatherapy. Though, aromatherapy has been practiced for a long time, it gained popularity mainly in the 19th century.
Aromatherapy is based on the effective use of essentials oils and perfumes having both therapeutic and aromatic properties. Thus, it works with the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of a person and improves the internal healing capacity. The essential oils used in aromatherapy can be used in different forms indirectly. These can be used along with shower gels, shampoos, air fresheners, massage oils, moisturizers etc. Some of the common oils used in aromatherapy are Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Jasmine, Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary and Sandalwood.
Aromatherapy can be practiced mainly in three ways: Massage, Olfactory, and Cosmetic.In massage aromatic essentials oils are directly applied to the skin. This increases the resistance of the body by killing the germs and bacteria. It also rejuvenates and revitalizes the body and mind. Massage helps in reduction of depression and ease the nerve tension. Olfactory involves the inhalation of oils through nose, which releases some chemicals in the body. e.g. Enkephalin, Endorphins, and Serotonin which provides much relaxation to the body and the mind. Similarly, cosmetics are applied directly to the skin, face and hair, which lead to a healthy skin and hair.
Aromatherapy is purely based on the natural system of healing and has several health benefits. Some of the major heath benefits of aromatherapy can be listed as: reduction in blood pressure, stress reduction and relieves anxiety, improves circulation of blood, unblocks respiratory passages, improves breathing, improves concentration level, suitable for flu, colds and sinusitis.
Thus, aromatherapy is one of the best alternative therapies with lots of physical, mental and spiritual benefits. This is the reason; the popularity of aromatherapy is increasing tremendously all over the world from the homes, clinics to the large hospitals. Today, a number of aromatherapy centers and spas are especially working on aromatherapy healing system.