Five health benefits of aromatherapy

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – Aromatherapy traces its roots to ancient China, India, Egypt, Greece and Rome and has been in use for over 6,000 years. In the practice, our ancestors used essential oils, which they also used in cosmetics, scents and medicine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Modern aromatherapy was started by a French chemist named René-Maurice Gattefossé when he rediscovered the healing properties of essential oils. Gattefossé discovered that lavender oil can heal skin wounds and infections when he used it to heal his own, following a laboratory accident.

Gattefossé conducted further studies on essential oils and how they have proven effective in treating soldiers’ wounds in World War I. By 1928, he founded the science of aromatherapy.

In the 1950s, aromatherapy has been widely used by estheticians, masseuses, doctors and healthcare practitioners. It faded a bit into obscurity until it became popular again in the 1980s.

Many think that buying aromatherapy products are mere luxuries, but the benefits of these products go beyond making your home smell like a day spa. Studies have proven that aromatherapy helps cure a wide range of illnesses, reduces anxiety and stress, promotes weight loss in obese people, and complements traditional health care.

Case in point: France and majority of Western Europe combine aromatherapy with mainstream medicine due to its antibacterial and antiviral benefits, according to Medical News Today. France, in particular, has a highly specialized form of aromatherapy, which involves performing a lab culture of an infected tissue to determine which essential oil should be best used for treatment or aromatogram.

The website also reported that France regulates the use of some essential oils, which can only be used under doctor’s supervision and bought with a prescription.

Let us take a look at the main benefits of aromatherapy and some products in the market that are perfect for do-it-yourself home aromatherapy.

It promotes weight loss. A study done by Niigata University in Japan and published in the Journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine suggests that the smell of grapefruit and lemon oil can stimulate sympathetic nerve activity in the white adipose tissues. This in turn promotes lipolysis—fat burning—which helps in weight loss and maintenance of an ideal body weight.

The study also proved that aside from scent, citrus flavors, in general, can boost sympathetic nerve activity, therefore promoting lipolysis and suppressing weight gain. So if you want to speed up your weight goals, make sure to include citrus fruits in your diet as well.

For citrus spray scents, Home Spa’s shower spray scents Pink Grapefruit or Tangerine are ideal. Home Spa is a trusted personal care brand from packaged consumer goods company Pacific Shore Holdings, Inc. (OTN: PSHR).

It maintains skin tone. Rapid weight loss can result in sagging skin. A rigorous massage routine with the use of aromatherapy oil, however, can tighten skin that is sagging because of drastic weight changes.

Massaging your body with the use of primrose oil, rosemary oil, frankincense oil, rosehip oil and carrot seed oil can help improve blood circulation and skin elasticity, according to a report on Natural News. Rosehip oil and carrot seed oil are high in Vitamins A and C, which both stimulate collagen production and tissue repair. USDA-approved essential oils from Badger Balm may just do the trick.

It prevents heart diseases. Due to its stress-relieving properties, aromatherapy is a proven way to prevent the onset of heart diseases. A report on the British Heart Foundation’s website said that Taiwanese researchers have discovered that short-term exposure to aromatherapy oil vapors can reduce one’s heart rate and blood pressure.

The researchers measured the heart rate and blood pressure of 100 spa workers who have been exposed to essential oil vapors. They discovered that the subjects had reduced blood rate and pressure within 15 and 60 minutes of inhaling the vapors. The results of the study were published in The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. For aromatherapy diffusers, burners and vaporizers, the UK-based Quinessence brand is recommended.

It helps overcome depression. Aromatherapy has been proven to effectively treat the symptoms of mild depression and helps wean depressed people from relying on medications. Or, it can complement the use of antidepressants.

The citrus fragrance, floral and spicy notes of essential oils help relieve stress and anxiety, according to an article on How Stuff Works. The article also notes the recommendations of 17th century herbalist John Gerard, who suggested using sage to ease stress and symptoms of mental disorders.

UK-based non-profit group Journeys meanwhile notes that the scent of lavender activates alpha waves in the back of the head, which is linked to relaxation. Home Spa lavender or eucalyptus shower sprays help calm your senses and stabilize your mood.

It helps manage chronic pain. Chronic pain cost affects around 80 million people in the United States and costs $70 billion annually. Aromatherapy can activate the body’s parasympathetic response, which leads to deep relaxation, according to a study published on the Journal of Alternative Therapies and Medicine. Relaxation, the study revealed, has been proven to “alter perceptions of pain.”

The study maintains that even if clinical trials are still ongoing, evidence exists that aromatherapy can be used to complement traditional pain management. In fact, one state board of nursing in the U.S. is advocating the use of aromatherapy in holistic nursing care.

Young Living Essential Oils offers an extensive range of essential oil variants that are perfect for massage use. They also have oils for beauty and anti-aging use.

Note that aromatherapy involves only the use of essential oils. Don’t be fooled by many personal care and household products sold in the market for “aromatherapy” purposes. Check their label—if they make use of synthetic oils or fragrances, then they do not have the same benefits as essential oils.

From anti-aging to pain management, the positive health benefits of aromatherapy are indeed indispensable to you and your family’s health. Make aromatherapy not just an option, but a staple to your health and wellness regimen.

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