Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – Already proven to induce relaxation and improve sleep, new researches are being done to prove that aromatherapy has more medical benefits.
Aromatherapy can ease pain and anxiety and relieve colds, flu and constipation. But it can also reduce post-operative nausea and even help hair growth. At the Wesleyan University in Connecticut, researchers found that the scent of lavender increased deep, restful sleep for both men and women. A new study by New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center found that the vanilla-like aroma of heliotropin significantly reduced anxiety in patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
The medical use of aromatherapy is also being studied all over the world. Scottish researchers found that a combination of cedarwood, lavender, rosemary, and thyme oils helped patients with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair to fall out. In a 2002 study, English researchers found that applying lemon balm oil to the faces and arms of patients with severe dementia reduced their agitation by 35 percent.
In France and Japan, aromatherapy is used to treat diabetes and seizure disorders while some medical practitioners in the United States use it to improve the quality of life of cancer patients by reducing stress and anxiety.
“The profound and complete therapeutic effects of essential oils derive from more than their pleasant fragrance. They have vital electromagnetic properties and vibrational energies that invigorate the mind, the soul, the body’s energy, and thus their functioning,” according to aromatherapy expert Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.
Aromatherapy, whose modern revival dates back to the late 1920s, uses essential oils from flowers, leaves, fruits, barks or roots. Scents from the oil send chemical messages to the brain’s limbic system and produce emotional and psychological effects beneficial to the immune, respiratory and circulatory systems. Essential oils such as lavender, sweet marjoram, sandalwood, frankincense and sage can help lift depression, soothe irritable nerves and promotes a better state of mind by stimulating a neuro-chemical called serotonin that is naturally produced by the body to help relaxation and induce sleep.
Other health benefits from aromatherapy are the normalization of blood pressure levels, lowering of cholesterol levels, boosting of immunity, reducing muscle and joint pains, and improving the digestive system. It can help the mind to function properly so that the person generally feels well.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the brain requires a lot of oxygen to function properly. Inadequate oxygen can cause a person to feel confused and have trouble focusing. Michelle Schoffro Cook, author of “The Brain Wash,” points out that sesquiterpenes, chemicals found in some essential oils used in aromatherapy, have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, bringing more oxygen to the brain.
Aromatherapy can be used in various ways. Essential oils can be inhaled indirectly from a room diffuser, individual inhaler, vaporizer or in the bathwater. When inhaled, the minute molecules of essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream as the lungs work to oxygenate the blood. A signal is then sent directly to the limbic system in the brain, which is the centre of emotions, memory and sexual arousal, so that a person’s mood and state of mind is greatly improved.
Essential oils are used by licensed health professionals such as acupuncturists, nurses and naturopaths on their patients during treatment. In most cases, however, essential oils are used for massage.
During massage, the essential oils penetrate the skin and these are absorbed into the body fluid. These oils not only help to kill bacteria and viruses but also stimulate the body’s immune system, increase the circulation and help with the efficient elimination of toxins. Other oils have been known to promote new cell growth and encourage the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Massage is one of the best ways to enjoy aromatherapy. Together with the therapeutic properties of the essential oils, massage stimulates all of the organs in the body, including the skin, muscles, nerves and glands. Massage also helps increase the blood circulation to help reduce body toxins.
The use of aromatherapy in massage is considered one of the oldest healing arts. Many physical rehabilitation clinics found that the combination can relieve low back pain, arthritis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, smoking cessation, depression, among others.
Aromatherapy may be done at the comforts of the home. The therapy only needs herbal and bath oils and spa salts. A home spa helps remove metabolic wastes and toxins in the body while enhancing the oxygenation of extremities and joints. It improves blood circulation, which increases a person’s metabolic rate so the body burns calories faster.
Home aromatherapy is easy with the use of “Home Spa Shower Spray.” The product manufactured by Los Angeles-based consumer packaged goods company Pacific Shore Holdings, Inc. (OTC: PSHR) is a natural aromatherapy spray that gives home shower “the spa sensation.” The product is low-cost and comes in four familiar scents popular in spas around the world: eucalyptus, tangerine, grapefruit and lavender.