Aromatherapy is an integrative therapy involving the use of essential oils for emotional, psychological and physical healing. Even though it is an ancient practice, aromatherapy has gained immense popularity in recent years. The essential oils that are intricately distilled possess the “lifeblood of the plant” assisting the living plant in its adaptation to various environmental conditions. These essential oils hold on to that lifeblood characteristic and have similar positive effects on humans and animals. It is important to understand the therapeutic, medicinal side of aromatherapy as it pertains to integrating such therapies in our current health care settings.
Where does Aromatherapy fit in the mental side of healing?
With the power of smell, the limbic system is activated and the emotional powerhouse is triggered. The properties contained in pure therapeutic essential oils can be calming, stress relieving, and can even change one’s perception; while the same oil may uplift and energize a person who needs an emotional boost. “It is established beyond doubt that essential oils can have physical impact in that they are bactericidal, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, appetite-stimulating, hyperaemic, expectorant, etc.” (Price, 2012)
1. Stress and Anxiety: Both Chronic and Acute
Aromatherapy is a simple, safe, cost-effective method that can reduce both acute and chronic stress.” (Jane Buckle, 2015) The following are examples of aromatherapy used for patient’s acute stress prior to the listed procedures: (Jane Buckle, 2015)
2. Pain and Inflammation
“The thalamus is involved in pain perception and interpretation and is part of the limbic system that analyses smell; therefore, there is an implicit suggestion that smell may affect the perception of pain.” (Jane Buckle, 2015) There are analgesic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties to be found in essential oils. These chemical components affect the human body through both smell and topical application, where carrier oil may need to be used. Studies include:
It is important to have access to a trained certified aromatherapist, like Progressive Health Center’s Aromatherapist Jen Georgi Davis, who has a wide-ranging knowledge in Aromatherapy and pharmaceuticals. Understanding the science of essential oils and utilizing their chemistry profiles is favorable; knowledge of the indications for use and general properties of essential oils help uphold the scientific traits. Quality and safety of essential oils to be used is of utmost importance. Specifically using only genuine essential oils in therapeutic treatments is crucial. Synergistic effects are enhanced in blended essential oils; but, there are skills needed in the practice of blending to achieve synergy.
“Although some essential oils do present hazards, which frighten the inadequately trained, the properly trained therapist will recognize the hazard and take account of it to minimize or obviate any risk.” (Price, 2012)
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Works Cited: Jane Buckle, P. R. (2015). Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Healthcare. London, UK: Elsevier. Price, S. P.-L. (2012). Aromatherapy for Health Professionals – Fourth Edition. worldwide: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier