Aromatherapy To Beat Stress
Aromatherapy is reputed to be at least 6000 years old, and is believed to have been practised by most of the world's ancient civilisations. Early humans lived closely with their surroundings and were in tune with nature. Their sense of smell was highly acute and herbs and aromatics were commonly used in the preservation of food, as digestive aids or to treat a variety of ailments. Aromatherapy means 'treatment using scents' and is a holistic way of treating many symptoms, including stress. It can also be used in skin care, to alleviate tiredness and to treat pain. Using the sense of smell as a way of stimulating the nervous system and brain, aromatherapy is a popular and increasingly common holistic therapy. Essential oils can be intensly stimulating and the sense of smell a powerful one, thought to reach the part of the brain that controls mood, memory and emotions. Different smells can trigger different responses, and there are over 150 essential oils used in the practise of aromatherapy, each one either in combination or alone to target specific problems.
A full aromatherapy treatment is a truly wonderful experience, combining as it does, the beneficial properties of the essential oils with the warm relaxing atmosphere of a well-prepared massage and possibly the enjoyment of some soothing music. As a holistic form of treatment, aromatherapy aims to deal with the underlying cause of the complaint, as well as the symptoms, and the form of treatment is very important when dealing with stress-related problems as a physical symptom is more often than not a manifestation of an underlying psychological or emotional problem. You may want to visit an aromatherapy practitioner to find out whether these treatments are for you, but there are several aromatherapy practices that you can use at home for day-to-day relaxation.
A popular way to use the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy is through massage. Depending upon what mood you want to create, aromatherapy massage can be stimulating, sensual or relaxing. Oils are absorbed into the skin and inhaled while the massage takes place. You can use this method to self-massage or have someone else massage you. The benefits of aromatherapy massage are that it also eases muscle tension or aches and pains. By adding several drops of essential oil to the bath, you create a haven of relaxation, and the oils can be done by adding three or four drops of your chosen oil to a bowl of steaming warm water and placing a towel over your head and the bowl to channel the vapours. This treatment is useful for those who suffer from headaches, sinus problems or who simply want an intense relaxation experience. Using a diffuser or burner can give an entire room a different feel by choosing either an invigorating, comforting or sensual oil. It can also help to aid concentration or be used to freshen the air. Aromatherapy compresses are often used to alleviate headaches or aches and pains. Massage the area that is painful with your oil and then cover with a hot or cold flannel. It is important to remember that aromatherapy oils should never be used on their own, but always in a carrier oil, such as wheatgerm, avocado or sweet almond. It is always advisable to check labeling or consult an aromatherapist during pregnancy as some oils are deemed unsuitable for use at this time.
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