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Aromatherapy Techniques

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Cosmopolitan Spa Therapies


Aromatherapy:


The properties of aromatic plants have been recognised and used for health purposes for many centuries. The Egyptians in particular, have a rich history of using aromatic plants - for instance as perfumes and to embalm their dead. Furthermore, Imhotep, the Egyptian God Of Medicine, is said to have recommended fragrant oils for bathing and massaging. Much of aromatherapy as we know it today began with Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist. In 1910 a laboratory explosion caused his hands to be badly burnt. After immersing his hands in lavender oil, he found the oil not obly healed his hands quickly, but also left it without scar or infection. Following the incident he devoted his life to the study of essential oils, and is credited with coining the term 'aromatherapy', which literally means 'therapy through aroma or scent'. However research on aromatherapy waned until World War II when a French doctor, Dr Jean Valnet, recognised the antibiotic and healing properties of essential oils when treating injured soldiers. He later documented his findings in his book, Aromatherapie. In the late 1950s, Madame Marguerite Maury introduced the use of aromatics in massages. Trained as a biochemist she was unable to disperse essential oils as medicine and so sought a way to use them for therapeutic and cosmetic benefits. Today, aromatherapy is used in many different ways although essential oils remain the basis for all traditional aromatherapy. Essential oils which are aromatic essences extracted from plants, flowers, trees, fruit, bark grasses and seeds, are believed to contain therapeutic, psycholigical and physiological properties. These properties are mostly antiseptic with other properties being antiviral, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, anti-depressant and expectorant. About 150 essential oils have been identified thus far. They may be inhaled, used in massages or added to baths. Depending on what is needed, an aromatherapist may select an essential oil or blend a few for use. For instance muscle pain may be caused by stress or some other mental pressure. In such a case, the blend of essential oils created should relieve not only the muscle pain, but also the stress.

Essential Oils Uses
Lavender For stress-related disorders such as nervousness, insomnia, depression and skin complaints
Tea Tree Has anti-viral, antiseptic, fungicidal and immune-stimulant properties. Also good for skin complaints such as acne, rashes, dandruff as well as respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis.
Rosemary Has stimulant properties, particularly to the central nervous system, helps strengthen mental clarity and aid concentration. Also an expectorant and a tonic to the entire system.
Roman Chamomile A mild relaxant and anti-inflammatory agent, good for stomach, intestinal or menstrual problems and headaches. Also especially suitable for children.
Peppermint For digestive complaints such as nausea or indigestion, for respiratory problems and for treating colds, flu and fevers.

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