Aromatherapy has been part of many cultures for thousands of years, and it is a great way to prompt relaxation, balance, and to manage stress. It is a type of alternative medicine that consists of plant materials (essential oils) and a number of other aromatic compounds, that when combined, have the ability to improve health, cognitive function and even state of mind.
Tea tree, a very popular essential oil, has been known to produce anti-microbial effects for its users, however there still remains very little clinical evidence of anti-bacterial, viral or fungal effects.
The practice of aromatherapy has produced skeptics all over the world, however there has been a particular lack of research or study on its methodology. Many people believe that aromatherapy has the ability to prevent disease, and users of essential oils claim that they reduce anxiety, hair loss and eczema while enhancing short term memory and energy.
Experts have offered two mechanisms to explain the effects of aromatherapy and essential oils. Firstly, they believe that the brain is influenced by oil aromas, specifically the limbic system though the olfactory system. The second effect is pharmacological effect that essential oils have on the body.
Although the efficacy of the therapy continues to remain unproven, aromatherapists believe the synergy between body and oils is the key to maintaining wellbeing and control.
People who support aromatherapy believe that essential oils contain a part of the life force of the plant they were made from. Combined with the body’s own energy, this balances the different forces that surround your body, therefore promoting wellbeing and healing, while also purging any other negative vibrations.
Scientists believe that relaxation and the many other benefits of aromatherapy may be caused by the placebo effect rather than any physiological imposition by essential oils. Although some aromas do show to induce mood-related effects on the human body, there continues to be a consensus between medical professions that there just isn’t enough evidence to support aromatherapy as definitive treatment. Historical literature suggests that effects of aromatherapy are based on anecdotal evidence instead of actual proof that it has the potential to cure disease.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, and essential oil manufacturers are continuing to warn users of the safety concerns surrounding aromatherapy. Apart from irritating the skin when used in its diluted form, oils that contain citrus peel can also produce phototoxic reactions. Furthermore, there could be some reaction to chemical allergies if the original plant was cultivated with pesticides. When applying essential oils in the home, cats and dogs have also been known to be affected by the toxic scents.
Depending on the type and amount of essential oils a person uses, the effects of aromatherapy can significantly vary. Apart from helping you feel better emotionally, oils can also reduce digestive problems as well as aid sleepless nights. The application of the oils on certain areas of the skin can also reduce restlessness, and from pouring them into your bath to massaging them into your scalp, essential oils are a great way to revitalise your body.
This guest post has been written and contributed by Brit blogger Zoe. She has written this post on behalf of Ungerer Limited – creating beautiful scents and flavours to enliven your senses.