Contemporary Practices, Suitable Essential Oils, Safety Concerns and Types of Aromatherapy
The alignment of mainstream medicine with alternative therapies has become a trend for achieving holistic health solutions. Aromatherapy is one such alternative therapy using therapeutic essential oils to treat several diseases. It is a natural way to heal the mind, body, and soul of the person. Essential oils are volatile liquid compounds extracted from leaves, barks, roots, fruits, flowers, and the other parts of plants by different processing methods. Topical application, inhalation, and baths are the major methods used to penetrate oils into the human skin and aura. As essential oils enter the physical or mental aura, they attune themselves and work in a friendly manner to alleviate the affected area. Multiple essential oils prove to be more effective when their application is integrated with diet and other aspects.
Aromatherapy deploys several permutations and combinations for numerous ailments such as anxiety, depression, headache, insomnia, respiratory problems, swollen joints, skin issues, digestive disorders, muscular pain, and urine related ailments. Essential oils are a combination of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, alcohol, aldehydes, phenols, terpenes, ketones, ethers, oxides, phenols, and ester, producing a characteristic scent. Most essential oils are colorless or pale yellow potent concentrated oils with a high refractive index. Their application and inhalation relieve stress and rejuvenate the skin.
The antibacterial, antibiotic and antiviral properties of oils are useful in Alzheimer’s and cancerous, cardiovascular, & labour pain conditions. As per studies, aromatherapy enhances work ability and reduces reaction time as reflected by electroencephalogram patterns and functional images. The study also supported that the natural fragrances in essential oils are superior to synthetic fragrances that lack vital energy and contain irritants in the form of solvents and propellants.
How Essential Oils Work in Aromatherapy?
The stimulants present in essential oils resemble the active properties of hormones. When the essential oils are applied or inhaled, they reach the tissues located under the skin and receptor cells in the nose. The signal goes to the limbic and hypothalamus parts of the brain. It induces the release of neuro messengers such as serotonin, endorphin, noradrenalin, and others. Then, it integrates nervous and physical systems assuring the desired effect on the mind and body.
Essential Oils Recommended for Recurrent Problems
Sweet orange, Basil, Marjoram, Geranium, Patchouli, Lavender, Bergamot, and Angelica essential oils are effective for anxiety, stress, extreme behaviours, and agitation.
Lavender, German Chamomile, Sweet Marjoram, Pine, Ginger, and Rosemary essential oils are effective for pain management.
Frankincense and Sandalwood are useful in conditions of depression.
Neroli, Grapefruit, Black Peppermint, Citronella, Coriander, Juniper Berry, Lemon Balm, Sweet thyme, and Ravensara essential oils are good for sound sleep.
Helichrysum, Basil, and Peppermint essential oils are effective in conditions of mental exhaustion and burnout.
Rosemary and spearmint essential oils are helpful in conditions of memory loss.
For multiple purposes, the essential oils are classified based on their aroma in aromatherapy as follows,
Herbaceous Oils: The essential oils extracted from herbal plants have an herbaceous odour. They include basil, melissa, clary sage, marjoram, chamomile, rosemary, and peppermint.
Woody Oils: Essential oils extracted from the barks or woody parts of the plants carry woody aromas. They are cinnamon, Amyris, cypress, cedarwood, sandalwood, juniper berry, and others.
Camphoraceous Oils: The essential oils with a camphor-like strong aroma and healing properties come under this category. They include cajeput, tea-tree, and some others.
Citrus Oils: Essential oils extracted from the rinds of citrus fruits such as lemon, bergamot, grapefruit, orange, mandarin, and lime, and others emit citrus scent. They come under this category.
Floral Oils: The oils extracted from floral tops or flowers of the plants carry the sweet floral smell of parent plants. Geranium, ylang-ylang, jasmine, neroli, lavender, and others fall under this category.
Earthy Oils: Essential oils such as angelica, patchouli, vetiver, and others have a distinct earthy aroma.
Spice Oils: Essential oils extracted from spices or barks of spice plants such as thyme, cardamom, clove, aniseed, bay leaf, cumin, nutmeg, and black pepper come under this category. They emit their characteristic warm spicy scent.
Safety of Essential Oils
The essential oils are normally safe, and many of them are approved as food additives and fall in the category of safe substances as defined by ISO. However, they can be harmful in the following conditions
The essential oils can harm sensitive areas such as eyes, mucous membranes, or skin irritation if they contain aldehydes and phenols.
The topical application with sun exposure may lead to burns (phototoxicity) if the essential oils contain furocoumarins.
Inappropriate storage conditions induce oxidation of monoterpenes in essential oils and cause harm to the skin or hair.
Allergic reactions are possible due to changes in chemical composition or neat application.
No official studies have concluded that essential oils are harmful.
Types of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy varies based on the purpose and use of the aromatic products. Following aromatherapies are prevalent.
As the name implies, it is primarily for skin, hair, face, and body. It mainly works for physical appearance. Suitable aromatic essential oils are added to oil blends and cosmetic products. Then they are used to cleanse, moisturize, dry, and tone the facial & body skin and hair. A little addition of essential oils enriches the whole aromatherapy exposure. Full-body bath aromatherapy and hand & foot bath aromatherapy offer a wonderful experience.
The main purpose of massage aromatherapy is to heal the mind and body. It mostly combines grapeseed, almond, or jojoba oil with pure vegetable oil such as canola, olive, palm, peanut, sunflower, and cottonseed. The blend relaxes muscles and joints with an effective massage.
Medical aromatherapy is used during medical treatment and surgery of patients. However, it needs intricate knowledge and skills to conduct aromatherapy sessions. Modern aromatherapy founder Rene Maurice has made it popular.
Olfactory aromatherapy works on smell sense, so inhalation of particular essential oils is the major part of this aromatherapy. It uses essential oils connected with memories of the past and unlocks the memories connected with joyful events, which uplifts mood and releases tension & stress. It enhances calmness, emotional wellness and rejuvenates the nervous system.
Every essential oil has a unique aroma that induces certain emotions. In psycho aromatherapy, this facet of essential oil is explored to obtain the particular states of mood and feelings. Diffusion of essential oil in surroundings is the major part of this kind of aromatherapy. For example, Citric aromas of essential oils such as lemon, mandarin, lime, grapefruit, and bergamot instantly uplift mood and induce positive feelings.
The above-mentioned aromatherapies extensively use parts of natural plants besides essential oils. It deploys various flowers, cinnamon bark, peels of bergamot, lime, orange, lemon, tangerine or grapefruits, leaves of citronella, lemongrass, patchouli & palmarosa, roots of vetiver & ginger, and the whole plants. It is necessary to use pure essential oils produced by known aromatherapy essential oil manufacturers to derive wellness benefits.