Among all the variety of methods of alternative medicine, such as herbal-medicine, acupuncture and so on, one of the leading places is given to aromatherapy, which is explained by its effectiveness, the possibility of conducting procedures on their own. Aromatic substances can have a wide range of effects on the human body, have anti-stress, calming, invigorating, cosmetic effect, relieve headaches and other symptoms of colds.
Aromatherapy as a cure
Unlike herbal-medicine which supposes use of different herbal mixtures, ointments, herbal-medicine, tinctures prepared with the use of all possible parts of plants (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, buds, shoots, fruits, seeds) aromatherapy procedures are conducted with the help of essential oily substances obtained from different parts of plants. Contained in their useful components enter the body through the respiratory organs, skin. The name of this direction of alternative medicine has Greek roots: aroma – smell, therapy – treatment.
The impact of aromatic substances not only heals the body, but also brings calm, inspiration, promotes harmonization, has an impact on the spiritual condition of man. At the same time, the action of essential oils leads to more rapid results, because they get inside not only through the skin, even during bathing and massaging, but also through the olfactory organs, which quickly and acutely respond to any irritant.
Therapeutic effect of aromatherapy is due to the high content in the composition of aromatic oils of multicomponent organic compounds. Among them are components such as:
- terpenes and so on.
The substance extracted from essential-oil plants, called essential oil, has a molecular structure that differs from that of vegetable oils. Not only does it evaporate quickly, without leaving behind the characteristic oil slick characteristic of conventional oils, but it also penetrates easily through the epithelium, entering the lymphatic vessels. Through the lymphatic system, biologically active substances are quickly dispersed throughout the body, penetrating to various organs, having a beneficial effect on them.
This property of aromatic oils is widely used in the creation of aromatic cosmetics. Applied on the surface of the skin, hair, they penetrate deep into the skin and make up for the lack of natural biologically active substances necessary for humans, such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals.
The main properties of essential oils
The impact of aromatic substances on humans due to their ability to influence not only the external manifestations of disease, their symptoms, but also to directly control, regulate the processes occurring in the body. In this case, the effect has three components:
- Pharmacological character is caused by chemical changes, which are caused by the interaction of constituent biologically active substances with human enzymes and hormones;
- Physiological direction is determined by calming, stimulating excitatory reactions of the body to different smells;
- psychological impact is associated with the individual characteristics of each person.
In addition, there is an allergic (immunological) and non-immunological effect of cosmetic oils. Their effectiveness depends on the concentration, the dose, of the substance included in cosmetic products. To determine the possible reaction of the body to the irritant (essential oil) is necessary before you start using the drug to conduct a tolerance test. To do this, a small amount of the substance is applied to the area of the body where the skin is particularly delicate, susceptible: the elbow bend, the wrists, behind the ear.
Depending on the needs of the body, the required reaction to the irritant, it is necessary to choose oils made from different plants. So, for example, the table below lists the most commonly used herbs and the effect that products made from them have.
Types of aromatherapy
Due to such a variety of effects, the same oils can be used for a variety of procedures. Many people widely practice inhalation of essential oils, for which are designed a variety of aroma lamps, aroma clusters. For cosmetic effect, the most effective tools of aromatherapy are SPA-procedures, which lead to the effects of essential oils, both on the skin and in the upper respiratory tract, which increases the response. Among the main, most commonly used methods are the following procedures.
- Sauna, baths, tubs
- compresses, wraps
- Cosmetic products enriched with aroma oils
These are powerful methods of action on the body through the upper respiratory tract under the influence of high temperature. In this case not only the lungs are involved, but also the nervous system and the surface of the skin, which leads to the removal of stress, relaxation, clearing of pores. Most often extracts obtained from chamomile, lemon, bergamot are used to achieve the effect.
The combination of a universal base oil and essential oil (as an aroma therapeutic tool) during the procedure allows you to relieve stress, relax muscles, or if necessary, tone them. As the base oils are used predominantly vegetable oils: olive, peach, almond, jojoba, avocado. The choice of essential product is determined by the purpose of the massage procedure.
They are used when it is necessary to affect a separate, small area of the skin surface. Aromatic oil is mixed with alcohol or base. The resulting solution is used as an impregnation for a cotton disc, a napkin or a small piece of absorbent cotton, which is then applied to the problem area. The duration of the procedure can be from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the general condition of the person, the body’s reaction to the effects.
The procedure consists of directly applying a thick layer of an aromatic substance on the skin. Depending on the chosen remedy, the result can be:
- Warming of deep layers of the skin like a warming compress;
- Irritation of nerve endings, which helps to activate the nourishment process;
- Muscle relaxation.
The use of aromatherapy masks can even out skin color, remove blemishes, soften it, start the regeneration process, increase turgor, smooth out wrinkles and activate the blood supply.
These procedures are divided into two types: hot and cold. To conduct them, a solution of water and essential oil is prepared in the following proportions: 8-10 drops of the active substance per 200 ml of water. The resulting composition is soaked in a cotton napkin, a sheet, a towel or simply a piece of cloth and wrapped around the problem area.
After quite “hard” methods of impact on the skin, such as elation, on their surface there may be a negative reaction in the form of redness, irritation, itching. Soothe the skin, relieve stress, even out the topography and color will help irrigation, rinsing with the addition of aromatic substances derived from pine, chamomile.
Aromatic oils are widely used in industrial cosmetology. They are used as one of the main components, in the manufacture of cosmetic preparations for hair, face skin, feet, hands. In properly chosen proportions, the purpose of care products (shower gel, balm, conditioner, shampoo for hair, face mask) can have a calming or toning, anti-inflammatory or rejuvenating effect.
Essential oils can also be used at home for body and hair care. Since they contain biologically active substances in high concentrations, their use in pure form can lead to severe adverse effects. Therefore, before the procedure it is recommended to dilute them with the base, choosing as such sour cream, kefir, whey, honey, sea or table salt, liquid soap, cream and so on.
What is aromatherapy at a spa?
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote physical and emotional well-being. The scents from these oils are thought to have a therapeutic effect on the body, mind, and mood.
Aromatherapy at a spa usually involves massage or other treatments that are performed with the use of essential oils.
What happens during an aromatherapy session?
Aromatherapy is the use of volatile plant materials, such as essential oils, to promote physical and emotional health.
The benefits of aromatherapy are not limited to just treating colds or easing tension. It can also be used for pain management, to help with sleep (insomnia), and to ward off depression.
The practice of aromatherapy has been around for centuries. The earliest known mention of aromatherapy was in the Bible when Mary Magdalene anointed Jesus’ feet with oil from spikenard in John 12:3-9.
What’s the difference between massage and aromatherapy?
Massage is a hands-on technique that uses pressure, manipulation, and kneading to improve the health of muscles and other soft tissues. Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine that employs the use of essential oils or aromatic plant extracts.
Massage therapy has been used for centuries as a way to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It helps people relax by stimulating endorphins. It also improves circulation by breaking up congestion in the muscles and joints. Aromatherapy also relieves stress but in different ways than massage therapy does. It calms people by stimulating their olfactory senses which are connected to the limbic system which regulates emotions like fear and anger.