Aromatherapy: Bridge between Body, Mind and Soul
Aromatherapy is a technique of healing and altering the psychological state, cognitive and physical condition of a human being with the implementation of aromatic plant oils extracted from several species of plants. This practice helps to maintain cognitive and physiological balance. This therapy can be considered as a part of herbal medicine practice as it deals with the essential oils and aromatic compounds extracted from the medicinal herbs.
The scientific aspect of aromatherapy is to know the serene effect of the aromatic chemical compounds present in the essential oils over the human body. It is sometimes offered as a complementary therapy along with the standard treatment.
Aromatherapists are specialised technicians who know the use of the compounds. They utilise the blends of the therapeutic oils by topical applications, massaging, inhalation or water immersion to stimulate the patient’s body and get the desired response.
The use is topical. The problems that are treated with this technique are pain, anxiety reduction, panic attack, depression, enhancement of energy, short-term memory dysfunction, hair loss, eczema and other skin problems. The oils induce relaxation and help the patients to synchronise their minds with their bodies.
The basic mechanism of the aromatherapy is the influence of the aroma on the brain, especially affecting the limbic system through the olfactory system. The topical application of these oils works directly on the skin diseases as well as induces relaxation among the patients. The oils directly open the olfactory receptors and stimulate the part of the brain that affects emotion. The limbic system picks up the essence stimulating the physiological functions and even the sleeping part of the brain for psychological balance. The neurological system then immediately starts releasing certain enzymes and hormones like serotonin counteracting anxiety, endorphins which reduce pain and exfoliate sexual response.
Oils like lemon oil are used to uplift mood and relieve stress, relaxing the patient. Sage oil is also suggested to boost short-term memory function. It is also recommended as a dietary supplement. The aromatic chemical compounds used in this therapy are essential oils, absolutes, carrier oils, infusions and vaporisers. These compounds are extracted from the plants by solvent extraction and distillation. The distillates or extracts are very concentrated and may induce itching or inflammation when applied directly or inhaled. So the therapeutic doses are set by the experts as per the requirement of the patients for safe applications. The oils are volatile in nature, so they must be stored carefully.
Essential oils The use of essential oils is historic. Evidence show that these oils were used for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic and ritualistic purposes long back in the ancient civilisations like Chinese, Indians, Greek, Mayans, Egyptians and Romans. Ancient application depicts the connection between mind, body and soul properly bridged by the use of aromatic oils. Contemporary research has proved vast and exclusive uses of these oils like antimicrobial antifungal, softens skin retaining moisture, culinary uses, psychological impact in mood elevation without any side effects.