All about aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is considered one of the therapeutic methods whose effectiveness is not officially confirmed. However, skeptics forget that the real proof of the effectiveness of aromatherapy is not the certificates issued by scientists, but centuries of tradition in using the healing properties of herbs and oils made from them.
Aromatherapy is not only used for healing, but also for cosmetology, but most importantly it has no side effects. It can be used preventively and not worry that, like pharmaceutical drugs, it will adversely affect the stomach or liver. Aromatherapy is also a cheap and readily available method, proper it is hard to find any disadvantages to this method of treatment.
The effectiveness of aromatherapy is so great because the sense of smell of humans, especially women, is extremely strong. Sometimes we don’t realize how many situations we are literally guided by our nose. It’s not just perfume, but a person’s individual natural scent that affects how we perceive them. What’s more, for different people a particular scent can elicit different reactions, especially when it comes to male-female relationships. This has a very scientific rationale – it is related to instinct, those people who smell nice to us are those who harmonize with us genetically. So if a woman finds a man sexy and exciting smelling, she should trust her nose and strive to develop such a friendship. This is the “chemistry” that is born when two newly acquainted people feel as if they have known each other for years. Men’s task is made more difficult because women, aware of the power of smell, are eager to change perfumes to achieve a specific goal through scent. Another thing is that a man’s main sense is sight, and it is usually guided by it in evaluating a female partner. However, scent affects him as well, especially when a woman knows how to use it. Fragrance, therefore, affects relationships and we can learn to use it. The smell of chamomile, which is associated with children, can make them perceive us as childish and potential partners, as well as employers, can be discouraged.
Already Proust, writing in his novel “In Search of Lost Time” about the emotions that the smell of chamomile caused in him, knew very well that smell is a carrier of memories. Thus, a person can be accustomed to the fact that a particular smell is associated with a particular event. If we always use the same perfume before night games, surely after some time our partner will react to the smell with a surge of desire. However, if we choose a fragrance note that he associates with a disliked person, we can only cool down the ardor, no matter how the ingredients were supposed to be stimulating. Sometimes we may not even remember what specific event we associate a scent with, but it will still evoke the associated emotions. This is because sensory memory is long-lasting and surprisingly precise.
Specific smells can also receive a specific association that will forever make them characterized in a particular way. Such a scent, for example, is lemon, the aroma of which is used in many cleaning products. Smelling lemon, no one will feel desire, because they will be reminded of thorough spring cleaning. A well-known and common example is also the change in response to the smell of clove oil. By the fact that it is used by dentists for decontamination, few people are able to give it pleasant associations. The smell itself in dental clinics also shows how strong the connection is between smell and feel. All we have to do is smell an odor approximating that of the clinic, and we already feel fear clenching our stomachs, even if there is no need for us to go to the dentist at that moment.
For purposes already specifically health-related, the most popular is inhalation, which is the inhalation of oil, usually heated beforehand, so that the scent is more intense and spreads more quickly in the air. Very popular and easy to use are aromatherapy fireplaces. They consist of a container for water, into which a few drops of the chosen oil are poured, and a place for a heater, which heats the water in the container with a gentle flame. Such fireplaces can have different looks, so they also serve as a decoration, while being very practical. Depending on the oil we decide on, such therapy has a health, cosmetic purpose or simply provides a nice scent in our apartment. On the other hand, it is beneficial in winter to add a few drops of oil to water containers put on radiators. The oil is heated thanks to the heat of the radiator. This provides us not only with adequate hydration, but also with fragrance, and by choosing warming oils, we will immediately become warmer and cozier on winter evenings.
A more intensive method of inhalation, and already focused mainly on health purposes, is to use more oil in a bowl of hot water and inhale the vapor, holding your head directly over the vessel. This particularly serves respiratory problems or throat diseases. However, it is also gladly used this way to cleanse the skin of the face and neckline. And to make the skin of the whole body benefit from the effects of the oil, you can add a few drops to the bath. Such a fragrant bath will be the perfect relaxation after a hard day. However, it is a good idea to first wash your body before showering and only then immerse yourself in water. For it to be effective you need to pour about 15 drops of oil and stay in the bath at least 10 minutes. The bath can last a long time, as long as the water is warm, sitting in cold water no longer has the full beneficial effects, as well as no longer being so pleasant. It’s also impossible to rinse off with running water, as it’s better for the oil to settle on our skin, protecting it and giving it a delicate, sensual scent.
When there is no time for a long bath, and only a particular part of the body insists on the use of oil, you can make a compress. Pour a few drops of oil on a gauze wetted in warm water and apply it to the appropriate place. This will help with cramps, muscle pain or rheumatism. However, if the problem is a headache, migraine or swelling from a bruise, the compress should obligatorily be cold.
Complementing the bath or compress is a massage, although without a bath will also bring wonderful results. The scent of the oil works on our sense of smell, while being absorbed by the skin. In turn, the massage itself not only removes tension and fatigue from our muscles, but also warms up the body, which makes the scent of the oil waft all the more intensely from our skin. Massage, like bathing, must be of sufficient length. It consists of appropriate stages, stroking, kneading, pressing and stroking again. For a massage to be effective, none of these stages can be skipped. It is also important to use not the essential oil itself, which by its concentration is too intense, but another unscented oil to serve as a base. To about a glass of base oil is added about 20-30 drops of medicinal oil. Unused oil can, of course, be left for later, in a cool, sunless place. A drugstore-bought product or oils used in the kitchen, such as coconut or grape seed oil, can serve as a base.
The power of herbs can be used not only when they are in the form of oils, the scent is also emitted when we burn them, either when they are in the form of dried or already finished incense. This form of using the scent of herbs in many cultures has been used in magical rituals for centuries. Such a smell is more intense and not to everyone’s liking, however, it adds an unusual atmosphere. The simplest, of course, are ready-made incense sticks in the form of sticks, which are lit at the end and which smoulder gently for several minutes spreading the scent. The choice of incense scents is just as huge as that of essential oils, so you can easily choose the one that suits you best. These incense sticks always have sandalwood in the composition, so if you don’t like this scent, you need to choose another form of incense. The solution then can be loose incense, which is basically just the dried herbs themselves, meant to be burned. This method, however, is not simple. In order for the incense to give off the right fragrance and health properties, it must slowly heat up and burn. For this, charcoal is used, onto which, once it is heated, the herbal mixture is poured. Unfortunately, this readily available charcoal, used at the barbecue, is not all-natural and is not suitable for aromatherapy. You can also try putting loose incense on heated stones, although this too is not easy in typical residential conditions.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are skeptics who refuse to consider aromatherapy as a branch of medicine. Fortunately, there are also those who confirm its effectiveness in a strictly scientific way. It is carefully studied what effect particular scents have on humans. Indeed, it is common to spray scents in various stores to make customers feel more comfortable and more willing to buy. In supermarkets, you can always smell fresh bread, because the smell makes people feel hungry and buy more. Essential oils also make a person more awake, full of energy and in a better mood, so they are readily used in workplaces. The scent of incense and oils is no longer just for fairies. So the psychology of scent offers various new opportunities, marketing professionals are increasingly taking advantage of this, and ordinary customers need to start learning to recognize these new ways of manipulation.
This is not the only negative effect that oils can have. Of course, they are not dangerous and you can’t overdose on them like regular drugs, but different oils have different effects and we need to keep this in mind when choosing them properly. We have already mentioned that oils have a high concentration and cannot be applied to the skin without dilution. Also, too much of them in a fireplace or incense can cause the opposite effect, as too intense scents can cause headaches or nausea. We should be especially cautious when we want to support a child with oils. There is no risk of harm from oils, but we should reduce the amount accordingly – the younger the child, the fewer drops of oil. Even more concerns arise in the case of pregnant women. They are then usually extremely sensitive to fragrances and it is better to avoid this type of therapy. Categorically, on the other hand, you need to eliminate those oils that affect hormones. The same substances are good to discontinue when a woman uses contraceptives, as they can neutralize their effect.
An obvious reason that forces one to stop using a particular oil is an allergy. This is not due to the risks in using aromatherapy, but to individual human reactions. Just as some foods trigger allergies, natural oils, after all, can trigger such allergic reactions. One should always remember to perform an allergy test before using a particular oil in full, that is, when its effect will be on the whole body. Another obvious prohibition is the consumption of oils – they are in no way intended for consumption.
Often oils are also used for tanning, they speed up the effect and give a nice color to the skin, as well as providing it with adequate hydration. Provided, however, that you choose the right oil wisely – the citrus ones can only do harm, as they make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. It’s always a good idea to consult a specialist if we have doubts about what oil to choose. Especially if you suffer from some chronic ailment, you should consult the use of an oil.
Another way to use oils at home is pot-pourri. This French word means a mixture of dried flowers, fruits or pieces of wood. This is even more aesthetically pleasing and decorative than the fireplace. Preferably, a mixture of your choice is poured into a glass vessel, either store-bought ready-made or created from ingredients of your choice. To enhance the fragrance, it is sprinkled with an oil, appropriately selected in terms of fragrance. The dried fragrance does not have a term of value, for a long time it can serve as a decoration, every now and then you just need to add oil when you consider that its fragrance has faded.
There is no reason not to use all methods at the same time, in the apartment fireplace, incense or pot-pourri. For the body, inhalation, bathing and massage. However, it is not always necessary all at once. It’s better to diversify these pleasures and use them alternately, so that you don’t get bored with it or feel fatigued. We said that smell has a very strong effect and stays in the memory for a long time. If we overuse a certain scent, we may start to have bad associations with it. Different oils, on the other hand, can form unfavorable mixtures, both in terms of neutralizing effects and the unpleasant smell they will give together.
So it’s worth getting some oil, taking advice from a specialist so as not to harm yourself and get the most out of the oils. At the same time, trust your nose, too. And then there is nothing left to do but sniff for health.