Aromatherapy's therapeutic effectiveness has been used in healing a variety of health conditions. The National Cancer Institute has studied the use of aromatherapy for use in cancer patients to reduce stress, anxiety and improve sleep as a complementary health approach to treatment. But, what is aromatherapy? Is aromatherapy right for you?
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants (flowers, herbs, or trees) as a complementary health approach to manage symptoms and improve the mind, body and spirit.
There are many essential oils used in aromatherapy, like chamomile, geranium, lavender, tea tree, lemon, ginger, cedarwood, and bergamot. Each plant's essential oil has a different chemical make-up that affects how it smells, how it is absorbed, and how it affects the body.
Aromatherapy is used in several ways.
- Indirect inhalation: You breathe in an essential oil by using a room diffuser, which spreads the essential oil through the air, or by placing drops on a tissue or piece of cotton nearby.
- Direct inhalation: You breathe in an essential oil by using an individual inhaler made by floating essential oil drops on top of hot water.
- Massage: One or more essential oils is diluted into a carrier oil and massaged into the skin.
If you're looking for alternative ways to relieve stress, ease pain and promote sleep, aromatherapy is generally safe to use.