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Essential Oils, Scents, and Your Brain
A form of alternative medicine that has been in practice for centuries, aromatherapy uses essential oils to aid in health and healing. While this practice would suggest the inhalation of scents, inhalation is not mandatory: it’s also possible to use essential oils by massaging them into the skin. There are many benefits to using essential oils, which can have a profound impact on emotional and physical health.
Overview of Essential Oils
Essential oils come from plant sources, typically the blossoms, roots, seeds, or leaves of plants. Different plants have different active ingredients. Essential oils are created by distilling these plant parts and combining various active ingredients from different plants. These extracts are usually quite potent, and they can alter emotional wellbeing through side effects such as inducing a relaxed mood. They can also alter physical wellbeing through side effects such as reducing inflammation.
The Science of Aromatherapy
Strong connections exist between olfactory receptors and the brain. When molecules are inhaled, a direct stimulation of the brain occurs, and this stimulation can impact both emotional and physical health. The effects on the brain due to the inhalation of these molecules can have effects similar to those of sedative medications. To encourage physical effects, the molecules also enter the bloodstream and interact with enzymes and hormones.
The Process of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy can involve the direct inhalation of molecules from a piece of fabric. It can also involve a vaporizer that delivers cool or warm steam into the air. Sprays can also contain essential oils, so spraying the mist into the air can enable inhalation. Some treatments include aromatherapy massage, which involves applying oils to the skin and massaging them in. During the massage process, it’s possible to inhale the oils at the same time that they are massaged into the skin, adding to its effects on the body.
Conditions and Benefits
This type of therapy has a variety of benefits. Some people use it to relieve pain, to induce relaxation, and to alleviate anxiety. Depending on the extracts used, this remedy can help people achieve a deep, relaxed state.
Scents such as lavender, sandalwood, and bergamot can help treat depression and stress in some people. Citrus may help boost the immune system when inhaled. Women experiencing premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms may notice improved symptoms after using clary sage and fennel. Other conditions that aromatherapy may help include insomnia, pain management, constipation, and psoriasis.
People searching for natural remedies to improve health and wellbeing might choose to explore this form of therapy. Health benefits may rise dramatically with the combination of inhalation and massage, making this treatment a viable option for treating issues and illnesses.