Aromatherapy as an Aspect of Holistic Healing - Herbal Remedies Facts | Herbal Remedies Facts

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Aromatherapy as an Aspect of Holistic Healing

Essential oils are extracted from the plant inhabitants of diverse regions of the world for use in aromatherapy. The art was invented by our talented Egyptian ancestors who used it in their religious rituals, for healing, and for the enhancement of beauty and sensuality. However the term ‘aromatherapy’ wasn’t coined until much later in the day (eighty years ago) in France, when a chemist called Gattefossé burnt his hand while at work in his perfumery and instinctively plunged it into a vat of Lavender oil. He observed that his injury healed remarkably quickly, and no doubt there was great excitement in the perfumery when the chemist realized that Lavender oil has powerful healing properties.

Plants whose fragrances hang heavy in the air on dusky Arabian nights, infuse Chinese teas with their delicate scents and lend their bouquets to sophisticated French perfumes are frequently used in aromatherapy. Take Jasmine, for example. It takes about eight million pristine white flowers, all picked before sunrise (Jasmine flowers at night) to produce one kilogram of the exquisitely scented deep red oil.

No wonder then that Jasmine oil is rather expensive.

Don’t let this fact put you off taking up aromatherapy though. The oils are potent and only a few tiny drops are used in preparations. If you store them properly they will last for a long time. They’re worth saving up for and you might well find yourself saving money in the long run because they can be used for making beauty treatments, bathing products, household cleaners, air fresheners and insect repellents.

AromatherapyThe olfactory sense (sense of smell) enables direct contact between the brain and the outside world because of the presence of nerve receptors in the nasal passages. When an aroma reaches our nostrils, the nerve receptors convey messages to the brain’s limbic area. Memories are stored in the limbic area.

Have you ever walked into a shop and breathed in a smell that instantly ignited a vivid childhood memory? This happened because you detected the same aroma as you smelt in a shop when you were a child. This phenomenon can be explained by the connections between the nerve receptors in our noses and the limbic system’s store of memories. A French novelist called Marcel Proust wrote in depth about the ability of sensory input to evoke powerful memories in a novel called ‘À la Recherche du Temps Perdu’. Proust’s observations are often referred to in the ‘memory’ section of psychology text books, and the term ‘Proustian memory’ is now often used to describe this phenomenon.

The essential oils used in aromatherapy have healing properties and they can help to alleviate the stress that we accumulate in the course of our daily lives. Stress may reduce the body’s ability to resist disease therefore it seems fair to say that while aromatherapy cannot cure diseases, it makes a valuable contribution to the prevention of disease. The oils can soothe tattered nerves, calm anxiety, invigorate, and instill a meditative frame of mind by causing us to relax. The art of choosing your oils and designing a mix to suit a particular situation is therapeutic in itself.

The oils are diluted, either with water or carrier oil. They can be heated in an oil burner, so that the fragrance diffuses in the air, used in steam inhalations, added to a warm, relaxing bath, or applied to the body by massage.

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