Aromatherapy can be understood as the therapeutic use of essential oils that can be administered via oral, topical, or inhalation. Aromatherapy is grounded in the belief that the physical body, spiritual body, and energy body are not mutually exclusive. This non-pharmacological therapeutic manipulation of the human biofield and physiological processes has been practiced by cultures and civilizations from ancient history to the present day. Anxiety, pain, and distress can compromise your comprehensive health, well-being, and quality of life as your psychological well-being is connected to your optimal health. Aromatherapy can help to ground us and bring us back to our bodies. Clinical aromatherapy is currently one of the most rapidly progressing complementary and alternative medicine (i.e., CAM) treatment modalities. Numerous clinical studies have confirmed the healing properties of essential oils suggesting that aromatherapy is a mind-body medicine modality that can abet whole-body healing.
Clinical aromatherapy is routinely used by doctors, massage therapists, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, and many other healthcare workers in the United States. It may also be used as a topical agent for the effective relief of many clinical and medical complaints (e.g., postoperative pain, anxiety, sedation, and depression, cancer-related quality of life and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, insomnia, relaxation, general stress, pain, and anxiety relief, postoperative nausea and vomiting, migraine headaches, neonatal apnea, and sexual stimulation, dysmenorrhea, fibromyalgia, labor pain, postoperative pain, and postpartum complications). Clinical aromatherapy can be used to nullify a clients anticipatory anxiety, fortify resilience to inimical stimuli, and to intensify positive imagery for the patient. Aromatherapy is an economical energetic medicine that can easily be adapted to any lifestyle. In such clinical settings, aromatherapy is often used to maximize patient's contribution to their individual healing process..
Essential oils are volatile oils derived from aromatic plants and extracted by a steam distillation method. In this manner, the essential oils retain the energy and essence of the plant's quintessential smell and taste characteristics. Aromatherapy essential oils may be vaporized by heating the oil in some type of diffuser or by applying the oil directly in a hot bath. Alternatively, the oil may be applied topically such as via aromatherapy massage, applied directly to the scalp, hands or feet during an aromatherapy reflexology session. The vaporized essential oils of aromatic plants are used to elicit specific physiological and pharmacological effects. Some constituents of vapors may pass into the bloodstream via the lungs; lipophilic constituents might cross the blood-brain barrier and act directly on brain neurons. Aromatherapy works to influence the physical body, the mind (and all of the emotions triggered by it), and the spiritual bodies. It operates via the activation of the limbic system and the neuroendocrine pathways in the brain such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or the limbic system are central to connecting body functions with the mind, memory, and emotions. Aromatherapy affects the hypothalamus, and immune system as well.
Lavender aromatherapy has been linked with the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system stimulation which enhances beta power for decreased anxiety and increased sedation. Lavender has also been found to be an effective method of reducing stress-related symptoms. Jasmine and frankincense have demonstrated transition effectiveness while Salvia sclarea (commonly known as Clary sage) has been shown to be a proven stress reducer. The overall labor and birth experience of mothers can be enhanced as the aromatherapy intervention may comfort laboring mothers from the related pain, anxieties, physical and emotional distress of the birthing process by integrating clinical aromatherapy into maternal health care. Aromatherapy can involve the use of essential oils (e.g., flower, herbs, aromatic plant oils) that are delivered during medical procedures such as labor or operations via massage, steam or burner inhalation. Rosa damascena (commonly known as Rose oil) can be particularly beneficial during the early stages of labor when more women can experience a great deal of anxiety.
Safety and Effectiveness
Aromatherapy has been clinically shown to be largely safe and effective for the average adult by the inhalation method for short-term use or when appropriately applied to the skin (topical application method) but these oils can be potentially unsafe if ingested. The inhalation method of aromatherapy method can be used in the treatment of a myriad of amoebic and inorganic issues related to medical, clinical procedures or biological distress. Inhaled aromas are believed to act much more quickly than applying essential oils to the skin or oral ingestion. Ingestion is the least common use of essential oil therapy potentially due to safety concerns.
Applying aromatherapy oils to warm bath water or vaporizing the fragrance through heating does not have any significant reported side effects. Oregano, thyme, savory, clove, cinnamon, cumin, aniseed, fennel, anise star, sweet birch, and wintergreen essential oils should be avoided by pregnant women. Applying aromatherapy oils to the skin in moderate amounts can sometimes cause skin irritation, depending on the oil being used. Aromatherapy oils are not recommended to be applied to large portions of the skin, in excessive amounts, or broken skin as this can result in severe side effects such as seizures and kidney problems . Adequate clinical aromatherapy training is highly recommended because aromatherapy involves the use of complex essential oils and concentrated extracts and proper training can aid the practitioner's confidence and comfort when advising patients about potential side effects and drug to drug interactions.