Aromatherapy has been used since ancient times as a natural healing aid, promoting emotional and physical well-being. Although not recognized as a legitimate branch of medicine in the U.S., aromatherapy is a holistic therapy practiced by many doctors and scientists overseas. It’s also incorporated into numerous spa treatments and beauty products.
Essential oils work in one of two ways: through absorption or inhalation, although there are also some benefits associated with aerial diffusion (room fragrancing) as well.
The Two Delivery Systems:
1. Absorption. This method is best for muscle aches and joint pains. When essential oils are applied to the skin, the molecules pass through the skin and are carried away by the capillary blood circulated in the dermis. These molecules are then taken into the lymphatic and extracellular fluids. The body takes the most vital properties of essential oils and uses what it needs; the rest is then metabolized and eliminated with the body’s waste.
2. Inhalation. This method is best for alleviating sinus congestions, but not recommended for those with asthma. The quickest and most effective way to use essential oils for emotional well-being is through inhalation, because it provides the most direct route to the brain. Essential oils have tiny molecules that, when inhaled, reach the olfactory epithelium, which is two groups of about 25 million receptor cells at the top of the nostrils. Odors are then converted into messages, which are relayed to the brain for processing.
In spas, there is a variety of ways to receive the benefits of aromatherapy. Popular treatments include aromatherapy massages, facials, wraps and hydrotherapy baths to which essential oils have been added.
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