The Health Benefits of Aromatherapy
The use of fragrances for the well-being of man dates back to pre-historic times. Oils and incense have been used for thousands of years to calm nerves, heal wounds, achieve a higher mental state and even to call for the attention of deceased relatives.
Although modern science can not prove that aromatherapy will bring back the dead, there is no doubt about the effect on the human psyche. Everyday, millions of people are made to feel better by the burning of incense sticks, photographed candles and other ways to enjoy the large variety of fragrances available.
The term aromatherapy was coined in 1928, when French chemist R. Gattefossé, by a stroke of bad luck, accidently burned himself on the hand in his lab and instinctively put his hand into a bowl of lavendar oil in order to reduce the pain. He noticed that the burn wound healed very quickly and left almost no scarring. From then on he devoted his life to investigating the healing benefits of essential oils.
For the last decades the physical healing powers of aromatherapy have been somewhat pushed away in favor of the effects on the human mind. Some fragrances can reduce stress, others can help over-coming a depression. Lavendar, bergamot, roses and violets, for example are said to get rid of nervousness. Peppermint will make you happy, and so on.
We all know the power that smell can have on our mind. Meeting someone for the first time in a place that stinks might make you actually dislike the person you are seeing, even if the foul smell does not originate from him or her. And if it was not for the power our noses have over our logical brain we would not be spending billions of dollars on perfume and eau de cologne each year.
Seeing a photo from your daughter's wedding might make you remember the actual events that took place on that day, but smelling a drop of rose oil will actually take you back to the state of mind you had then. You can re-live the moment of happiness over and over again.
So how do you go about taking advantage of the healing powers of aromatherapy? First of all, you must decide for what you want to use it. If you have an important exam tomorrow, you probably need something that will calm your nerves. Then orange or coriander could be a good choice. If a loved one just passed away your grief can be relieved by bergamot or jasmine.
Your local health store should be able to assist you in selecting the best fragrance for you.
The next thing to decide is what method of dispersion you want to use. There are incense sticks, essential oils and scented candles. Which one you use is up to you, although oils are probably the most versatile of the three. Oils can be vaporized, rubbed onto the skin or put into the bathtub, all according to your preference.
The third and final thing to do is … well .. take a deep breath through your nose and relax!