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Guide to aromatherapy

Introduction to aromatherapy

The use of aromatherapy and aromatherapy oils is becoming more and more mainstream, but can aromatherapy really benefit and enhance a healthy active lifestyle?

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment involving the use of essential oils that have been extracted from plants. The oils possess distinctive therapeutic properties which can help to improve a person’s health and prevent disease. These natural oils can be used in a variety of ways including during massage, in baths, or through inhalation. Some of the popular oils used in aromatherapy include chamomile, lemon, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, and tea tree.

Before your first aromatherapy session you will usually be asked questions about your medical history, general health and lifestyle, which will help the aromatherapist to decide which essential oils are most appropriate for you. The appropriate essential oils will then be applied in combination with massage. A session will normally last around 60 to 90 minutes, and will usually cost between £20 and £40.

What is the purpose of aromatherapy?

Essential oils contain chemical components which are thought to exert specific effects on the mind and body. The basic principle of aromatherapy is to strengthen the self-healing process by indirect stimulation of the immune system. Smelling certain oils is thought to have an effect on mood, alleviate fatigue, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation – for example, lavender is associated with relaxation, while jasmine is thought to bring about an alert state of mind.

What are the benefits of aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is used to relieve pain, take care of the skin, alleviate tension and fatigue, and invigorate the entire body. It is considered to be a particularly effective treatment for stress-related problems.

There are around 150 essential oils used in aromatherapy, which are thought to have a number of benefits, including antiviral, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antidepressant properties. They can also aid stimulation, relaxation and digestion, and can have diuretic properties.

Interestingly, the effects of aromatherapy tend to vary from person to person, and no two people will be affected by the same essential oil in exactly the same way. Even the same person can be affected differently by the same oil depending on their surroundings, time of day or mood.

For more information check The Aromatherapy Council website, www.aromatherapycouncil.co.uk or The Aromatherapy Trade Council, www.a-t-c.org.uk Tel: 01473 603630.

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