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Saturday, 08 January 2011 00:16

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What Is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the systematic use of essential oils in holistic treatments to improve physical well being. Essential Oils, extracted from plants, possess distinctive therapeutic properties, which can be utilised to improve health and prevent disease. Both their physiological and psychological effects combine well to promote positive health. These natural plant oils are applied in a variety of ways, including massage, baths, and inhalations. These are ready absorbed through the skin and have gentle physiological effects. Aromatherapy is an especially effective treatment for stress-related problems and a variety of chronic conditions.

What are Essential Oils?
An essential oil is an aromatic, volatile substance extracted from a single botanical source by distillation or expression. Essential oils have been utilised in fragrances, flavours and medicines for thousands of years.

There are some 400 essential oils extracted from plants all over the world. Some of the popular oils used in aromatherapy today include chamomile, lavender, rosemary, and tea tree.

The quality of essential oils
Not all essential oils are the same. A randomised, double-blind trial of essential oils from two different species of lavender, topically applied on post-cardiotomy patients revealed that the quality of the oil is an important factor in determining the efficiacy of its use.

28 patients were randomly selected to receive aromatherapy massage with one of the two essential oils on two consecutive days, and their emotional and behavioural stress levelswere evaluated both before and after the treatment.

The results revealed that the therapeutic effects of the two lavenders were clearly different; one was almost twice as effective as the other, thereby disproving the hypothesis that aromatherapy, using topical application of essential oils, is effective purely because of touch, massage or placebo.

What happens in a typical Aromatherapy session?
The aromatherapist will ask questions about your medical history; general health and lifestyle. This will help him or her decide which essential oils are most appropriate for you as an individual.

The aromatherapist may wish to contact your GP, with your permission, to inform him or her that you are receiving aromatherapy treatment.

After selecting and blending appropriate essential oils, the aromatherapist will usually apply the oils in combination with massage.

A session normally lasts for 60 to 90 minutes, and costs between £20 and £40.

Source - Aromatherapy and Allied Practitioners Association

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