Can different aromas cure all diseases, or is aromatherapy simply an advertising exaggeration? It seems that aromatherapy really has a beneficial effect on some ailments. Want to know more?

For body and mind

Today aromatherapy is a widely practiced complementary medicine, using essential oils from aromatic plants, flowers, leaves, seeds, barks, and fruits to help heal. Essential oils are normally extracted by a steam distillation process and are often used:

  • Holistically, where oils are used (often with massage) to treat emotional and physical disorders.
  • Clinically, used in combination with the treatments of official medicine.
  • Aesthetically, where it is perhaps most widely used, in which oils are used in burners or diffusers at home or are added to baths.

How does it work?

Aromatherapy acts on our sense of smell and through absorption into the bloodstream. About 15 percent of the air we inhale goes to the roof of the nose, where olfactory receptors carry the odors directly to a part of the brain called the limbic system.

“It is believed that ancient civilizations used aromatherapy in many ways and for many reasons, such as massage, bathing, medicine, and even embalming.

This area is connected to instinct, humour and emotion and it is believed that aromatherapy can stimulate the release of chemicals that play a role in the release of emotions (think how even the simple smell of floor wax can make you quickly return to the age of the classroom).

What is the history of aromatherapy?

It is believed that ancient civilizations used “aromatherapy” in many ways and for many reasons such as in massage, baths, as medicine and even to embalm bodies. Probably the concept was originally and simultaneously used in China, Egypt, the Middle East and by Native Americans, and later introduced into Europe by the Romans.

The practice of modern aromatherapy was mainly attributed to the French chemist. Initiated research into the healing powers of essential oils in the first quarter of a century after observing how lavender oil seemed to aid in the healing of a severe burn he had on one hand.

Also published in 1937 the first treatise on the subject: “The aromatherapy of Gattefossé”, a publication still available today. The word aromatherapy comes from the Greek, from the words “aroma” meaning fragrance or pleasant smell and “therapeia” meaning healing.

Can aromatherapy really be used to cure diseases?

Aromatherapy seems to have its most beneficial effect on minor ailments, digestive problems, premenstrual syndrome, stress-related illnesses and some skin problems. Some essential oils such as tea tree oil are widely used for their antiseptic properties.

Aromatherapy is extremely unlikely to cure major diseases, so we do not recommend that it be used in these cases as a substitute for conventional medicine. However, it can be used to alleviate the psychological stress experienced by people suffering from a serious pathology.

Common essential oils and their uses

For use at home, you can use essential oils in lamp (or electric) ring diffusers, in the bathroom, or combined with a massage vehicle oil. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on what effect you want, these are the most common uses of popular essential oils:

  • Relaxants: lavender (also antiseptic), chamomile, jasmine, frankincense and myrrh (both can irritate if applied to the skin or used in the bath), neroli, orange, mandarin, andlang-ylang (excessive inhalation can cause headaches).
  • Revitalizers: lemon (may irritate skin, especially when exposed to sun), grapefruit seed, cinnamon, juniper (also has antiseptic properties), vanilla, geranium, rosemary.
  • Stimulants: mint and eucalyptus (both act as decongestants when inhaled, but can irritate the skin, so be careful). Other oils, such as tea tree oil, are famous for their antiseptic properties.

One piece of advice: always follow the manufacturer’s instructions