In the midst of all the alternative medicine treatments that you’ve heard about recently, you may have noticed aromatherapy mentioned a few times. Many dismiss the idea of using scents to bring medical results as quackery, and that’s understandable in many ways.
There’s a lot of information about aromatherapy that comes from people who speak about it based on their spiritual beliefs and a paucity of information that comes from detailed medical studies. As a medical treatment in Western nations, it’s still a little new, so there’s still much to learn about it. Let’s explore some of the ways that aromatherapy does aid people so you know how to better incorporate it into your life.
As A Medical Practice
The basis of aromatherapy comes from the use of essential oils, which are extracted from plants using distilling processes, resulting in concentrated liquids that are often very fragrant. In France, where aromatherapy is used in concert with traditional medical practices, but it’s for the antiseptic properties of the essential oils more than anything. In France, essential oils are sometimes prescribed and administered by a physician to target harmful organisms that might lead to bacterial, viral, or fungal infections.
If you’re wondering where the “aroma” part of aromatherapy comes in, there are traditional medical practices in the United States in which the scents of various compounds result in an alleviation of symptoms of illness. The one most people are familiar with is the use of things such as Vicks VapoRub or Halls cough drops to help drain clogged sinuses and throats. Aromatic chemicals such as menthol and eucalyptus bring an alleviation of those symptoms, which are often associated with colds.
As Stress Therapy
When you begin to venture out of such applications and begin to talk about alleviating stress with aromatherapy, then you start to get into ideas that come less from observed scientific evidence than from everyday theories. Aromatherapy is often suggested as a way to alleviate symptoms of stress in people and for other effects. For instance, basil oil is often suggested to ease the effects of depression and to help you to concentrate, while lavender is used for relaxation.
While many of these supposed effects aren’t determined through scientific study, it’s easy enough to notice that pleasant scents can make people feel cheerier. With that in mind, it wouldn’t hurt to practice a little aromatherapy at home; at best, it really will help and at worst, you still end up surrounded by nice scents. So, whether you’re using it for medical purposes or just to relax, aromatherapy offers something for you.