Is Aromatherapy Useful?

by Alex Rider - Date: 2006-12-08 - Word Count: 459 Share This!

Aromatherapy has gained a high level of popularity today. But just how effective is it at reducing ailments and improving our quality of life in reality? This article looks at research conducted and the level of safety its practice demands.

Aromatherapy Effectiveness

Although there are few research papers concerning this the validity and effectiveness of aromatherapy the effects of essential oils can to a certain extent be predicted if you know their chemical make up.

Well managed trials that have investigated the effects of aromatherapy on people have suggested that some conditions can be alleviated. Evidence has indicated that aromatherapy:

may lessen alopecia
can reduce anxiety
helps prevent bronchitis
can combat acne and fungi

What must still be remembered is that the majority of such research has yielded little solid conclusions, more research being needed to set such 'evidence' in stone.

Aromatherapy Concerns

Aromatherapy products tend to contain only very small quantities of essential oils. These oils in their pure concentrated forms can be very powerful, therefore requiring care when handling. Typically, for example, only a few drops of an essential oil are needed in a bath. Over application of these oils could well lead to irritation, toxic effects have sometimes been seen when used incorrectly e.g. swallowed or eaten.

Side-effects from aromatherapy oils can be nausea, allergic reactions and headaches. Particular oils, like orange, bergamot and lemon react with ultra violet light from sunlight to burn skin.

Only a few essential oils should ever be applied to your skin, e.g. lavender oil and tea tree oil in low quantities. Ingestion of essential oils should only ever be done when recommended by fully qualified therapists. Some professional bodies recommend never internally taking such oils.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding talk about the use of aromatherapy with your doctor or professional therapist first before proceeding. A number of oils should never be used whilst pregnant or breastfeeding since they can build up in breast milk.

Some people get aggravations on their skin when it comes into contact with particular essential oils. As such, essential oils should be used carefully on:

broken skin
varicose veins
infectious skin conditions

Aromatherapy should not be used on patients that are still recovering from surgical operations. Additionally, aromatherapy is not recommended for people with:

high blood pressure
deep vein thrombosis

Some kinds of conventional medicines (e.g. antihistamines, anti-epileptic drugs, sedatives and antibiotics) can be enhanced or reduced when in combination with particular essential oils. The majority of homeopaths will tend to advise that essential oil use is halted whilst you are using homeopathic remedies.

Aromatherapy Practitioners

Always ensure that your aromatherapist of choice has studied at an accredited college known to the various professional aromatherapy associations. Practitioners should have participated in and completed courses with adequate weekly hours of tuition, having received studies and practicals on physiology and anatomy, the use of essential oils and massage.

Related Tags: relaxation, aromatherapy, essential oils, natural therapies, natural therapy, spiritual healing, metaphysi

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