What’s that aroma….therapy?

For thousands of years humans have used plants, barks, and fruits to create healthy and pleasant scented oils. These oils have been used in massage for centuries and are the staple of aromatherapy. There are two theories about why oils are beneficial to humans; the ingredients in plants are beneficial when inhaled (aroma doesn’t matter) or scents are beneficial when inhaled synthetic or not.The general consensus however is that natural/organics are always better than artificial ingredients.

Tribal people first started using plants for their benefit probably by accident. Over the years different parts of different plants were found to have various benefits to the human body. Some of the most popular herbal ingredients are well known and often come in teas. Lemon grass, chamomile, lavender, sandalwood and mandarin are all some of the plants most commonly used. Other common ingredients are essential oils like cinnamon, nutmeg, myrrh, cedar wood and cloves. Many of these same extracts were used by the ancient Egyptians to embalm the dead.

Today many methods are used to extract these valuable oils. One of the most popular methods of extracting valuable oils is through the use of alcohol. Distillation and cold expression are other ways to extract oils from plants. Alcohol was likely the preferred method of the ancients because it was readily available and the extraction process is exceedingly simple.

Many therapists use special oils and apply them to the skim, which is best for skin and muscles problems as well as burns. Some people ingest oils which isn’t recommended for every oil, however many do have internal benefits, helping the digestive track and the intestines. The same theory applies to inhalation which is beneficial to those with respiratory problems like infection or colds. For those with asthma aromatherapy is not recommended until you have consulted with a physician. Also be sure if you have allergies you know what ingredients are in the oils you’re using, otherwise this could be quite dangerous.

Massage and aromatherapy have been used for so long not because of falsehoods and superstitions but because they have mental, spiritual and physical benefits. Certain fragrances have the ability to affect the part of the brain that handles emotion, usually calm and relaxation. This is why oils like lavender are so widely used. For many years these techniques also helped humans get in touch with their spiritual side, in eastern cultures oils and fragrances were common. Tibetan monks used many earthly ingredients throughout their practices to increase awareness, relaxation and allow them to get in touch with the spirits. With all the benefits aromatherapy and massage have to offer, one obvious question remains. Why shouldn’t you get an aromatherapy massage?