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Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering a person's mood, cognitive function or health.
The effectiveness of aromatherapy is yet to be scientifically proven; however some evidence exists that essential oils may have therapeutic potential.
Since some essential oils such astea tree have demonstrated anti-microbial effects, it has been suggested that they may be useful for the treatment of infectious diseases. Evidence for the efficacy of aromatherapy in treating medical conditions remains poor, with a particular lack of studies employing rigorous methodology.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological andphysical well-being.
Essential oils, the pure essence of a plant, have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefits when used correctly and safely. The Essential Oil Profiles area details over 90 essential oils. Absolutes, CO2s and Hydrosols are also commonly used in aromatherapy. Although essential oils, CO2 extracts and absolutes are distilled by different methods, the termessential oil is sometimes used as a blanket term to include all natural, aromatic, volatile, plant oils including CO2s and absolutes.
In addition to essential oils, aromatherapy encourages the use of other complementary natural ingredients including cold pressed vegetable oils, jojoba (a liquid wax), hydrosols, herbs, milk powders, sea salts, sugars (an exfoliant), clays and muds.
Products thatinclude synthetic ingredients are frowned upon in holistic aromatherapy. It is important to note that perfume oils also known as fragrance oils (and usually listed as "fragrance" on an ingredient label) are not the same as essential oils. Fragrance oils and perfume oils contain synthetic chemicals and do not provide the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.
Although the termaromatherapy was not used until the 20th Century, the foundations of aromatherapy date back thousands of years. The use of essential oils in particular date back nearly one thousand years.
The Chinese may have been one of the first cultures to use aromatic plants for well-being. Their practices involved burning incense to help create harmony and balance.
Later, the Egyptians invented a rudimentarydistillation machine that allowed for the crude extraction of cedar wood oil. The Greeks´ mythology apparently credits the gift and knowledge of perfumes to the gods.
The Roman Empire built upon the knowledge of the Egyptians and Greeks. Discorides wrote a book called De Materia Medica that described the properties of approximately 500 plants. It is also reported that Discorides studied distillationbut focused on extracting aromatic floral waters and not essential oils.
During the 20th century, the knowledge of separating the constituents of essential oils was used to create synthetic chemicals and drugs.
From the late 20th century and on into the 21st century, there is a growing resurgence to use more natural products including essential oils for therapeutic, cosmetic and aromatic benefit.The use of essential oils never ceased, but the scientific revolution minimized the popularity and use of essential oils in one's everyday life. Today's heightened awareness regarding the use of synthetics coupled with the increased availability of aromatherapy information within books and the Internet has refueled the use of essential oils for therapeutic, cosmetic, fragrant and spiritual use.Modes of application
The modes of application of aromatherapy include:
* Aerial diffusion: for environmental fragrance or aerial disinfection
* Direct inhalation: for respiratory disinfection, decongestion, expectoration as well as psychological effects
* Topical applications: for general massage, baths, compresses, therapeutic skin care
Some of the materials...
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