Feelings and memories are often tied to certain smells. There is an established link between what our nose detects and stimulation it caused in our brains. The scent of a flower perfume may remind you of your wife. The smell of pumpkin pie baking in the oven could evoke memories of the holiday. The way of your nose your brains is a route that can be used to help ensure a better state of mind and body.
Aromatherapy is a practice that makes use of specific essential oils to benefit from the mental and physical condition of those treated. Essential oils are oily, aromatic constituents of flowers, leaves and roots of some plants. They are usually obtained by steam distillation, or by cold pressing the use of natural solvents. After mining, the only thing that remains are the very sharp oils. All the water-based components of the plants and the fiber is removed.
These oils can then be used in a number of ways. They can be included in products such as disinfectants, lotions, mouthwashes, and shampoos. Another possibility is that they can be inhaled a specific effect. In the blog today, I want both the current and olfactory (smell) applications of this holistic practice to explore.
Sniffing Out the Science of Aromatherapy
One of the most popular essential oils is lavender. This should not come as a surprise, not only because lavender has a very sweet, floral scent but it is also widely regarded as a powerful sedative. Two recent studies demonstrate the benefits associated with improving the quality of sleep.
In the first study, a group of mothers and their children asked for a bath, which was supplemented with unscented bath oil or lavender oil to take. The mothers in the lavender baths reported feeling more relaxed. It was also noted that the babies have a greater amount of time spent making eye contact with their mother, while the lavender baths.
When the researchers examined the children and mothers’ stress hormone levels tested, they found a reduced amount of lavender oil in the group. She also noted that these children cried less during the night, and spent more time in deep sleep. ”
In another experiment, Korean scientists studying the effects of lavender on depression and sleep quality in female students. 42 insomniacs enrolled in the college process lavender. Improvements were seen in the amount of time needed to fall asleep, the quality of sleep and the severity of the depression.
More to Lavender than Meets the nose
Powerful anti-inflammatory drugs and opiates are often used to manage postoperative pain. And although these drugs are often very dangerous, they should still be used for surgical patients deal with the aftermath of the operation. This study was conducted to see whether the use of lavender oil could reduce the need for these powerful drugs.
54 patients participated in the study. Half of them were treated with lavender oil (applies to their oxygen masks) and half were treated with unscented baby oil (used as a placebo). All patients were treated with morphine.Here are the results:
- Only 46% of the lavender group required additional postoperative pain medication. Compared with 82% of the placebo / baby oil patients.
- Moreover, the lavender group requires approximately 45% less morphine than the placebo group.
Breathe deeply and choose wisely
It is important to do your own research or consult an expert before taking any alternative medicine. Aromatherapy is no exception to this rule. An example in a recent British study.
144 healthy volunteers were tested to see what their reaction would be to two popular essential oils: peppermint oil and ylang-ylang. The researchers were interested in any changes with respect to brain function and mood. To this end, they performed several scientific tests to see whether there is statistically significant changes could be caused by these oils. The results were interesting.
In the volunteers, peppermint oil improves memory. But, ylang-ylang in fact a negative impact on their memory. Ylang-ylang also delayed “processing”. It made them think slower!
The peppermint oil also showed the subjects’ alertness and improve mood. Again, ylang-ylang did exactly the opposite. The authors do note however that ylang-ylang can help promote peace.
In another study, conducted at the University of Ohio, lemon oil was discovered that a mood-elevating effect. The authors note that there is “robust evidence that lemon oil reliably enhances positive mood.”
Finally, here is an example of essential oils is transdermal (through the skin). Before I continue, I want a warning statement to be issued. Essential oils are very powerful. Most of the time, it is not advisable to directly apply to the skin. .. Aromatherapists will normally be a small amount of the oils with a larger amount of a “carrier oil” A base oil is a non-aromatic, mild oil which is suitable for application to the skin Some examples of carriers oils: almond oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil.
The next test takes us to Hong Kong. 59 seniors with “moderate to severe knee pain” (arthritis) were treated with six sessions of massage (over a period of 3 weeks). Some of the seniors were massaged with olive oil alone. Others were massaged with olive oil and a small amount of ginger and orange essential oils.
After the treatment period ended, the researchers tested for pain and stiffness. The group that the ginger and orange oil massage, had greater improvements in physical functioning and less pain one week after treatment is completed.
The authors of the study concluded that the “aroma massage therapy seems to have potential as an alternative method for short-term knee pain.”
There are so many natural healing possibilities out there. And we are the better for. For someone who is resistant to the use of acupuncture, aromatherapy may be willing to try or vice-versa. If you’ve never considered for aromatherapy, I hope today’s blog will help you to open that possibility. And if you’ve tried, I’d love to hear your personal experiences with it. Drop me a line and let me know what you know.