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Exploring Aromatherapy And How You Can Use It To Heal
How exactly does aromatherapy work?
Experts already know that certain smells can stimulate the release of neurochemicals in the brain, such as serotonin. Aromatherapy works much in the same way, by stimulating the parts of the brain called the hippocampus and amygdala, which is the part of the brain that holds your memories and emotions. When you breathe in essential oil molecules, it is thought that these parts of your brain are affected on several levels including mental, emotional, and physical.
In one study, it was found that citrus fragrance causes people to lower the doses of antidepressants that they needed to help beat their depression. Using the fragrance of citrus fruits normalized neuroendocrine hormone levels, as well as immune function. This was more effective than antidepressants alone. Still another study found that hospice patients with cancer had positive changes in their pulse rate, blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and their overall health after being exposed to humidified lavender essential oil.
When you inhale essential oils, many pathways and systems in the body can be affected. For example, when inhaled through the nose, these airborne molecules come into contact with both the olfactory system and the brain. When inhaled through the mouth, these scents go to the lungs and circulate through the respiratory system. The journal Phytomedicine published a study which found that when rat subjects inhaled lavender essential oil for one hour daily, rats who had dementia had a prevention of oxidative stress in the brain. Essential oils can be used in many ways including room diffusers, room sprays, aroma lamps, and steam inhalers.
Essential oils can also be applied to the skin, where you can inhale the scent as well as being absorbed by the skin. If you should use essential oils on your skin, you should massage it in well to increase the circulation in the area where you have applied the oil. Applying heat will also help with the body absorb the oils.
There are a wide variety of essential oils, one for almost every health problem known to mankind. Before you dismiss them as nothing more than a pretty smell, try them! You may be surprised at just how much healing power these oils contain.