Using your sense of smell can be a real and true healing thing and it can happen in our day to day lives if we take the time to notice them...to appreciate them...and to experience them. I'd like to encourage you to give thought to how you can use your sense of smell to calm, soothe, and relax yourself when feeling your pain. What smells calm you?
When feeling tension, even your pain...use your sense of smell, close your eyes...focus on your breathing and relax. Get comfortable (whether seated or laying down) and settle your mind. Massage, visualization for relaxation or other meditation exercises work well in combination with aromatherapy. Some oils can even be added to a hot bath to soothe aching muscles and bodies too.
Our sense of smell is a powerful tool and today I'd like to share some information about aromatherapy with the help of a professional. If you are interested in trying this therapy please to your doctor and/or treatment team before starting.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy, or essential oils therapy, is using a plant's aroma-producing oils (essential oils) to treat disease. Essential oils are taken from a plant's flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind, or roots. The oils are mixed with another substance (such as oil, alcohol, or lotion) and then put on the skin, sprayed in the air, or inhaled. You can also massage the oils into the skin or pour them into bath water. Aromatherapy as used today originated in Europe and has been practiced there since the early 1900s.
The oils are thought to interact with the body's hormones and enzymes to cause changes in blood pressure, pulse, and other body functions. Another theory suggests that the fragrance of certain oils may stimulate the body to produce pain-fighting substances.
What is aromatherapy used for?
Aromatherapy may promote relaxation and help relieve stress. It has also been used to help treat a wide range of physical and mental conditions, including burns, infections, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. But so far there is limited scientific evidence to support claims that aromatherapy effectively prevents or cures illness.
Is aromatherapy safe?
Practitioners of aromatherapy are not specially licensed in the United States. A wide range of licensed health professionals (such as massage therapists, nurses, and counselors) may have experience and training in aromatherapy. It is important to talk with your medical doctor to see whether aromatherapy may be helpful and safe for your specific health condition.
Do not swallow the oils used in aromatherapy. Many of the oils are potent and can be dangerous if taken internally (swallowed).
Children younger than age 5 should not use aromatherapy, because they can be very sensitive to the oil. Nor should anyone use oils near the eyes or mouth, because irritation of the skin and membranes may occur.
People with certain chronic illnesses or conditions should not use aromatherapy without first consulting a doctor. These illnesses and conditions include:
- Lung conditions such as asthma, respiratory allergies, or chronic lung disease. Oils may cause airway spasms.
- Skin allergies. Some oils may cause skin irritation, especially in the membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Pregnancy. Pregnant women should not use aromatherapy. Some oils (such as juniper, rosemary, and sage) may cause uterine contractions.
Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.
This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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