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 mind, mood, cognitive function or health.
Some benefits that have been linked to aromatherapy, such as relaxation and clarity of mind, may arise from the placebo effect rather than from any actual physiological effect. The consensus among most medical professionals is that while some aromas have demonstrated effects on mood and relaxation and may have related benefits for patients, there is currently insufficient evidence to support the claims made for aromatherapy. Scientific research on the cause and effects of aromatherapy is limited, although in vitro testing has revealed some antibacterial and antiviral effects. There is no evidence of any long-term results from an aromatherapy massage other than the pleasure achieved from a pleasant-smelling massage. A few double blind studies in the field of clinical psychology relating to the treatment of severe dementia have been published. Essential oils have a demonstrated efficacy in dental mouthwash products.
Aromatherapy has been promoted for its ability to fight cancer; however, according to the American Cancer Society, "available scientific evidence does not support claims that aromatherapy is effective in preventing or treating cancer".
Essential Oils :
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.
View detailed profiles carrier oils and vegetable oils used in aromatherapy. The Carrier Oil Profiles area also explains their importance in aromatherapy and contains information on essential fatty acids.
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Balanced Essential Oil Blends
Easy to read guide that will help you get started with essential oils and aromatherapy.