Alternative Medicine - Aromatherapy
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Aromatherapy is an alternative medical technique used for pain relief, healing, mental clarity and mood enhancement using the natural essential oils extracted in several ways from plant roots, stems, foliage, flowers and seeds. An adjunct to herbal medicine, which can be said to be the longest-running clinical trial in the history of mankind, aromatherapy has been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Among the many uses for which aromatherapy can be used are relaxation, increased blood circulation, insomnia, muscle and joint pain, cosmetic use, nausea, cuts, burns, ear infections and more.
While there is little scientific research to back up its efficacy, concentrated plant extracts are known to have specific active ingredients that determine how the essential oils are used. Some common properties of essential oils are antibacterial, antibiotic, diuretic, antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, purgative, anesthetic, antidepressant and astringent.
Aromatherapy is dispensed either through inhalation or applied in diluted form in a carrier oil to the skin. The essential oils are very concentrated, and should never be taken internally except under the supervision of a trained professional. Pregnant women should avoid aromatherapy, as the active ingredients in the essential oils can also effect unborn children. The oils are very flammable and should never be used near an open flame.
Essential oils may interfere with some medications, so always consult your physician first to find out if the use of aromatherapy is contraindicated for your condition, such as high blood pressure or severe asthma. With proper usage, however, aromatherapy can have fewer adverse side effects than many prescription medications.
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