According to Mary Margaret Chappell in an article in ‘Arthritis Today’, recent studies “corroborate the use of aromatherapy for pain relief”.
Apparently “Aromatherapy is effective because it works directly on the amygdala, the brain’s emotional centre,” says Mehmet Oz MD, professor of surgery at Columbia University Medical Centre in New York City. “This has important consequences because the thinking part of the brain can’t inhibit the effects of the scent, meaning you feel them instantaneously”.
It is a method of healing using highly concentrated plant oils called ‘essential oils’ that are often highly aromatic and are extracted from plants. Alan Hirsch MD, neurologist at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, believes you don’t have to limit yourself to essential oils. Limiting the length of your exposure to certain scents however, will ensure they remain effective. “Short-term exposure is key because people stop responding to scents after a few minutes”.
When you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system, and affect heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, memory and the immune system.
The International Federation of Aromatherapists are the first and largest governing body in Clinical and Holistic Aromatherapy. They have experience and experts who can offer excellence in Aromatherapy and the Science of Essential Oils.
They have pioneered and safeguarded standards of practice of Aromatherapy since 1985 and introduced aromatherapy into NHS Hospitals, Hospices and Care Professions. They have a list of IFA therapists from around the world to help you find an approved therapist.
A good book on the subject is ‘The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the use of aromatic oils in aromatherapy, herbalism, health and well being’, by Julia Lawless. which is available from Amazon and other good book shops. Blend Eight Aromatherapy Products have a fantastic range of products which you buy from them online.
On a personal note, Aromatherapy was the first type of alternative therapy that I had after my second surgery. The hospital I was staying in employed a lady who gave the treatment either while you were in hospital or you could have private treatment. She definitely had healing hands as far as I was concerned and, although I am quite sure some of the relief was placebo-effect, I still had regular treatments with her for a short pain-free time.