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Aromatherapy, massage healthier alternatives to drugs October 25, 2007

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine.
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Casie McNaughton

When taking pills and over-the-counter drugs seem too overwhelming, some simple practices such as aromatherapy and meditation may be the key to a healthy body, mind and soul.

 

When taking pills and over-the-counter drugs seem too overwhelming, some simple practices such as aromatherapy and meditation may be the key to a healthy body, mind and soul.

Aromatherapy is the treatment with scents and fragrances. According to the Web site http://www.circle-of-light.com/aromatherapy, aromatherapy started with Egyptians when oils were extracted from aromatic plants and used as offerings to the different gods. Now aromatherapy has grown to be used with items as simple as candles, incenses and perfumes.

There are nine different chemical components that branch out into varieties of different fragrances: aldehydes, alcohols, phenols, cetones, terpenes, sesquiterpenes, esters, lactones and ethers, according to http://www.holisticonline.com.

•Aldehydes act as an anti-inflammatory, a sedative, an anti-viral and have a calming effect. This would include oils such as lemon grass, lemon balm, citronella and eucalyptus.

•Alcohols kill bacteria; act as a stimulant, anti-viral and a diuretic; and are energizing and vitalizing. This group includes rose, petitgrain, rosewood, peppermint, myrtle, tea tree, sandalwood, patchouli and ginger.

•Phenols stimulate the immune system, are invigorating and warming, and are normally used in lip balms and cough drops. Fragrances in this group include clove, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, savory and cumin.

•Cetones, or Ketones, heal wounds, ease mucous secretion, and stimulate cell growth. Essential oils include camphor, rosemary, sage, eucalyptus, globulus and hyssop.

•Terpenes are stimulants and have anti-viral properties. Lemon, orange, bergamot, black pepper, pine oils, nutmeg and angelica are essential oils used in this category.

•Sesquiterpenes are an anti-inflammatory, a sedative, and an immune stimulant. Blue chamomiles, tansy, yarrow and tagetes create this response.

•Esters also create a calming feeling, and work as a sedative, an anti-fungal, a spasmolytic and a fungicidal. Fragrances used are roman chamomile, lavender, clary sage, petitgrain and bergamot.

•Lactones are also used as an anti-inflammatory, using arnica and elecampane.

•Finally ethers harmonize the nervous system; work as an antiseptic, diuretic and a stimulant; and increase secretions. Cinnamon, cloves, anise, basil, tarragon, parsley and sassafras are used as this group’s essential oils.

The above essential oils also work together with the seven chakras in the body. Chakras are nerve centers that occur from the crown of the head down the spine to the pelvis. Each of these chakras is connected to an area of the body and also has dominant mental and emotional characteristics.

In the book titled “Massage for Total Well-Being: Massage and Meditation for the Seven Centers of Health” by Anne Kent Rush, the seven chakras are listed as the pelvic plexus, belly plexus, solar plexus, cardiac plexus, throat plexus, forehead plexus and cranial plexus.

The chakras are used to create awareness throughout the body. According to http://www.healing.about.com, they are the openings for life energy to flow into and out of one’s aura. Their function is to vitalize the physical body and to bring about the development of self-consciousness. They are associated with physical, mental and emotional interactions.

The chakras can create physical, mental and emotional well being through exercises, meditation and massage.

Rush said in the book: “Massage complemented by meditation can become the core of a comprehensive health and stress-management regimen.”

Research today has shown that massage should be used as a regular routine for any person’s, health, Rush said. When a person incorporates the exercises and massage into his or her routine it could create a healthier mind and body, which would be shown through prolonged physiological and psychological benefits.

Some of the benefits one gets from a massage include improved blood circulation, elimination of metabolic wastes, balancing blood pressure, better flexibility and motion in the joints, increased elasticity of muscles, decreased healing time for injuries, headache relief, attitude adjustment, and deeper sleep, according to the Web site http://www.healingbenefits.net.

Nurse practitioner Shelly Kirk at Phase II Center for Women’s Health, 272 E. Center in Ivins, said there was a study conducted to determine what activities would benefit the body for those who feel anxious or depressed. She said activities that require a lot of attention and concentration such as beading, knitting and crocheting were found to be just as beneficial as spending time meditating.

Although many alternative medicine practices cannot be scientifically tested, Ralph Snyderman of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and Andrew Weil of the Arizona study team said in their article at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov titled “Integrative medicine: bringing medicine back to its roots,” many people still look for the scientific answer to these practices.

Snyderman said: “Most Americans who consult alternative providers would probably jump at the chance to consult a physician who is well trained in scientifically based medicine and who is also open-minded and knowledgeable about the body’s innate mechanisms of healing….”

However, since many of these practices cannot be scientifically proven, asking a physician may or may not answer the questions a person has. .....

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