Aromatherapy: Its Origins and Uses

Aromatherapy: Its Origins and UsesFor many centuries, Aromatherapy, a healing therapy that is based on the use of volatile plant and flower oils, has been used by many different cultures and civilizations to help promote good health and to help treat many specific conditions. Incense has been used for centuries in the western world although the Chinese were the ones to have actually pioneered the notion of burning herbs and flowers to produce smells which they believed could alter states or alleviate symptoms of illness. It was later the Egyptians who created a simplified system of distillation which enables the extraction of oils from plant material. Other cultures that used aromatherapy include the Greeks, the Persians and the Romans. Albeit, it must be said, that the word “aromatherapy” was coined in the 20th century.

When it comes to weight loss, it is essential that the body operates in its best form. As we struggle with our weight and try many diets and fitness programs, we might not even realize that certain stubborn areas of cellulite, excess fat or fluid retention are cause by nothing more than a buildup of toxins.

Weight Loss and Aromatherapy

Weight loss is more than ostensibly shedding pounds. There is a very complex interaction of various factors including diet, exercise, motivation, genetics, gender and age. This is one of the reasons why diets so often fail or prove to be ineffective. Out of all the aforementioned factors, the latest one to be investigated is genes and how these can impact and hinder weight loss. There is in fact a DNA that can tell you whether or not you have a high genetic predisposition to obesity and therefore, more likely to gain weight. Many people might not have a gene mutation required to metabolize or break down a given substance. They may have a genetic mutation affecting genes involved in appetite control.

Given the complexity of weight loss, anyone who wishes to lose weight must seek the help of a qualified nutritionist alongside an aroma therapist if they wish to maximize the effectiveness of their diet.

DNA testing reveals that you might have a genetic predisposition to certain physical concerns (see example). There have been certain genes located which are believed to be linked to weight gain and obesity. Some people, in fact, opt to have a genetic test to determine whether they are one of those individuals who have the “obesity gene”. Studies have found that in the USA more than one of out every three people carries this gene. Genetic predisposition testing can be used to determine how likely a given person is to develop obesity. Of course, other factors such as dieting play such a significant role in obesity that they must be taken into account. Individuals having the obesity gene and a high predisposition to developing the condition can benefit by combining aromatherapy with more conventional forms of weight control. There are essential oils for example which can help curb appetite. The smell of some herbal extracts can penetrate into the body and affect directly our brains. Agrimony flower and black-eyed Susan are two aromatherapy extracts that can help with appetite. Further to this, for those who have craving for oils, fatty fast foods some aromatherapy oils such as morning glory can specifically diminish cravings for these types of foods. A combination of fennel oil and Bergamo oil also works well as good appetite suppressant.

What do the Doctors and the FDA say?

Health practitioners do not exclude the fact that aromatherapy can be an effective treatment for some mild ailments. However, the lack of any hard supporting evidence showing just how these oils work on the body as well as their possible interaction with other drugs is cause of much criticism. It is of course obvious that this type of therapy effects smell receptors but how this effect works in the wider framework of chronic or temporary symptom alleviation is anyone’s guess. Most theories note how the smells affect the limbic system, a part of the brain composed of the amygdala, hypothalamus and the hippocampus and which deals with emotions. Aromatherapy has in fact been shown to be effective to treat mild depression, dissonance and anxiety. The Food and Drug administration which regulates drugs has found no evidence about any harmful effects from using aromatherapy oils. However, since these oils are not regulated, their concentration, packaging and purity amongst other things are not controlled. Moreover, there are known side effects which include skin irritation, nausea and a range of other allergic reactions. Pregnant women are advised to avoid using aromatherapy during pregnancy as scientists do not know whether these oils can affect hormone balance or the developing fetus.