What is it?
Aromatherapy uses oils made from a huge variety of flowers and plants. These ‘essential oils’ are usually massaged into your skin and can also be inhaled or used in creams or in the bath. The theory is that essential oils have chemical properties that can have all sorts of effects on both mind and body.
How might it help?
People use aromatherapy for stress, pain, insomnia and depression and many other ailments with some seeing it more as a relaxing treat. It is one of the more commonly offered therapies in hospitals with complementary medicine programmes. There is some research evidence that aromatherapy has a temporary calming effect. Some oils may also fight infections.
What about safety?
Currently, aromatherapists are not regulated by law and you will need to check that your therapist has a valid qualification.
You should not swallow essential oils and they should be diluted before they are applied to your skin. Some people have an allergic reaction. Aromatherapy oils might interact with some medicines.
Check with your doctor first, especially if you are pregnant or if you have epilepsy, heart problems, high blood pressure, asthma or diabetes.
Where can I learn more?
Aromatherapy Council www.aromatherapycouncil.co.uk explains what credentials to look for and provides information about aromatherapy. You will also find links to several aromatherapy organisations.
We would like to acknowledge the use of information taken from the European Parkinson’s Disease Association website http://www.epda.eu.com