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Aromatherapy works on healing many ailments, but the main ailment that it helps you with is emotional health. Emotional health is a huge component to achieving optimal health, and becoming Bio Elite. Aromatherapy is an energetic healing modality that has been used by healers for millenia. Aromatherapy involves the application of essential oils derived from plants to correct various physical and energetic imbalances.

The ancient egyptians used essential oils in their body preparations (think of the wax mounds they wore on their heads) and in their funeral preparations. A formula for prosperity was found written on the wall of a pharaoh’s tomb. It is said that Cleopatra doused her sails in jasmine oil to let the Romans know she was sailing to their empire. It is said that they could smell her arrival miles before her arrival. Some thieves scavenging for valuables during the Bubonic Plague doused themselves in a combination of essential oils to protect themselves from harm.

Aromatherapy is the extraction and use of essential oils from the flowers, fruits, leaves, branches resins roots and seeds of plants. Each plant contains different types of constituents that produce healing. Some are anti-fungal, others antibacterial, antiviral or antimicrobial.

How the heck does aromatherapy effect the body?

Aromatherapy effects the limbic system.  When we look more closely at the areas of the brain, the limbic system seems to be central area. The limbic system is a network of structures located beneath the cerebral cortex. This system is important because it controls some behaviors that are essential to the life of all mammals (finding food,  self-preservation).

Interestingly, the same structures found in the human limbic system can also be found in the brains of evolutionary ancient animals such as the alligator. In the alligator, the limbic system is heavily involved in smell and plays an important role in defending territory, hunting and eating prey. In humans, the limbic system is more involved in motivation and emotional behaviors.

Aromatherapy Benefits for Emotional Health

The limbic system is the portion of the brain that deals with three key functions: emotions, memories, and arousal (stimulation). This system is composed of several parts, which are found above the brainstem and within the cerebrum. The limbic system connects parts of brain that deal with high and low functions. Below, the major parts of the limbic system are described.

Aromatherapy healing and emotional therapy

Thalamus

The thalamus is a portion of the brain that is responsible for detecting and relaying information from our senses, such as smell and vision. The thalamus is located within the brainstem, and is part of the pathway of information into the cerebrum, which is the section of the brain that is responsible for thinking and movement.

Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is a vital portion of the limbic system that is responsible for producing multiple chemical messengers, called hormones. These hormones control water levels in the body, sleep cycles, body temperature, and food intake. The hypothalamus is located beneath the thalamus.

Cingulate Gyrus

The cingulate gyrus serves as a pathway that transmits messages between the the inner and outer portions of the limbic system.

Amygdala and Hippocampus

The amygdala is one of two almond-shaped clusters of nerve cells in the temporal (side) lobe of the cerebrum. Both amygdalae are responsible for preparing the body for emergency situations, such as being ‘startled’, and for storing memories of events for future recognition. Amygdalae assist in the development of memories, particularly as it relates to emotional events and emergencies. The amygdalae are also involved specifically with the development of the fear emotion, and can be the cause of extreme expression of fear, as in the case of panic. Additionally, the amygdalae play a major role in pleasure and sexual arousal, and may vary in size depending on the sexual activity and maturity of the individual.

Now once these are essential oils are smelt. They have the tendency to effect the limbic system, and alter your emotional state.

 

Problems with Aromatherapy Research…

There are many problems with the research on aromatherapy. The biggest one is that it does not exist. There is a definite lack in the “aroma” side of aromatherapy. Most of the research is spread out and deals with essential oils and direct application. Although aromatherapy and massage are being used together, there is no significant evidence that aromatherapy works by itself. The studies that are accessible are small, individual experiments that are scattered among the list of hundreds of essential oils. Another problem lies in the fact that most research is not intended to justify aromatherapy. It is based on essential oils. Until recently, the studies done on these oils were by the perfume industry and backed by the FDA for safety. The final, and most frustrating, problem is the fact that many studies are ongoing or not ready for publication yet.

In the next few years, an abundance of information will become available concerning the practice of aromatherapy. The interest in alternative medicine has freed up more money for research in this area, and will slant the research towards the “aroma” side of the therapy.

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