AROMATHERAPY
Dr Santosh Singh *
Consultant Ayurvedacharya, Levioza Health Care, Mumbai, India*
It is the art and science of using oils extracted from aromatic plants to enhance health and beauty.

The oils extracted from the plants have been described as "life force" that is they are required for the plants? physiological process (for their survival) as well as giving them the scent. These essential oils are extracted from flowers, herbs, spices, fibres and woods. They are extracted by the process of distillation and solvent extraction. Essential oils are affected by sunlight and are hence stored in dark glass bottles.

Synthetic oils are not utilized in aromatherapy as they lack all the natural elements and some of the minor constituents may not be identical.
How is aromatherapy applied?
Aromatherapy is given in several ways like
- Massage
- Baths
- Compresses
- Inhalation
- Vaporization etc.

Massage - the oils are diluted with base oil and applied on the whole body. This is the most effective method of using the oils.

Baths - The essential oil (6 to 10 drops) is added to the tub of water. (The amount of oil is reduced for the babies) No other substance is added. The person then immerses himself / herself for about 20 minutes in the bath at the same time inhaling the vapor.

Compresses - 2 - 3 drops of essential oil is added to 100 ml of warm water. A clean cotton cloth is soaked in the water, wrung and then placed on the affected part.

Inhalations - 2 - 3 drops of essential oil is added to a pot of boiling water and the vapor is inhaled for a few minutes
For further details see "Steam Inhalation".

Vaporization - All essential oils evaporate easily and act as antiseptics. So they are useful as air - fresheners. Different oils create different atmospheres: - sandalwood relaxes the mind, peppermint clears the mind to concentrate etc.
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