If you are realizing the benefits of alternative health treatments like inversion, you may be wondering if there are other types of uncommon treatments that may work for you.

So what is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of naturally extracted aromatic oils to help balance the body, mind and spirit. Our sense of smell and the natural, healing properties within plans has been known to have tremendous healing effects on the body, and it is said to promote everything from a boosted immune system, to improved concentration and stress relief.

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy says, “It is a natural, non-invasive modality designed to affect the whole person not just the symptom or disease and to assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself by the correct use of essential oils.” [1]

How does aromatherapy work?

“It is believed that the inhalation of essential oils stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell – the olfactory system; a signal is sent to the limbic system of the brain that controls emotions and retrieves learned memories. This causes chemicals to be released which make the person feel relaxed, calm, or even stimulated. If the aromatherapy includes massage the effect is to further relax the person.” [2]

Oils can be inhaled, diffused into the air or applied topically to the skin. Aromatherapy is often thought of as a complement to other forms of alternative healing like massage, meditation, yoga, chiropractic or even inversion.

Getting started with aromatherapy

Use pure and natural ingredients. Perfumes, aromatherapy candles, sticks or anything artificial is frowned upon and the chemicals included in the products can often have adverse effects on the body. Shop online or head to a natural grocer to find pure essential oils.

Some proponents of aromatherapy believe that you should let your nose guide you, the smells that are most pleasant to you are the ones that can benefit your immediately. If you are drawn to peppermint, spearmint and citrus – perhaps you need a dose of energy or clarity. If on the other hand you are drawn to heady scents like cloves and cinnamon, maybe your immune system is slightly weakened, and you could use a boost. Lavender smells perfect right now? Maybe you need to unwind, relax and take some time to yourself.

Another option when seeking out scents is to decide what you want to fix and research scents and blends that are best suited for your symptoms. Here is a short list [3] to get you started:

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[1] http://www.naha.org/what_is_aromatherapy.htm
[2] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10884.php
[3] http://www.essortment.com/aromatherapy-scent-meanings-effects-15912.html
Photo: http://washingtonstatedestinations.blogspot.com/2012/04/would-you-like-to-volunteer-at-sequim.html