In order to understand how aromatherapy for sleep works, we first need to understand what aromatherapy is and how it works.
Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils to comfort and heal, and it is one of the fastest growing complementary therapies in the Western world. Essential oils are concentrated pure plant extracts which have fragrant and therapeutic effects. With aromatherapy, the essential oils are used topically rather than taken internally.
Aromatherapy can be traced some 6000 years back, when the Egyptians started extracting oil from plants and flowers. Egyptians used the oil for physical and mental healing as well as for cosmetic purposes. During the same period, Chinese were also said to have used the fragrance from the extracted oil and the aromatic herbs as an offering to the gods.
With aromatherapy, when a person inhales the odor, the aroma comes into contact with an inner part of the nose called cilia. The cilia convert the odor into electrical impulses which are then sent to the limbic system in the brain through the olfactory system. The limbic system in the brain is the system that controls a person’s emotions and reactions. That is why a soothing effect on the limbic system will relax the various parts of the body and even take the body into a sleepy state when the inhalation period is increased.
There are many ways to experience aromatherapy including massage, where essential oils are added in small quantities to massage oil, aromatic baths, where bath oils or salts are added to a warm bath, and inhalants or diffusers or burners. With a diffuser or burner, the essential oils are slowly heated and the aroma spreads throughout the air.
There are also herbal sleep pillows, herbal eye pillows, and herbal neck wraps, where the dried herbs are sewn into the pillow or wrap. Many can be heated or put in a freezer for additional healing properties. Aromatherapy candles are also a popular choice for many.
There are a number of essential oils that can be used in aromatherapy for sleep or to help a person relax or de-stress. I have listed some common essential oils for inducing sleep and relaxation.
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The health information in this website is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.
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