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Research paper topic: Aromatherapy - 1357 words
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Aromatherapy There are literally hundreds of types of unconventional medicines. An unconventional medicine is any type of therapy that is different from traditional medicine in the way that it focuses on a patients mind, body, and inner energy, to aid in healing. Some, use magic charms, colour therapy, sound therapy, and juice therapy, in which natural juices are used as tonic therapies. Flower remedy is a system of natural medicine that uses remedies distilled from blooming plants and trees, and some followers believe that flowers are natures gentle tools for treating and preventing disease. (Gottlieb,1995:37) There is even a healing process called food therapy. It involves a healthy diet and relating nutrition to disease, something a lot of conventional doctors do not practice these days.
Hydrotherapy involves using different water temperature and pressure to help heal many things such as sprains, headaches, and even pneumonia. It is usually accompanied by massage, and used often in sports. Imagery is a type of therapy in which the patient imagines that they are being healed, and before long, they will feel better. For example, if a patient had a bad sunburn on their back, they could imagine that a block of ice was melting inside their neck and dripping down the back. Within minutes, the pain should be gone. Imagery can also include sounds, tastes, and smells.
(Nash,1996:45) The list of alternative therapies goes on and on. For every disease known to mankind, there is probably a complementary alternative medicine to counter it. Most alternative medicines are unheard of in North America, where conventional medicines and doctors dominate over eastern medicine. This is mainly because when North Americans hear the term "alternative medicine", they can think up some pretty exotic images. In recent years though, the more popular eastern medicines have become more widely used in the west.
For example, a few years ago, herbal teas, were used as remedies for everything from insomnia to morning sickness, were sold mainly in health food stores. Today, one can find seemingly endless varieties in a regular supermarket. Of all the different remedies that exist, North Americans are probably most familiar with therapies that are most talked about and receive the most attention. Reflexology, aromatherapy, and acupuncture are valid and considerable forms of alternative medicine. They are proven to work effectively, and when administered by a professional, are usually safe, and non-toxic.
These three types of natural medicines are often talked about on television specials, in magazine articles, and other visual and print media. They are being used more commonly as people are getting tired of conventional medicines that dont work, or worsen the problem, and doctors who do not treat their patients as individuals, and are always overbooked. Now is a time when people crave information about the human body. Many people would like to heal themselves of illness, or prevent disease, using methods that have fewer toxic side effects than many of todays modern pharmaceuticals. (Gottlieb,1995:2) This is why many people are turning to the ancient tools of the past.
Reflexology is a skilled treatment of pressure points on the feet, developed by an American medical doctor, William Fitzgerald. "It has become one of the most popular complementary therapies because it is so effective." (Mackay,1997) It is gentle, painless, very relaxing, and has no harmful side effects, yet it is quite effective because it corrects the underlying cause of the problem, rather than just masking the symptoms. Reflexologists believe that certain spots on the feet are directly linked to other body parts, including muscles, bones, organs, and more. Working these spots helps the body relax, giving it a chance to heal. (Gottlieb,1995:108) The idea is that pressure is applied to the hands and feet promotes a beneficial response throughout the body, providing a break from stress. Although researchers are still looking for the how's and why's of reflexology, Kevin and Barbara Kunz, reflexology researchers in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and authors of Hand and Foot Reflexology, say "The results are obvious.
Reflexology can be a great contributor to overall health." (Gottlieb,1995:107) According to reflexology, the body is divided into ten zones called "energy zones". Every tendon, ligament, organ, muscle, bone, and brain cell in included in one of these zones, and every zone ends at the soles of the feet. (Hill,1978:187) Reflex areas are the spots on the feet that when massaged, correspond to specific body parts and help them to feel relaxed. Hands also have reflex areas, but feet need the relaxation more so because they are constricted to shoes all day. Some reflexologists say that toxins settle in the feet because of gravity, so this is another reason why the feet need to be worked on more than the hands. (Rosenfeld,1996:162) Reflexologists say that they can often tell from the feet when something in the body is wrong.
Tender spots on the feet indicate that you may have a problem in the corresponding part of the body. (Gottlieb,1995:110) An explanation behind reflexology is still a mystery, but evidence is building up that it does work. Research remains limited, but one study shows a possible link between reflexology and the relief of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). The study involved 35 California women who complained of PMS symptoms, and the women who received true reflexology reported feeling significantly better than those who received placebo reflexology sessions which included working on parts of the ears, hands and feet that are not supposed to have any effect on PMS. (Jacobs,1996:193) Reflexology can be used to treat many things including anxiety, arthritis, bronchitis, indigestion, sinus problems, and even grief. Laryngitis, for example, can be treated by paying special attention to the throat, chest, lung, diaphragm, and lymphatic system reflex points on both feet.
It is also suggested to thoroughly work all of the points on the sides and bottoms of the toes. (Gottlieb,1995:409) Aromatherapy is another form of alternative medicine. It the use of essential oils to promote good personal health. It combines the sciences of chemistry, botany, and physiology with the art of essential oil blending to achieve physical, emotional, and mental balance. (Monte,1993:212) Healing effects of organic chemical components are done by inhalation or application of essential oils and hydrosols. Essential oils can be inhaled by diffusers, candles, a handkerchief- or anything that can give off a scent. A hydrosol (which is the leftover water from distilling the plant material) is spritzed in the air or on the face and inhaled with a deep relaxing breath. By application and inhalation, aromatherapy claims to affect the entire being to promote vital health and wellness. It is a form of complementary medicine to heal physical and mental imbalances.
(Earle & Rose,1996) Aromatherapy often works because"humans relate fragrance to specific experiences. Take for example, being in a rain forest. The brain records these experiences, often unconsciously, and when the odour is re-encountered, one recalls the specific point in time." (Monte,1993:212) Essential oils have the ability to help heal and prevent infections. During World War One, chemist Maurice Gattefosse experimented with the use of essential oils for the treatment of soldiers war wounds. In July of 1910, he burned his hands in a laboratory explosion.
He rolled in grass to put out the flames, but gas gangrenous sores began to appear. He applied essential oils of terpene-free lavender to the burns and noticed a sudden arrest of gasification tissues. (Nash,1996:19) Quick healing, arrest of blisters, and masking of gangrenous odours were all achieved in record time. Aromatherapy is known to help the immune system stay strong. Lavender, lemon, bergamot, thyme, chamomile, pine, sandalwood, myrrh, and vetiver are all essential oils that stimulate the production of infection fighting white blood cells.
(Earle & Rose,1996) The antiviral action of certain essential oils with terpenoid compounds are very specific- the citruses and the pine oils are the most effective at boosting immunity. (Keville & Green,1997) Headaches can also be treated by a range of different oils and herbs depending on the specific origin of the headache. It is important to find the cause of the headache in order to obtain the proper essential oil. Peppermint oil is one of the more traditional aromatherapy re ...
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