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Aromatherapy Do you ever want to go home and take a nice, hot bubble bath? Remember how it made you feel and how it smelled? Certain types of oils can be put in your bath, and other places, to help you feel better. This use of oils is called aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing fields in alternative medicine.

Aromatherapy means "treatment using scents" (Tisserand 4.) According to Karen Way of "Ancient Healing Art", aromatherapy is derived from the ancient practice of using natural plant essences for therapeutic effects. Aromatherapy was created by a French perfume chemist named Rene Maurice Gattefosse in the 1920's. Gattefosse obtained a third degree burn during a lab accident. Instead of water, he accidentally submerged his arm into a vat of lavender oil. Gattefosse found that the lavender oil relieved the pain, and got rid of the scarring. And the rest is history.

Aromatherapy consists of the pure essential oils obtained from a wide assortment of plants, which have been steam distilled or cold-pressed from flowers, fruit, bark, and roots (Cates 51). During steam distillation, the hot steam causes the essential oils to be released by the plant. The oils float to the top and then are skimmed from the top. Thus creating a pure essential oil. A person can feel the therapeutic effect simply by breathing the aromatic vapors of an essential oil. One has to breathe the essential oil for an effect to be produced in your body. The scent of essential oils is conveyed by the olfactory nerve to areas of the brain that can influence emotions and hormonal response. For best results, one should use essential oils that are produced from the complete aromatic plant or flower (Lawless 46).

Aromatherapy offers psychological and physical benefits. It stimulates the brain...