Aromatherapy has been used to increase physical and emotional well-being at least since the time of the ancient Egyptians. While this therapy has a wide variety of uses, including relieving pain, nausea, colds, skin problems and other conditions, its stress-relieving qualities are also used in detoxification.
Aromatherapy uses plants’ essential oils, which have been chemically extracted from aromatic flowers, herbs and, even, woods. Each essential oil has its own characteristic aroma and therapeutic effect. There are oils to soothe, to invigorate and to relieve negative emotions, such as depression, stress and anxiety. Still other essential oils are believed to battle bacteria and fungi and reduce inflammation.
Essential oils are used in many different ways, including massage, inhalation, aromatic baths, compresses and vaporization. Some of the oils commonly used for detoxification purposes include angelica root, fennel, grapefruit and juniper berry.
Essential oils are very concentrated, so never apply them directly to your skin. Before you use them, you must dilute them in a pure, natural “carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, apricot oil or grape seed oil. Aromatherapy isn’t for everyone. Avoid it if you have asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, sensitive skin, allergies, or if you are pregnant. Also, avoid using essential oils on babies and children.
Adapted from The Purification Plan: Clear Your Body of the Toxins That Contribute to Weight Gain, Fatigue, and Chronic Illness, from the editors of Rodale Health Books (Rodale, 2005).