Regarding usage of Aromatherapy as Internal Medicine

27-Dec-2016

As an aromatherapy practitioner and educator since many years, I have to admit that I was a hypocrite regarding usage of aromatherapy as internal medicine. I have been using some essential oils for use within my own family and myself as internal medicine also, but I always told my students and patients that never use essential oils for internal consumption. The purpose behind this advice was actually to save my patients and learners from incorrect use of essential oils. It was recently pointed by one of my student that I had referred internal consumption of some oils in specific diseases. Then, I decided to clarify my stance on this issue using this blog.

For example if I suffer from some irritation of bowel or an outbreak of diarrhea, I do take 1 drop of neat peppermint oil mixed with about 100 ml of water about 3 times a day. I mostly get relief without taking any other medication. Mixing essential oil with water is difficult, but some rigorous churning of oil in water breaks oil into very small particles and they are not irritants any more. I am able to do this because I have full faith on the source of essential oils. I also know that by smelling the oil bottle, I would be able to make out that the oil I am using is peppermint oil only and not anything else.

Internal consumption can be done only for some essential oils only. The quantity used in any dose should be very low and should be correctly measured. Accidental over consumption can lead to serious problems. The trust worthy source of essential oil is very important. Since aromatherapy is often used by people by just reading from somewhere or hearing somebody, essential precautions may be missed.

I do not advice the same to my patients for some compelling reasons. The first one is that internal consumption can be done only for some essential oils only. The quantity used in any dose should be very low and should be correctly measured. Accidental over consumption can lead to serious problems. The trust worthy source of essential oil is very important. Since aromatherapy is often used by people by just reading from somewhere or hearing somebody, essential precautions may be missed. It is also important that the person who is experienced in the field of aromatherapy is able to differentiate most oils by just smelling them. This helps the practitioner in a way that he/she  is not making wrong choices in picking  bottles. It is also important that while using any oil for internal consumption, it must be picked from a bottle which has come directly from the manufacturer only. Self refilled bottles should not be used.

The final word is “Use essential oils for internal consumption, only when prescribed and given by an experienced and qualified aromatherapist only. Self experimentation can be dangerous.”

Apple Slice Massage in Fever

08-Dec-2016

My wife was shivering that night. I know a bit about monitoring the pulse beat. It was more than 110 per minute and it was quite thumpy and throbby. As per the feeling of my touch her fever must be around 103 degree Fahrenheit. I gave her 500 mg paracetamol tablet. I knew well that this will take around one to one and half ever to be effective. I needed to do something quickly to give her some relief. The simple well tried technique was plain water dipped handkerchief folds on her forehead, and I did try it. Being an aromatherapist I also added 2 drops of basil and 2 drops of lavender in this plain water compress. Soon I realised that it was not so effective as I wished it could be. Actually her shiver was more on her lower legs and foot. I recalled that my mother used to give me cucumber massage in such shivers. Sometimes she also used the bottle gourd in place of cucumber. I checked the refrigerator, both this items were not available. I saw apples lying in my fruit basket on the dining table. I decided to use apple slices in place of cucumber. I used all my experience of creating thin slices by cutting the apple horizontally to get around 8 to 9 round slices. I took out the seeds neatly and checked that the slices were neither too hot nor too cold.

I started massaging the soles of my wife with these apple slices. Two slices I kept on her palms. Later I also massaged her lower foot up to the calf muscles. Within two minutes of massage I felt that the shivers started reducing. I kept massaging gently on soles, lower foot and then palms one by one. After five minutes she said that she is feeling much better. I checked her pulse and it was definitely sounding much better. The throbs and thumps were normalized and count was reduced by 10 count from 110 to 100 per minute. After sometime the paracetamol also started showing its effect and she became much better. Next day she was diagnosed with viral fever by a regular homoeo physician and the treatment started. In few days she was fit and fine.

When I tried to find some science of commonsense behind this phenomenon, what I found was a connection between surface pH value change in case of fevers. When temperature rises, the pH falls, making the skin surface tend more towards acidic side.

Normally also skin surface is towards acidic, but it becomes even more acidic in fevers. Since most ripe fruits and vegetables are alkaline in nature, fruits and vegetable slices are a good remedy in fevers. But before we make a choice we have to take care that other components present in fruits and vegetables should not be allergic in any way. Cucumbers, Bottle gourds are good in this context. Brinjals, tubers and bell peppers will not be right. In fruits, apples may be right but pineapples may not be. Bananas may be right, but its pulpy feel may not be comfortable. Banana peel may however be effective in some cases.

I hope my experience can benefit readers in the times of emergencies. Just make sure, not to experiment with too many alternatives. My intuition worked as I had some experience. If there is any iota of doubt in your mind, it is better not to use such home remedies.

Smell Better – Sell More

14-Apr-2016

Smell of dishes made by Mom we always remember, howsoever old we become. People have far better smell memory than audio visual memory. The reason is that our smell sensing systems are much nearer to central portion of our brain, which is less susceptible to changes due to external environments.
The concept of better smell memory is being identified recently as a tool to impress customers and in turn achieve greater commercial success. A grocery store in New York actually used artificial aroma diffusers to pump dry aroma of chocolates and baked bread to give customers a feel that fresh chocolates and freshly baked breads are available here.

As we use logos to identify a brand, we are likely to use a distinct smell to identify a particular brand or a specific product from a particular brand. Even today many housewives identify their choice of washing powder with its smell. If by chance a company forgets to add right amount of fragrance to its washing powder, its sale may come down drastically. We may soon enter the times, where even things like mobile phones, laptops or television sets may get identified with their smell. The digital gadgets promises to make this competition one step further as it may allow choice of smells by digitally communicating it from one point to the other.

A new dimension is Aromatherapy will soon make headlines owing to its power of drawing customers towards a product. Scents can boost suggestive selling of products kept at the point of sale counters. A research jointly conducted by Washington state university and Switzerland’s University of St. Gallen conclusive proves that simple single aromatic essences like orange can make a person buy a product much more easily than complex smells of essences like basil, green tea etc. I am sure if research is done further we will surely find out exact components vis a vis purchase behaviour of Individuals.
In terms of hormonal induction, I can say with my experience that aromas that induce happiness hormone categories like endorphins, serotonins and dopamine can usually be considered as suggestive selling boosters. Essential oils of Lemon, Grape Fruit, Bergamot, Orange, Tangerine, Peppermint, Spearmint fall in this category. There are some essential oils which are effective in some people but not in some other people. Lavender and Sandalwood fall under this category. Sometimes it is observed that these oils are initially not liked, but later the liking level is extremely high. Floral source oils like Rose, Jasmine and Geranium may help boost sales of products for Ladies. Oils like Cinnamon, Fennel and Vetiver can also be experimented as oils with smells to align our minds to a particular category of products. For example a pencil brand with a cinnamon smell can become an identifier for customers to identify it quickly. Some smells like citronella, lemon grass, basil, eucalyptus etc. are too strong and may give a feeling of rejection and moving away from a product. However a mild mix of these oils with some other simple and pleasing smells may sometime be used as a variation of smell variety. Some smells like Frankincense, Tea Tree and Thyme etc are often controversial in terms of liking by some Individuals, but rejected by many other people. For example smell of shoe polish may not be liked by many, but some people identify it with its characteristics smell only. If it is case of a product like shoe polish, trying addition of smells that give it characteristics balsamic or resinous natural smell, people may perceive it of pure quality and may be inclined to buy it. Smell of products like shaving cream should be such that it is expected to be liked by masculine gender while shaving and should retain its smell in a way that even a well shaven male is liked by his partner also. Lavender and musk aromas meet this criterion.

Finally, it can be said with surety that our smell sense do affect our behaviour related to making purchase decisions the way we think colour and looks does. It is largely an untapped area at the moment, but for this reason only it is a very high potential area to venture into and apply our knowledge of Aromatherapy to commercial success of products by making them not only visually appealing but aromatically interesting as well.

Getting Rid of Controversies Related to Aromatherapy

07-Jul-2015

Some medical practitioners put Aromatherapy in the category of unproven and empirical stream of healing practices similar to other energy balancing therapies. Some feel that any impact if at all, it is there is due to ‘placebo effect’.  The ‘placebo effect’ refers to use of dummy substances or techniques, that a patient feels are proven treatment methods and is relieved of his symptoms or disease itself just because he perceives that he is taking a proper treatment. Aromatherapy is certainly not a placebo. The efficacy of essential oils have been proven in labs, hospitals and controlled tests. The only issue could be less number of trained aromatherapy practitioners and its possibility of usage as simple home remedies.

So controversy or criticism if any is purely due to lack of awareness and absence of widespread educational mediums on the subject. The same group of people some time put Ayurveda, Homoeopathy and Naturopathy amongst the category of placebo effect related therapies.

This is unfortunate, as due to a perception change that occurred after the discovery of sulphur drugs and then after the discovery of antibiotics, a bigger medical fraternity shifted its focus and trust towards research in a particular stream only. This also lead to deep rooted problem related to clash of commercial interests and risks involved in differing from the current trend.

Today the so called Allopathic practitioners (Interestingly the word ‘Allopathy’ itself means, alternative medicine, search Google) reject anything not produced by pharmacy companies. These companies are nothing but big business houses that synthesize or extract certain molecules, give them fancy names and approach doctors to prescribe their brand names only. In most cases the only version of knowledge about these molecules is the version as given by a specific pharmacy company and not the one which is widely acceptable by other practitioners. This is alarming. This disallows the usage of a bigger knowledge base and makes it unavailable for the benefit of masses. The use of essential oils for healing is a part of that huge knowledge base.

Administration Routes and Healing Power of Aromatherapy

07-Jul-2015

Essential oils, the main active component used for aromatherapy have a specific chemistry that helps them move effectively through multiple routes inside our body. We shall talk of four routes that are taken by application of essential oils. These are:

  • Nasal Route
  • Blood Route via Skin
  • Nerve excitation route
  • Cell-to-cell messaging route

The most novel route is the route from our nose to our mind. This is the shortest route for any medicine to work. Even the modern medicine researchers are now trying to use this route for highest efficacy, such as for calcium inhalation or for inhalation practices used by asthma patients.

Another route which essential oils can also take is the route of blood. This route is usually taken by modern allopathic medicines, by absorption from intestinal walls. An aromatherapist generally doesn’t prefer the intestinal method. He recommends application of essential oils along with its carrier oils to dilute them well. He applies them directly over the skin, so that it can be absorbed by small blood capillaries inside our skin and then transported by body to wherever the action is needed. This serves double purpose. One local application helps to heal the disease then and there itself, plus it can initiate the hormone generation process of the body by inducing signaling carried by blood vessels.

The nerve excitation route is also important as it affects the signaling system spread across our body that connects to brain and other important component of our nervous system. If a general massage has a soothing and pain relieving affect, an aromatic massage can increase its impact manifolds. This is because aromatic compounds helps cut those signals to brain which signal pain. This is similar to affect of analgesic drugs we often use.

The fourth very important route, an aromatherapist is targeting is the route of cell-to-cell signaling. Although some scientists raise controversy over this route, this route does exist. Although it is proved with lots of practical experiments, it is still not fully well understood by scientists in a way that its action can be demonstrated convincingly. This cell-to-cell signaling route is used by homeopathic practitioners also. It is claimed that healing properties of any chemical can pass through our body with the help of molecular vibrations that pass from one cell to another cell. It is also claimed that this signaling is too fast. It is probably much faster than a neuron can transmit a signal inside the body.

The healing power

It’s okay if essentials can move fast and create signals to travel fast in our body. But the big question is related to healing. The concepts of healing relate to disease cure and reduce the suffering from diseased conditions. The modern medicine system focuses on killing pathogens of external origin. Any deficiency or degeneration related diseases follow the approach of induction, replacement or delay tactics. For example a diabetic is provided with replacement insulin or drugs to induce insulin.

The approach to healing using the aromatherapy methods is multifold. The pathogen killing method it does have as it can also have anti-microbial actions. The main healing approach lies in sending the signals to brain and other cells of the body so that it corrects any imbalances inside our body by inducing right hormones or other chemicals. Our brain also does many other kinds of signaling other than hormone signaling or nerve signaling. This is a matter of continuous research. Each year new theories are being given and new methods of signaling are being found.

The action effect terms like antibiotic, antiviral, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-oxidant, anti-toxic, anti-septic, diuretic, carminative, digestive, astringent, stimulant, relaxing, expectorant, sedative are not uncommon to an aromatherapy practitioner.

Its anti-depressant and anti-oxidant have been convincingly proven much higher than traditional medicine in repeated experiments. Regarding other properties also experimental research gives very encouraging and promising results. Real experiments on hundreds of patients prove that all effects claimed above are far above than the placebo effects. Additional plus point is that they are free from all kinds of side effects that are produced by allopathic medicines.