Aromatherapy

.. medies for headaches. It can be applied as a compress, or straight- one or two drops directly to the back of the neck. A significant reduction in pain, as well as positive mood change, and noticeable performance improvement was seen in aromatherapy patients in a large experiment in 1990. (Earle & Rose,1996) Natural remedies are said to increase the bodys resistance to disease by improving its ability to fight infection.

No single essential oil will heal a person, but many plants have immune modulating properties. (Rosenfeld,1996:45) Essential oils should not be solely relied upon in cases of serious illnesses, but may be integrated into any therapeutic program such as physiotherapy, or massage therapy. Aromatherapy is both a specific science, and a deeply complex art. An understanding of the human body and the interrelated functions of all its systems allow the aromatherapist to act as both an artist, and a scientist for their patient. This form of unconventional medicine is slowly making its way into acceptance in society. In the past few years, acupuncture has also established itself as an effective and considerable form of medicine in North America. Its recognition has increased in the conventional medical world, and has also made an impression on the public.

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Acupuncture has a reputation for treating the person as whole, as well as curing specific ailments and complaints, and its growing role in the west is matched by an increasig demand for well trained and qulaified acupuncturists. Acupuncture invloves using very fine needles that peirce the skin, which work as antennae to draw Qi (pronouned “chee”) into the body at specific points and along certain meridian lines. (Monte,1993:247) It works by stimulating the bodys own healing abilities. The fine hair-thin needles do not inject anything into the body, but instead, the healing components of the body are broadened, directed, and generally made stronger in order to manage future health problems. (Nash,1996:15) According to the Chinese, a huge group of pathways run throughout the body. These pathways flow from organ system to organ system, and connect with every cell of the body. Along these pathways, close to the surface of the skin are little nodules, or acupuncture points, that only a trained acupuncturist can feel. (Galem,1997) When these points are stimulated by heat, touch, or penetration by a needle, the nodules cause a chain reaction of events that affect many aspects of the body, mind, and spirit. (Nash,1996:15) These pathways, or meridians were explained by the Chinese as being channels of energy, or Chi (pronounced “chee” and sometimes spelled “Qi”).

Dr. Ben Galem says that: “Each person is, in reality, an energetic body with a physical body contained within. By cultivating and building Chi in the body, we strengthen ourselves so that our body works better, our immune system gets stronger, our energy level grows, and we have a greater sense of well being.” (1997) A concept of Chinese medicine that influences acupuncture, is that of yin and yang. Everything is composed of opposites, which need each other to exist- like a cycle. Hot does not exist without cold, and vice versa.

Sometimes these opposing forces become out of balance with each other, and acupuncture, and other Chinese medicine can turn up or turn down the Chi and cause a balance to return to the individual who is being treated. (Eisenberg & Lee,1995:52) For example, if a person is too hot, then hot can be turned down, and cold raised. If a person is too cold, the cold can be turned down, and the hot raised. (Galem,1997) Another way acupuncture works, is by countering outside influences such as cold weather. Acupuncture can help build the bodys immune system so that catching common colds and other viruses is less likely.

If treatment is given in the early stages of cold, symptoms will be less intense. If it is given in the late stages, it can speed up recovery time. Duration and frequency of treatment depend on the initial patient condition and severity of the disorder. Usually, patients see their acupuncturist twice a week for the first two weeks, then once each week, and then less frequently as symptoms settle. After therapy is over, maintenance visits are five times yearly. The goal is to maintain homeostasis in the body for longer periods of time.

(Galem,1997) Acupuncture can be used to treat many conditions including migraines, asthma, bursitis, tendonitis, menstrual pain, aid in weight loss and quitting smoking, back pain, sports injuries, and much, much more. It is a very well known type of therapy, and its possibilities are almost endless. The use of major alternative medicines is increasing in areas where they remain inferior to conventional medicine, mainly in Canada and the United States. This is because people with health problems and complaints do not like the atmosphere of a regular doctors office, and they do not feel as if the doctor is giving them the attention that they need and deserve. Practitioners of natural healing all believe that the patient and their illness must be looked at deeply, and seriously. The mind, body, inner energy, and lifestyle, must be treated as a whole. There must be no distractions, and the appointment must not be rushed, as is the case of many conventional doctors offices with crowded waiting rooms, and small, stuffy examining rooms.

Reflexology, aromatherapy, and acupuncture are all unconventional medicines that are worth consideration. They are proven to be valid, effective, and very helpful. Believers and patients of these natural remedies swear by them. Researchers are constantly finding evidence that back up practitioners theories that natural remedies really do work just as well, if not better, than popping a few pills. Although most alternative medicines are safe, and have far less toxic side effects than many doctors prescriptions, some natural remedies, whether they include flowers and herbs, or sound and a wide imagination, can have unwanted, and sometimes harmful side effects. This usually happens when an inexperienced person tries to treat themselves and they know nothing about the field.

A professional should always be consulted before action is taken. There is a lot of information to be found as more and more research is brought out about alternative medicine methods such as reflexology, aromatherapy, and acupuncture, and many, many more. One should converse with a qualified practitioner and come to a decision on what type, or types of, natural healing methods that they wish to use to help heal their sickness. Natural remedies can be used on their own, or blended with another for faster relief. They can also be incorporated with modern science and modern medicines, pain-killers, or supplements. For anyone seeking help for anything from depression and insomnia, to headaches, and the common cold, and thousands of more unwanted sicknesses, many believers of natural remedies will strongly recommend this form of healing which dates back thousands of years, to aid in therapy of open minded individuals.

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