Aromatherapy and Womens’ Health

By Dr. Aroma sci, Ph.D.

Published in "Health and Healing" volume 3 number 1, June.

Women in today’s modern world face challenges that create emotional stress that has a direct effect on their physiology. Stress may cause delays and irregularities in the menstrual cycle, block feelings of sensuality, and interfere with conception. It is only in recent years that women’s delicate and complex physiology has been given the attention it deserves by the conventional medicine establishment. Unfortunately, conventional medicine often resorts to drastic and radical measures that do not harmonize with today’s woman’s needs. The new millennium woman is seeking the gentler healing practices that respect the intricacy of the female rhythms, focus on prevention, and enhance her sense of well being. Although various forms of alternative healing practices offer solutions to many women’s health issues, Aromatherapy offers unique advantages for women.

Aromatherapy is a form of healing that uses volatile aromatic oils "essential oils" (not to be confused with "flower essences") distilled from a variety of fragrant plants and plant parts, for example, flowers (Rose), fruits (Orange), whole plants (Lavender), medicinal herbs (Chamomile), spices (Vanilla) or resins (Frankincense). Unlike other modes of healing, Aromatherapy offers a sensory journey to health that involves the delight in the fragrant treatment (e.g. aromatic bath or massage) and gently helps the body to rebalance and heal itself. Part of the healing comes from literally taking the time to smell the roses… something that women, with their keen sense of smell, can greatly appreciate. Many essential oils are antiseptic and act as natural antibiotics effective against viruses, fungi, as well as bacteria. Their complexity prevents the development of resistance, a major concern with prescription antibiotics. As you will see below, Aromatherapy is a very valuable form of alternative medicine that is both practical and enjoyable. Aromatherapy can be practiced alone or complementary to other alternative forms of healing. In Europe conventional medicine is very successful in its integration of Aromatherapy into the mainstream.

Feminine Health conditions

Aromatherapy is wonderful for treating common feminine complaints such as yeast infections, Cellulite, Menopause, PMS and irregular periods. Some essential oils contain phyto-estrogen precursors that can be used to balance the reproductive hormones that tend to fluctuate during perimenopause and menopause. These hormone-balancing essences enhance the body’s own ability to balance irregular or heavy periods. Other essential oils can be applied to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy or to promote/reduce the flow of milk during nursing. Since the sense of smell is estrogen dependent, it is often greatly diminished after menopause, causing the woman great distress. Specific essential oil administration can be of significant benefit to restore smell loss in general.

Mood, Energy and Fitness

Essential oils have many uses, however the fact that our sense of smell is linked to the deep emotion and memory centers in the brain, makes Aromatherapy a very powerful instrument for emotional healing and stress reduction. Clinical depression afflicts millions of women and certain essential oils (e.g. Neroli) are known for their calming effects, while others, such as Rosemary, will restore energy, and enhance mental alertness. Some oils have a balancing effect on mood, and they will stimulate or relax as needed. For the spiritual woman, Aromatherapy is a wonderful tool to create her indoor fragrant sanctuary. The Athletic woman can successfully use Aromatherapy to invigorate and enhance fitness, treat muscular aches and pains, and cure athlete’s foot.

Personal Care and Sensuality

It is natural for women to surround themselves with fragrance to enhance their attractivity and sensuality. Aromatherapy is widely used for beauty care and rejuvenation, since many of the oils have skin regeneration effects. Aromas, such as in a pampering massage oil, will sharpen the senses and enhance all of life’s pleasures, including libido. This is more than pure indulgence; Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, stated already in 500BC that "the best way to health is a fragrant bath and an aromatic massage every day." Scientific studies have demonstrated that indeed, pleasant aromas promote the release of the body’s natural "feel good" molecules and simultaneously stimulate the body’s immune system, thus promoting a healthy physiology.

Although aromatherapy oils are widely available, it is important to recognize that proper administration and safe usage requires education and knowledge. Aromatherapy is not only for women, it is highly beneficial for men and children as well. The Aroma Science Institute, located in Raleigh, offers Aromatherapy courses leading to certification as well as various workshops conducted in a relaxed small group setting. Continuing education credits are available for CTMs and soon for RNs as well. In addition, one-on-one consultations and customized blends are scientifically based on analysis of physiographical responses (such as heart rate and skin conductance) to the various oils. The Aroma Science Institute, also customizes personal Aromatherapy perfumes, as well as environmental fragrances for ambiance, alertness and relaxation in offices and workplaces. It also offers its own line of performance and fitness products to Health Clubs and Spas. The Aroma Science Institute is the East Coast representative of "The Aromatherapist," the world’s largest line of organic and wild essential oils from Germany. The finest health conscious stores and establishments in the area already carry this exquisite line.

Dr. Poran, founder of the Aroma Science Institute, has an MS degree in Immunology and a Ph.D. in Chemical Ecology from the University of California, Davis. She has specialized for many years in the chemical senses (e.g. sense of smell) and has developed a complete course devoted to the sense of smell entitled "The Mystery of Smell and its Role in Health, Communication, and Culture" at North Carolina State University. Dr. Poran is open to research collaboration with local health organizations and is available for speaking engagements and on-site Aromatherapy workshops. She can be reached by email and by phone at 919.

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