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Why Aromatherapy is Important

According to an article on the Mayo Clinic website, though scientific studies on aromatherapy are limited some positive benefits include:

  • Relief from anxiety and depression

  • Improved quality of life, particularly for people with chronic health conditions

  • Improved sleep

The venerable Cleveland Clinic published this handy guide on how to use essential oils in your self-care routine:

The old-fashioned way: Take deep breaths of the aroma after opening the bottle.

Diffuser method: Mix essential oils and water in an essential oil diffuser and turn on the magic. A diffuser is a device that disperses tiny oil particles around the room so you can breathe them in. Follow your diffuser’s directions for the right oil-to-water ratio.

Dry evaporation: Put a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and smell the aroma as it disperses.

Steam inhalation: Put a few drops of essential oil in a bowl of hot water. Put your head over the bowl, a towel over your head and breathe in the steam.

One caveat is that aromatherapy may not work as well for older adults with dementia or behavior problems, she notes. That may be because people tend to experience loss of smell as they get older.

Mayo Clinic experts caution, when are applied to the skin, side effects may include allergic reactions, skin irritation and sun sensitivity. In addition, further research is needed to determine how essential oils might affect children and how the oils might affect women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, as well as how the oils might interact with medications and other treatments.

If you're considering aromatherapy, consult your doctor and a trained aromatherapist about the possible risks and benefits.

When it comes to self-care my advice is always indulge but be very aware of both the side effects and the benefits of any therapy.

According to Healthline, this is one of the most effective techniques for hand massage.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position. To apply moderate pressure, it may be easier to have one hand on a table while you use your other hand to do the massage strokes.

  2. Use your palm to stroke your forearm from the wrist to the elbow and back again on both sides. If you want to, you can extend the stroking to your shoulder. Do this at least three times on both sides of your forearm. The idea here is to warm up your muscles.

  3. Use your palm to stroke from your wrist to your fingertips on both sides of your hand. Do this at least three times. Use moderate pressure.

  4. Cup your hand around your forearm with your thumb underneath. Pinch your skin starting at the wrist, and work slowly up to the elbow and back down again. Do this on both sides of the forearm at least three times using moderate pressure.

  5. Use your thumb and forefinger — or your thumb and all your fingers — to press in a circular or back-and-forth motion, slowly moving up your hand and forearm. Do this on both sides of your arm and hand at least three times using moderate pressure.

  6. Press your thumb in a circular motion with moderate pressure all around the back of your hand and then your palm. Continue pressure with your thumb along both sides of each finger. Use your thumb to massage the area between your thumb and forefinger.

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