Specific Therapeutic Technique Paper
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Specific Therapeutic Technique Paper
With the growing popularity of complementary and alternative medicine certain therapies have become more common without the need of a practitioners hand. One of these common therapies is called aromatherapy. Aromatherapy combines the medicinal properties of plants with oil massages. Aromatherapy can be found in one of the five categories of therapies defined by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and with the available knowledge it can provide a therapeutic experience.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has five categories of alternative therapies. The categories include biologically based practices, energy medicine, manipulative and body-based practices, mind-body medicine, and whole medical systems. Biologically based practices generally consist of natural components. NCCAM (2004) provides that biologically based practices includes, but is not limited to, botanicals, animal-derived extracts, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, prebiotics and probiotics, whole diets, and functional foods (para 1). A significant part of biologically based practices are dietary supplements. The dietary supplements contain at least one biologically based product to provide for a popular trend. Energy medicine is divided into two different types, veritable and putative energy. Veritable energies can be measured and putative energies have not been measured to date. Veritable energies use mechanical vibrations, electromagnetic forces, magnetism, light, and other electromagnetic spectrum rays. Each component of veritable energy use wavelengths and frequencies to treat consumers. Putative energies focus more on the concept that humans contain an energy, also known as life force. Putative energies are used in the Japanese Kampo system, Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and in a few other alternative medicine practices. Manipulative and body-based practices include chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, Alexander technique, reflexology, rolfing, Feldenkrais method, and numerous others. One study (Eisenberg et al., 1998) shows that visits to chiropractors (191,886,000) and to massage practitioners (113,723,000) accounted for half of all visits to alternative practitioners (para 7). Manipulative and body-based practices are centered around the system and structures of the human body. Several manipulative and body-based practices were created from traditional Eastern cultures while chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation were created over a century ago. Mind-body medicine centers on the interactions between the mind, body, brain, and individuals behavior in conjunction to how they affect health. Mind-body practices include meditation, yoga, hypnosis, qi gong, tai chi, and biofeedback. The practice of mind-body medicine has grown very popular over the last decade, especially in the United States. The last alternative therapy category is whole medical systems. Whole medical systems consist are a combination of practice and theory that were derived from conventional medicine. Some examples of whole medical systems include Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, and naturopathy. Whole medical systems focus on the idea that the human body is able to heal itself. All five categories of CAM therapies offer unique ways of healing the human body, but the path to healing relies on the individual and which CAM he or she chooses.
Aromatherapy is associated with two categories that the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine provide. These categories include mind-body medicine and manipulative and body-based practices. Ford-Martin (2001) defines aromatherapy as the therapeutic use of plant-derived, aromatic essential oils to promote physical and psychological well-being. It is sometimes used in combination with massage and other therapeutic techniques as part of a holistic treatment approach (para 1). Aromatherapy belongs to mind-body medicine given that it uses the oils extracted from herbs and other botanicals for therapeutic practices. The oils are used in conjunction with meditation and relaxation. Aromatherapy also belongs to manipulative and body-based practices. Common in the United States, aromatherapy is combined with massage therapy to create a beneficial treatment.
Purpose of Aromatherapy
The purpose of aromatherapy is to provide both physical and psychological help to its consumers by utilizing different scents to promote positive sensory feelings and emotions. The variety of essential oils and oil mixtures, depending on method of use, function to counteract many different symptoms. Some symptoms include fatigue, skin problems, stress, menstrual conditions, indigestion, and circulatory problems just to name a few.
Aromatherapy has been practiced in several different cultures for many years. Ford-Martin (2001) explains that aromatic plants have been employed for their healing, preservative, and pleasurable qualities throughout recorded history in both the East and West. As early as 1500 B.C. the ancient Egyptians used waters, oils, incense, resins, and ointments scented with botanicals for their religious ceremonies (para 3). There is evidence that prior to the ancient Egyptians, the Chinese had the oldest known herbal text that listed over 200 botanicals. The traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda, which also uses aromatic herbs, dates back nearly 3,000 years. Both the Romans and Greeks bathed with botanicals and incorporated aromatics into their religious rituals. In the late 1930s French chemist RenÐ”©-Maurice GattefossÐ”© published Aromatherapie, which was very successful in Europe and influenced consumers to try aromatherapy. Soon after the publication of his book aromatherapy was considered an official medicinal therapy in Europe. During World War II a French physician named Jean Valnet used botanical aromatics on wounded soldiers. He used essential oils as antiseptics and to treat minor wounds. During the same time