Friday, September 18, 2015

Headaches, Asthma and "Aromatherapy"

Aromatherapy is the art and science of using naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.  Plus, everyone likes when their house, apartment or office space smells good.  There is the ambiance of freshness and relaxation.  Good scents make good sense (sorry, couldn't resist).

However, mass produced, commercially available fragrance items like air fresheners, candles, plug ins and more are  known to contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), allergens, phthalates, and cancer-causing chemicals (like benzene and formaldehyde). Many of the chemicals when experienced by people through smell and breathing have been linked to hormone disruption, allergies, asthma, and even cancer linked cell mutations in one's DNA.  One recent study found scented candles were strong sources of VOC emissions whether they were lit or not.  However, when they are lit, they contain formaldehyde. Further, incense sticks and air fresheners have also been shown to contribute to poor indoor air quality by releasing benzene.

Even if the link to certain chemicals does not concern you, the use of room air fresheners by pregnant women significantly increased the likelihood of babies having wheezing and lung infections as well as more earaches and diarrhea.  These mothers tended to suffer from more headaches and depression.  One study found a 50% increased risk for developing asthma.

Ayurveda uses aromatherapy as a treatment modality, but it uses pure essential oils.  These oils are natural extractions from plants without added chemicals in processing.  Additionally, there are aroma therapy diffusers that use these oils, allowing one to enjoy good smells without the chemicals.  There are companies that sell pure essential oil based products that can be used instead of the commercially prepared versions.  Just check the label to make sure you are buying products scented with only essential oils and nothing else.  A little detective work can help you 'sniff' out the good products from the bad ones.

Stay healthy & well,

No comments:

Post a Comment