Health Focus of the Month

Health Focus highlights the latest information and resources on health care and trends.  Check out
the resources or a book to learn more about maintaining good health habits. 


Aromatherapy: Follow Your Nose

What is aromatherapy?  According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants for healing.  The word ‘aroma’ may be misleading- the oils used in aromatherapy can be inhaled but also massaged into the skin and rarely taken by mouth.  Seek out a professional or trained specialist before trying essential oils and aromatherapy before trying therapies on your own.
What are essential oils?  They are extracts taken from the plant’s leaves, stalks, bark, roots and seeds.  The oils are used in numerous ways such as in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and perfumes.  They also help to reduce stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and insomnia to name a few. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support claims that aromatherapy and essential oils prevent or cure illnesses.  
The use of aromatherapy and essential oils may be traced back to the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.  Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist, discovered in the 1902s that lavender has healing properties when he used lavender oils to treat a chemical burn. Aromatherapy became more popular in the 1950s when massage therapists, doctors, beauticians and others began adding aromatherapy and essential oils to their treatments.  It was not until the 1980s that the use of aromatherapy became popular in the United States. 
Want to explore this therapy further?  Try these resources:  500 Formulas for Aromatherapy: Mixing Essential Oils for Everyday Use  by Carol Schiller  615.321 Schiller, Book of Step-by-Step Massage & Aromatherapy by Mark Evans 615.321 Essential  National Geographic: Complete Guide to Natural Home Remedies 615.535 Complete 2012.  Check out the eBooks on the subject here is a sample: Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Essential Oils for Beginners by Brittany Samons.
Consult your primary care physician for a recommendation for a qualified aromatherapist.  The University of Minnesota “Taking Charge of Your Well-Being” has some suggestions on finding qualified aromatherapist:
The Community Health Library Branch is located on the first floor of Summa Barberton Hospital. We are open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Our phone number is 330-615-3105.  Visit us at and go to the Community Health Library links for more information.