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For centuries, many cultures have used exotic aromas ceremoniously. Recently, it has been discovered that aromas play a significant role in our overall health.

Like many alternative health therapies, aromatherapy has rooted itself in mainstream popular culture over the last 40 years. As more information becomes available and more people learn about the benefits of aromatherapy, it becomes increasingly popular.

Aromatheraphy uses aromatic essential oils to improve the body's physical and emotional health. Essential oils are known as the "life force" of plants. They are highly concentrated, volatile oils extracted from herbs, flowers, leaves, resin, bark, fruit rinds and roots.

When inhaled, the brain (lymbic system) channels the effects of the oils throughout the body, balancing your body's systems. Essential oils may also be absorbed by the skin and carried throughout the body via the circulatory system to reach internal organs. (Note that many essential oils must be diluted before applying them directly to the skin.)

If you have never experienced aromatherapy and essential oils, you may want to visit a licensed aromatherapist, or if you prefer to dapple in aromatherapy on your own, make sure to dilute the concentrated oils with pure-blend oils so as not to overwhelm yourself. This is especially important for small children or individuals with sensitive skin.