A great way to maintain good health and well-being is by using aromatherapy or herbal aromatics to help relax, de-stress, rejuvenate and refresh.
Just imagine walking into a room filled with aromatic breezes wafting through the air, the warm ambience of soft-lit candles that add aroma to a room with the homely scent of cinnamon, lavender or even refreshing pine. Subanallaah! I already feel relaxed!
Aromatherapy however, is not something new it has been around for centuries and was originally founded by the Chinese, before making its way across the globe. It is the practice of using plant and essential oils that are inhaled to offer psychological and physical benefits.
While there is nothing Islamically wrong with the use of essential oils used as scents it is best to find comfort, ease of mind, and relaxation both physically and mentally in prayer and dhikr (the remembrance of Allaah)
“Verily, in the remembrance of Allāh do hearts find rest.” (Surah ar’Ra’d 13:28).
Bear in mind that when the Chinese first discovered the realm of aromatherapy it was not processed by factories or altered by preserving elements thus as Muslims be warned that some of the essential oil products today may contain small amounts of perfume grade alcohol. It is therefore necessary that only 100% pure, natural plant oils with no added water, alcohol or vegetable based oils are purchased.
For everyday use aromatic candles are ideal for those moments when you need a boost of energy scented candles such as basil, cedar, cinnamon, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary and vanilla. If the kids have you in a frazzle the aroma of lavender will give you that calming effect. To really add a scent to a room it is best to invest in an aromatherapy essential oil burner which effectively diffuses the healing properties of herbal aromatic essential oils. Just by using 4-8 drops of Sage, Laurel and Eucalyptus the air can be cleaned of germs and bugs thus assisting with respiratory functions.
It is interesting to note that according to the National Candle Association, more than half of all candles produced are made as scented candles using an estimated 500 to 800 aroma chemicals and essential oils to develop scents.
For a quick look at what scents are good for what ailment see below:
- For a calming – chamomile, lavender, geranium
- For a boost of high spirits – sage, rose,
- To get energized – rosemary
- For decongestion – eucalyptus, pine, tea tree
Healing & Relaxation
When having a bath at the end of the day a hot and relaxing bath is both a way to calm down tired bodies and relieve stress by simply adding a few drops of lavender, citronella or melissa oil. It enhances your skin and the hot steamy vapor also assists with clearing the breathing passages and creating a calm and clear mind. The bath water gives direct contact of essential oils and your skin which becomes softened and totally invigorated as it releases stress build up in the body.
For a totally soothing way to get rid of those aches and pains nothing beats an aromatherapy massage by a licensed massage therapist who will select oils that are relaxing and energizing. One of the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy massage is lavender, which gives a subtle aroma that fills the air around you during the massage soothing conditions that release stress on the skin.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would use hibiscus flower to aid digestion and rosewater essence as a perfume during the month of Ramadan.
“And whatsoever He has created for you on the earth of varying colors [and qualities from vegetation and fruits] and from animals. Verily! In this is a sign for people who remember. “( 16:13 )
Today, the hibiscus fragrance oil is used in making scented soaps, candles and for massage therapy. Its Arabic name is Karkade and has a wonderful berry-like aroma and taste which aids digestion, lowers fevers and high blood pressure.
Rose water is a powerful anti-depressant and is still being used in the Middle East. As an essential oil it is used to increase the body muscle tone, restore vigor, aid the nervous stress, remove headache and help with physical and mental fatigue brain.
Even the pomegranate, ar-Rummān in Arabic, is mentioned in the Qur’an and today pomegranate essential oil is used as an agent to relieve muscular aches and pains as well as reducing swelling and pomegranate seed extract promotes skin regeneration nourish and moisturize the skin, improving elasticity, reducing wrinkles and preventing aging.
The benefits of aromatherapy have been enjoyed by people for thousands of years from the Egyptians who recommended fragrant oils for bathing and massage to the plethora of essential oils that line shop shelves today aimed at specific ailments.
Indeed, our health and well-being are a favor that many of us take for granted. We have been entrusted with the greatest gift – a human body which is ours for a predestined time Fortunately, Islam is a religion that encourages Muslims to seek medical help:
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once said,
‘There is a remedy for every malady and when the remedy is applied to the disease, it is cured’.” (Narrated by Muslim)
So, whether it is the sweet aromatic fragrances of scented candles or by the essential oils of a therapeutic massage there are benefits to be had through aromatherapy. We must look after our bodies and show gratitude to Allaah for giving us the physical, emotionally, spiritual and mental well being to participate fully in life.
First published: August 2016