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Alternative Health Options Expand In Tampa | Health

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Alternative Health Options Expand In Tampa
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Alternative Health Options Expand In Tampa

With healthcare costs spiraling out of control, many are looking for ways to live better using both preventive care and effective but less expensive treatments. Consider the Tampa-based Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy, which launched in 1989 to provide education on the health benefits of essential oils and herbs. The institute is starting new classes this month for those who want to learn more about this unique form of treatment. A related (nonprofit) venture called Unitedaromatherapy.org has delivered scented products to New York firefighters, cleanup crews in New Orleans and even soldiers in Afghanistan. Despite common beliefs about this not being a real treatment, studies have proven otherwise, and the technology industry is advancing the field in ways that help it fit into people's lifestyles.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils and dry herbs such as rosemary, lavender and thyme to release their scents for health benefits. A study was recently published in The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine indicating that inhalation of various essential oils (with personal inhalers) caused a large reduction of stress including reduced aches, pains and fatigue while increasing productivity. Another study, this one funded by NASA, indicated that peppermint oil similarly decreased anxiety, frustration and fatigue.

For the use of dry botanicals, vaporization is growing in popularity since it can be a more direct form of therapy, and some are sensitive to oils. Vaporization heats the herbs to release the active ingredients without burning (combustion), avoiding the harmful byproducts from smoke. The Arizer Solo is one modern-style device that makes use of this technique with ground herbs or full plant leaves and is handheld for use on the go.

Diffusers are commonly used for dispersing essential oils into the air instead of using dry plant matter. One advanced gadget using this technique is the USB Aroma Radio and Speaker that diffuses oils and serves as a music player via a computer's USB port. Another modern aromatherapy device is the Aromax, which has a cone shape and an adjustable scent output. Only pure oils without additives should be used, typically available from trusted vendors.

With classes available and technology developments in the industry becoming mainstream, aromatherapy may be worth a try as there are plenty of options. It's always a good idea to consult a medical professional or established industry vendor before making any healthcare decisions, but the potential benefits might surprise you.

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