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Aromatherapy Massage for the Immune System

Using aromatherapy massage to help the immune system

The immune system is our self-defense against literally millions of microorganisms that continuously try to invade and occupy our bodies. Specialized blood cells together with the lymphatic system make up our immune system. Some of the body's defenses are non-specific and protect us against harmful microbes, while other defenses target specific invading agents.

The micro-organisms or microbes that try to invade us may be viruses, parasites, bacteria or fungi. Not all of these are threatening; many are of benefit to the outer environment, and others live in happy coexistence inside our bodies. For example, the many different flora in our digestive system play an active role in keeping the digestion functioning well. When these are destroyed - for instance, by taking antibiotics - it is recommended that we eat live yogurt to replace them.

Once a threatening micro-organism enters the body, the immune system responds with a chain of action. Large white cells called phagocytes detect the foreign body, wrap themselves around it and kill it, though the cell itself often dies in the process. We can see this activity at an infected wound, where the pus is partly formed of dead bacteria and dead white blood cells.

Lymphocytes manufacture antibodies in response to invading microbes. These antibodies stay in the blood, and when the same microbe attempts to invade again, the antibody already present acts as a deterrent. When you have sufficient antibodies to prevent any symptoms arising, you are said to be immune to that organism. T-cells and adrenal glands also play a role in the body's defense.

How to use aromatherapy massage to help the immune system

Aromatherapy helps the immune system, because essential oils support and strengthen the body's immune response with a dual action. Some essential oils with anti-microbial properties fight the microbes, while other essential oils with immuno-stimulant properties boost the body's natural defenses. Some essential oils have both properties, including ti-tree, lavender, manuka, ravensara, eucalyptus and bergamot. Massage, inhalations and compresses are all useful, depending on individual circumstances.

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