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Everyone has a favourite smell, one that carries pleasant association. For some, it might be the scent of a perfume or cologne worn by a special someone. For some others, it could be the fragrance of damp soil after a shower that takes one back to some uncomplicated chapter of one's life, or the aroma of a favourite dish. The sense of smell is inextricably tied to memories, and thus has a powerful impact on emotions. Which is why experts through the ages have been trying to tap into the healing powers of olfaction. This is what we call 'aromatherapy'.

Aromatherapy is a term coined by French chemist René Maurice Gattefossé in the 1920's to describe the practice of using essential oils taken from plants, flowers, roots, seeds, etc., in healing. The term is a bit misleading, since the aromas of oils, whether natural or synthetic, are generally not themselves therapeutic. Aromas are used to identify the oils, to determine adulteration, and to stir the memory, but not to directly bring about a cure or healing. It is the "essence" of the oil--its chemical properties--that gives it whatever therapeutic value the oil might have.

Egyptians used a method called infusion to take oil from plants. Cosmetics and medicines used by Greeks contained the aromatic oil. It is said that the Greeks provided medical knowledge, but Romans worked on it and made improvements to aromatherapy. The concept is however, not so popular in our country.

Aromatherapy works as an inhalation or applied on skin through ointments, lotions, creams, massage and compresses. You could inhale the aromatherapy oil or vapour through vaporisation, personal perfumes, room sprays and shower gels. This treatment uses various kinds of products like aromatherapy candles, massage oils and other aromatherapy bath salts, cosmetics, perfumes, air fresheners and herbs.

The basic concept involves the use of essential oils, which provide a calming sensation to soothe your body and mind. The aromatherapy oil is highly volatile and it could enter the bloodstream through lungs when breathed in. Aromatic oil is absorbed in the skin through the blood stream. The power of penetration is said to be great and the time of absorption could be between 20 to 70 minutes.

Methods of direct application are reflex zones, pulse points with perfumes, compresses, and chakras. Invigorating oils contain Spearmint, Basil, Eucalyptus and Peppermint oils. These oils stimulate and energise you. Nonetheless, carrier oil is used as the base. Other invigorating oils are Rosemary, Cedar, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Geranium, and Cassia.

Aromatherapy candles benefit you by enhancing and improving your state of mind. They also have a great effect on your surroundings. Aromatherapy candles provide subtle benefits as chemicals enter your body. Conventional aroma therapy offers benefits in high concentrated doses whereas aromatic candles provide the same benefits in less concentrated doses.

Aromatherapy combines the physical and emotional effects of gentle massage with the medical and psychotherapeutic properties of oils. It not only alleviates stress and improves mood but it also is a successful treatment for many minor disorders for which doctors cannot always find a gentle solution.

You can avail the opportunity to indulgence in the auspicious treatment at Farzana Shakils Makeover Salon and Persona. Farzana Shakil offers the treatment as aroma foot massage and head massage that is priced at Tk 600 per person and Tk 2500 per hour on the body massage. Persona too offers the therapy at around Tk 2000 depending on the type and time of the treatment. Be sure to take a pretty good amount of time with you so that you can relax and be pampered thoroughly. The five star hotels offer this service as well, plus places like Harmony Spa, Herbal Solutions offer aromatherapy along with most of the city salons.

Aromatherapy stimulates the immune system, strengthens resistance to disease and helps to combat infections. It is especially helpful for women's problems - PMS, menopausal distress. It aids digestion - eases constipation and abdominal spasm - and optimizes the functioning of respiratory system - helps with coughs, tonsillitis, and sinusitis. It eases muscular aches and pains and promotes muscle relaxation and tone. By improving circulation and lymphatic drainage it helps to eliminate cellulite and toxins from the body. Aromatherapy can lower blood pressure, reduces stress level, will combat insomnia and other stress related disorders. It can alleviate tension headaches and helps to deal with different emotions, such as anxiety, grief, mild depression. Many essential oils are also superb skin care agents - balances sebum and tones complexion - and can heal athlete's foot, cold sores, ringworm and scabies. They can be used in hair and scalp formulas to improve the circulation of the scalp, prevent dandruff and promote healthy hair growth.

Together with a well-balanced diet, enough exercise, and a daily intake of plenty of spring water or herbal teas aromatherapy helps to keep our bodies in top condition!

By Zion Ara Hamid


On The Cover

Home to millions, this bustling city with its living paradoxes has managed to thrive past its 400th birthday. Join us on the Centrefold as we celebrate Dhaka in all her colours.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


To you, Dhaka

I remember walking reluctantly into your arms. Furious at having been snatched away from where I belonged, from the one I really loved, I sulked and fumed my way into my new life. It didn't feel right, I'd never get used to it I knew.

“You'll never be the one I belong to. I'll never love you.” I said.

“I'll wait,” was your reply. Little did I know then you didn't have to wait long.

I remember you tolerating my tantrums silently, never complaining. I'd scream and cry about how you were not at all what I had expected you to be, that you were so different from the one I had before, my one true love. Yet, when all was said and done, you were the one who took me in her arms and calmed me as I shed silent tears in the darkness. Sometimes I wanted to be left alone, you understood. You gave me my own space, but you were never far away when I needed you. I pretended that I didn't notice all this, but I did.

You understood my ups and downs, letting me blend in with the crowd when I needed to, yet helping me shine the brightest when I felt like. You gave me wings to soar as high as I wished, but kept me rooted so I wouldn't go astray. You accepted me with all my idiosyncrasies, yet inspired me to be much more than I had aimed for. With you, I learnt the lessons of life, most harsh, some bittersweet, but all memorable. And between all these, we shared our moments, moments that told me I was changing.

And before I knew it, I fell in love with you, Dhaka.

By Wasia Mehnaz Minna



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