Aromatherapy is one of the most pleasant therapies which can help in a number of ways in one's daily life.

In its pure definition, aromatherapy relates to the use of various types of aroma to influence certain areas of the brain in order to produce various responses which can influence mood or physical symptoms.

In the West, aromatherapy mainly uses pure essential oils and perfumes but in India, aromatherapy has, from time immemorial, included smelling flowers and herbs, the aroma of different types of foods or simply inhaling the fresh air of the mountains or woods to enhance one's mood.

For example, it is still a tradition in India for the bride and bridegroom to wear garlands made from sweet-smelling flowers of rajnigandha during the wedding ceremony, wedding night and on their honeymoon.

Have you also noticed how the smell of freshly-brewed coffee can give you a lift in the morning?

Aromatherapy has now been extended to include the use of essential oils in massage oils, herbal extracts and beauty products. The range of aromatherapy products has grown to such levels that it can be confusing trying to decide which is best for you.

Over the past few years, Asmita and I have developed a simple way of deciding which aromatherapy will benefit our patients according to Ayurveda, a concept which has now been adopted by a number of other people.

Ayurvedic medicine has some 700 herbalised aromatherapy treatment oils for various conditions.

For daily use, here is a simple guide:

If you are a Vata type - nervous , hyperactive and stressed out - use lavender, basil, patchouli, frankincense, myrrh, cedarwood, rose geranium or sweet orange. The Ayurvedic oil to use is vata balance lavender, basil and patchouli with withania somnifera (ashwagandha) and asparagus racemosus (satavari) in sesame seed oil to refresh and revive.

If you get a lot of muscular and joint pains or headaches, use Mahanarayan oil, a warming oil containing lots of herbs which has a woody aroma. This will help relieve pain and tension in your aching muscles. Massage temples, forehead, neck and shoulders or your whole body with this oil before having a relaxing bath or shower to which you can add eucalyptus oil.

If you are a Pitta type - the dynamic, ambitious workaholic with a fiery disposition - you need to cool down. Use soothing sandalwood, lavender, sweet orange, neroli, chamomile, cardamom, cedar wood and frankincense.

If you are a Kapha person - heavyweight, sedate and easygoing, often with congestion or PMT - use ginger, black pepper, bergamot, rosemary, clary sage or lemon in sesame seed oil. You can also use mahanarayan oil to relieve congestion and lethargy.