An Overview Of Aromatherapy
Consider how a whiff of a specific scent—from lemon to lavender—could change your mood, reduce stress, or provide you with a much-needed dose of zen. This is the fundamental belief underlying aromatherapy, a rapidly expanding wellness trend. While this practice has gained popularity in recent years, it is essential to examine its actual benefits, drawbacks, and effectiveness.
What Exactly Is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils derived from plants. Although the term “aroma” implies that the oils are inhaled, they can also be massaged into the skin or, in rare cases, taken orally. You should never take essential oils orally unless specifically instructed by a trained and qualified specialist.
Essential oils, whether inhaled or applied to the skin, are gaining popularity as an alternative treatment for infections, stress, and other health issues. However, scientific evidence is still lacking in the majority of cases.
What Exactly Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are concentrated extracts of plant roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms. Each has its blend of active ingredients, which determines how the oil is used. Some essential oils are used to aid in physical healing. To treat swelling or fungal infections, for example. Others are used for their emotional value, such as improving relaxation or making a room smell pleasant. Orange blossom oil, for example, contains a high concentration of a calming active ingredient.
History Of Aromatherapy
For nearly 6,000 years, essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes. They were used in cosmetics, perfumes, and drugs by the ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Spiritual, therapeutic, hygienic, and ritualistic uses for essential oils were also common.
René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist, discovered lavender oil's healing properties after applying it to a burn on his hand caused by an explosion in his laboratory. He then began to investigate the chemical properties of essential oils and how they were used to treat soldiers' burns, skin infections, gangrene, and wounds during World War I.
Gattefossé established the science of aromatherapy in 1928. Aromatherapy was first used by massage therapists, beauticians, nurses, physiotherapists, doctors, and other health care providers in the 1950s.
Aromatherapy only became popular in the United States in the 1980s.. Many lotions, candles, and beauty products are now marketed as “aromatherapy” items. However, many of these products contain synthetic fragrances that lack the properties of essential oils.
The Process Of Aromatherapy
Researchers do not entirely understand aromatherapy. Some experts believe that our sense of smell may be involved. The “smell” receptors in your nose communicate with areas of your brain (the amygdala and hippocampus) that serve as emotional and memory storage facilities.
Some researchers believe that breathing in essential oil molecules stimulates these parts of your brain and influences your physical, emotional, and mental health. Scientists believe lavender, for example, stimulates the activity of brain cells in the amygdala in the same way that some sedative medications do.
Other researchers believe that molecules from essential oils may interact with hormones or enzymes in the blood. An aromatherapy massage is a popular way to use essential oils because it works in multiple ways. Essential oils are absorbed through the skin and inhaled. You also benefit from the massage's physical therapy.
What Happens During A Session Of Aromatherapy?
Topical or inhaled aromatherapy can be administered by aromatherapists, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, and massage therapists. Only specially trained professionals can provide treatment involving the ingestion of essential oils.
During an aromatherapy session, the physician will inquire about your medical history, symptoms, and favorite scents. You may be advised to inhale essential oils directly from a cloth or indirectly via steam inhalation, vaporizers, or sprays.
The practitioner may also apply soluble essential oils to your skin during a massage. In most cases, the practitioner will instruct you on using aromatherapy at home, such as by adding essential oils to your bath.
Benefits Of Aromatherapy
The most widespread application of aromatherapy is for stress relief. Relaxants are aromatic compounds found in many different essential oils that can help soothe your mind and eliminate anxiety. Most people who practice aromatherapy at home use it because the mixtures are simple and the research on this aspect of aromatherapy is well-known and widely studied.
Lemon oil, lavender, bergamot, peppermint, vetiver, and ylang-ylang essential oils are among the best essential oils for stress relief. Certain studies have also found that lemon oil can improve mood and reduce angry outbursts.
Second, in addition to stress relief, aromatherapy is widely used to alleviate feelings of depression, and due to the complex side effects of pharmaceutical antidepressants, this is a critical function of aromatherapy.
While this is an effective complementary treatment, if depression persists or worsens, psychological help or counselling should be sought. Most experts agree that the best essential oils to use for depression relief are peppermint, chamomile, lavender, and jasmine.
Enhances Energy Levels
We could all benefit from more energy to help us get through the hectic daily tasks of modern life. Stimulants like coffee, cigarettes, energy supplements, and even illegal substances, on the other hand, can be highly harmful to the body.
While diet and exercise can also help, many people turn to aromatherapy to boost their energy levels. Many essential oils increase circulation, increase energy levels, and stimulate the body and mind in general, without the harmful side effects of other stimulating substances.
lack pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, angelica, jasmine, tea tree, rosemary, and sage are the best essential oils for boosting your energy.
Everyone gets headaches occasionally, and the bad ones can put us out of commission. Rather than relying on pharmaceuticals or paying a lot of money for an expensive massage, aromatherapy can be an excellent solution that can cure your current headache and possibly reduce the stress, anxiety, or medical origin of your to prevent future headaches.
Peppermint, eucalyptus, sandalwood, and rosemary essential oils are some of the best oils for reducing headaches and migraines. You can also combine these oils with a carrier oil and apply it to your skin, scalp, neck, and temples. The best carrier oils for headaches are almond, avocado, coconut, apricot kernel, and sesame oils.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1 percent of adults in the United States experienced an anxiety disorder in the previous year. Every day, 40 million people have this mental illness! As a result, many people seek a natural solution, which is why essential oils have grown in popularity.
In a study conducted by the American College of Healthcare Sciences, patients were given hand massages once a day for one week with an essential oil blend of lavender, bergamot, and frankincense.
Patients reported less pain and depression, and the findings confirmed that massage with this essential oil blend has a greater healing power than massage alone for pain and depression management.
It Promotes Diaphragmatic, Deep Breathing
When was the last time you took a deep breath that filled your lungs, made you feel at ease, and let all that tension out of your shoulders? Aromatherapy may be just what you need to remind you to take deep breaths if you can't remember.
“When you smell the scent, you start the process of deeper breathing. Introducing the chemical compounds found in the oil to your body improves the experience of deep breathing, “Fowler elaborates.
“The chemotypes in the oil produce a wide range of effects when inhaled.”And how do you get those feel-good chemicals into your system? Deep breathing is the quickest way.
As you inhale and exhale more mindfully and slowly, Fowler claims you produce a reflexive response that lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and activates your entire lung capacity, bringing in more oxygen and nutrients.
Psychiatric Disorder Management
Aromatherapy has also been shown in studies to be effective in the treatment of a variety of psychiatric disorders. Certain essential oils, such as lavender oil, can help reduce anxiety and improve your mood (Karadag E et al., 2017).
Peppermint and frankincense oils have been shown to help with chronic pain, cognitive disorders, insomnia, and even depression.
Many essential oils, as stimulants, can help speed up the healing process throughout the body. This could be due to increased oxygen and blood flow to wounds and more internal healing processes, such as those experienced after surgery or illness.
Certain essential oils' anti-microbial properties also protect the body during these delicate healing stages. Lavender, calendula, rosehip, everlasting (helichrysum), and buckthorn essential oils are some of the most popular essential oils for accelerating the body's healing process.
These oils can help with more than just wound healing; they can also help with the severity and discomfort of skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Sleep deprivation can exacerbate or cause a wide range of medical conditions and leave us feeling unproductive and drained of energy. Fortunately, aromatherapy can help us achieve a more balanced sleep schedule and even realign our circadian rhythms, allowing our bodies to naturally become tired at the appropriate times, sleep soundly through the night, and wake up energized to face the day.
Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, jasmine, benzoin, neroli, rose, sandalwood, sweet marjoram, and ylang-ylang have a sedative effect on the body and are excellent for managing sleeping habits.
Improves Immune System
Most medical professionals agree that it is far better to prevent than treat, and aromatherapy can significantly boost your immune system if used correctly.
The anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties of essential oils can protect you from various illnesses and infections that can harm your system.
This area of aromatherapy is very popular and well researched. Immune-boosting essential oils include oregano, frankincense, lemon, peppermint, cinnamon, and eucalyptus.
Even if analgesics relieve pain, they can have various side effects on the body. However, if aromatherapy can alleviate a wide range of pain without causing harm, why not use it? Pain relief is one of the most beneficial applications of aromatherapy. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, clary sage, juniper, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint are among the best for both professional and personal use.
Although digestive issues are not the most well-studied area of aromatherapy, they can certainly be treated with it. It can help with constipation, indigestion, and bloating, as well as speed up metabolism so that food is digested more quickly.
Citrus essential oils, such as lemon and orange, are typically the most effective for treating digestive conditions, but some studies have found ginger, dill, fennel, chamomile, clary sage, and lavender to be effective as well.
Always consult your doctor before beginning a new treatment plan, regardless of your condition or the essential oils you choose to use.
Also, only purchase essential oils from reputable vendors, and do not attempt to mix and use oils unless you have been trained as a professional aromatherapist.
Improve Hormone Levels
Do you suffer from PCOS or infertility? Rose and geranium essential oils have been scientifically proven to help women experiencing estrogen imbalances.
Essential oils, according to a study published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, can affect estrogen and help women suffering from menopausal symptoms and low estrogen levels.
Improve Hair Growth
Do you want thicker, more robust hair? Do you have dandruff or a dry scalp? To avoid harsh chemicals, essential oils are now being used as a safe alternative to promote hair health in hair products.
Participants in this study with androgenetic alopecia, or male or female pattern baldness, had significantly more hair after six months of using rosemary oil.
Possible Negative Effects Of Essential Oils?
According to Dr. Lin, the side effects you may experience are dependent on the oil you use and how you use it. “Citrus-based essential oils, such as orange, lemon, and bergamot, are photo-sensitizers and can predispose someone to getting a sunburn if applied directly to the skin, especially undiluted,” she says.
Furthermore, “some essential oils, such as tea tree and eucalyptus, are toxic to the nervous system and liver and should be used with caution around small animals and infants, the elderly, and pregnant women,” she adds.
Some essential oils, such as mugwort, pennyroyal, and wormwood, can cause your uterus to contract, so she advises against using them while pregnant.
According to Dr. Ko, people who have strong reactions or allergies to fragrances or who have respiratory conditions should use essential oils with caution. Overall, “safety testing shows very few risks when oils are used as directed.”
There's really no harm, no foul in experimenting with essential oils, especially when it comes to aromatherapy. Dr. Ko describes essential oils as a “low-risk, low-cost, effective intervention for symptom control.”
Best Essential Oils For Aromatherapy
Lavender Essential Oil
It can be used to help you sleep better. Lavender is the original best essential oil for relaxation, and studies show that it can help people sleep better and wake up more refreshed. Furthermore, according to the National Sleep Foundation, lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety, making it ideal for nights when racing thoughts keep you awake.
Extra benefits: Lavender has been linked to reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
It can be used to reduce anxiety.
People in one study who inhaled lemongrass essential oil experienced immediate reductions in anxiety and tension, and they recovered faster from a stressful situation than those who did not. It aids in keeping insects at bay.
Rose Geranium Essential Oil
Rose geranium essential oil is derived from a geranium plant with rose-scented leaves. Some users report that it repels flying and stinging insects. Others combine it with a carrier oil and apply it to their dry skin as a facial treatment.
Although not organic, this essential oil receives high marks for purity and steam distillation. It is grown and cultivated in South Africa from the leaves of Pelargonium roseum and P. graveolens plants.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Use it to lower blood pressure.
A July 2013 study found that women who smelled clary sage had lower blood pressure and breathing rates, as well as the ability to relax during a stressful medical exam.
It may also help with memory and attention.
It can be used to relax.
One study discovered that using ylang ylang reduced heart rate and blood pressure. It has anti-inflammatory properties.
Peppermint Essential Oil
It can be used to wake up.
According to studies, breathing in peppermint can make people feel more alert and improve their memory.
It may also help with fatigue and chocolate cravings.
Orange Essential Oil
Use it to reduce anxiety.
According to one study, women who sniffed it during labour (arguably the most nerve-racking experience in a woman's life!) were less anxious. According to one study, it may help with PTSD.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
It can be used to improve your mood.
During a massage, sandalwood has been shown in studies to help people with depressive symptoms.
It can also help with concentration.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Make use of it to refrain from sniffling. Eucalyptus oil can help with congestion because it reacts with mucous membranes, reducing mucus.
However, because eucalyptus oil is so potent, you only need one or two drops.
For some people, it improves mental clarity and relieves headaches.
Chamomile Essential Oil
It can be used to help you sleep better. When applied during a massage, Roman chamomile has been shown to help people sleep better.
It soothes the nerves.
Rosemary Essential Oil
It can be used to improve brainpower.
According to a 2012 study, breathing in rosemary can improve speed and accuracy during demanding mental tasks. According to other studies, its scent leaves people refreshed and mentally stimulated. It may help with energy and fatigue.
Jasmine Essential Oil
It can be used to improve your mood.
In one study, people who were exposed to jasmine reported feeling more positive and upbeat afterward.
It may have aphrodisiac properties.
Bergamot Essential Oil
To achieve maximum chill, use it.
In one small study, women who inhaled bergamot had lower levels of cortisol in their saliva (a.k.a. the stress hormone). According to a 2017 study, the scent also helped patients feel the most positive in a mental health treatment center.
It may also improve your mood.
Cinnamon Essential Oil
It can be used to improve concentration.
It may stimulate the area of the brain that regulates alertness. According to one study, drivers were more focused and less flustered after inhaling cinnamon-oil scents.
It improves concentration while decreasing frustration.
Lemon Essential Oil
It can be used to improve mood.
When life hands you lemons, sniff them! According to research, the oil extracted from the fruit's peel may improve mood. In a 2008 study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, researchers discovered that inhaling the aroma of lemon essential oil was more effective than aromatherapy involving the use of lavender essential oil in improving mood.
It may help with anxiety and stress.
Grapefruit Essential Oil
It can be used to unwind.
In one study, grapefruit essential oil was found to help lower blood pressure in rats. The active ingredient in grapefruit oil, limonene, is thought to have done the trick.
It can help you maintain a positive attitude.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Antibacterial and antifungal properties are thought to exist in tea tree (melaleuca) oil. It is used to treat wounds, eliminate head lice, and control dandruff.
Tea tree oil can be added to shampoos or applied to the skin in diluted form to treat minor fungal infections such as athlete's foot.
It can irritate the eyes, so use caution if using it in shampoo or as a lice treatment.
This tea tree oil is steam distilled from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia trees in Australia.
Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli is sometimes associated with the Woodstock era. Others appreciate its spicy, woodsy notes or its antibacterial properties.
This essential oil is organically certified by the USDA and Ecocert and is sourced from Sri Lanka and India. The oil is steam distilled and has a pleasant musky-sweet scent.
How To Locate High-Quality Essential Oils
The most important factor to consider when shopping for essential oils is product quality. However, determining which oils are the best is difficult because no government agency in the United States provides a grading system or certification for essential oils. Is it a significant issue? Many companies claim that their essential oils are “therapeutic grade,” but this is merely a marketing term.
Unfortunately, there are many products available online or in stores that have been improperly harvested or contain ingredients that are not listed on the label.
Here are some shopping tips for pure essential oils:
Check The Label
It should include the Latin name of the plant, information about its purity or other ingredients, and the country where it was grown.
The cost of essential oils varies according to how involved the harvesting and production are. There should be a wide range of prices within a line — rose absolute or sandalwood oils will be more expensive, while sweet orange oil will be less expensive. If you find a low price for an expensive essential oil, it is probably not pure.
Analyze The Company
Purchase products from a reputable aromatherapy company that has been in business for several years.
Glass Containers Should Be Dark-Coloured
Essential oils are highly concentrated. Plastic bottles can dissolve over time, tainting the oil. To protect the quality of essential oils, most companies package them in small brown or blue glass bottles.
You Should Avoid Fragrance Oils
Fragrance or perfume oils are created by combining essential oils with chemicals or using chemicals entirely.
They're not appropriate for aromatherapy; instead, look for bottles that contain only one essential oil in its purest form (100 percent essential oil with no other fillers).
Use Essential Oils
Using Essential Oils In A Diffuser
A diffuser is a safe and effective way to scent a room and create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in any room of your home. However, it can also be used to dispel odours, clear a blocked nose, and relieve an irritating cough. Furthermore, using essential oils with antibacterial properties can help kill airborne bacteria and prevent the spread of infections.
Scent Home With Dry Evaporation
To enjoy the many aromatic benefits of essential oils, you need a cotton ball and a bottle of your favorite oil.
Simply apply 2-4 drops of essential oil to a cotton ball or Kleenex and place it in a bowl in areas where you want the aroma to disperse and scent a room. You can also tuck a scented sachet into your pillowcase for better sleep or hang it near an open window to allow the fresh air to gently fragrance your home.
Treatment With Essential Oil
Steam inhalation with essential oils is especially beneficial for treating the common cold and flu symptoms and clearing up sinus and allergy issues.
However, it's not just for treating sniffles or a runny nose; these oils also have highly effective antimicrobial properties that kill pesky bugs. Aromatherapy steaming is also highly beneficial to the skin.
3-7 drops of one or a combination of essential oils in a bowl with 2-3 cups of hot water. Place your nose about 12″ away from the bowl, wrap a towel around your head and bowl, and slowly inhale the steam.
Keep your eyes closed while inhaling the vaporizing oils. Continue for another 10-15 minutes, or until the water cools and you feel relieved.
If you're steaming for skin benefits, you may want to add more water (about 4-6 cups total) because essential oils are extremely potent. After you've finished, use a toner or micellar water to remove any remaining impurities before applying your favourite moisturizer.
Use Essential Oils In Bath
Using essential oils as part of a night-time bathing ritual is frequently recommended as a calming and relaxing aromatherapy treatment to aid sleep. It can also aid in the health of your skin.
Remember that oil and water do not mix, so thoroughly mix the essential oil before adding it to the water in your tub; otherwise, the oil will separate and float to the top.
The simplest way to DIY is to add a capful of bath dispersant (liquid soap, shampoo, or shower gel can also be used) and then 6-8 drops of essential oil, or mix your essential oil with the dispersant before adding it to the water, remembering to stir well. Many different dispersants can be used, but some have drawbacks, so weigh their benefits and drawbacks before using them.
If this sounds like too much effort, choose a high-quality bubble bath or bath salt product that contains 100 percent pure essential oil to reap the full benefits.
Use Essential Oil In A Foot Bath
Are your feet hurting after a long day at work or a strenuous workout? A quick footbath can relieve aches and pains, create excellent hot feet, and even eliminate foot odours. You only need 3-4 drops of essential oil in a large bowl of warm water, and your feet will feel nicely refreshed and energized after 15 minutes.
Use Essential Oil For Massages
Massage is one of the best ways to experience essential oils. Not only do you benefit from the essential oil's skin healing properties, but you also benefit from the massage's revitalizing and detoxifying properties. Aside from the benefits that essential oils provide when they penetrate deeply into your skin, your body heats the oil and releases therapeutic aromas into the air.
Depending on the results you want, you can use as few as one or as many as five different essential oils. Combine them with odourless moisturizing carrier oils like apricot or grapeseed oil. If you have sensitive skin, use up to 15 drops of essential oil for every ounce of carrier oil, or half that amount.
Use Essential Oils To Gargle
Essential oils, with their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, can help kill germs, reduce inflammation, and heal a sore throat.
In half a glass of warm water, mix one or two drops of essential oil. Mix thoroughly, gargle the solution for a few minutes, and then spit it out. DO NOT CONSUME IT. If necessary, repeat the process every four hours.
Use Essential Oil Face And Body
Whatever your skin type or concern, there is an essential oil that can help restore and maintain the health of your skin.
They can help with everything from acne treatment to restore the skin's moisture balance and glow.
You can also benefit from inhaling the essential oil's fragrance because the skin's heat helps diffuse it.
Simply mix 6-15 drops of essential oil (halve if you have sensitive skin) into 1 ounce of the unscented face or body lotion, then apply to the skin.
Certain essential oils can also be used to effectively treat bug bites, minor cuts, scrapes, and burns and reduce scarring. Apply 5 drops of lavender essential oil to a cotton ball with one ounce (6 teaspoons) of a wound healing carrier oil, such as sweet almond or jojoba.
Use Essential Oil Food And Drinks
Would you be hesitant to eat a cinnamon bun, drink lemon tea, or add basil to your pasta?
Most likely not. You already consume the spices, fruits, and plants that yield the volatile aromatic compounds that comprise essential oils. In fact, essential oils have been used as flavourings and aromatics in the food and beverage industries for many years.
However, this is a big BUT, the essential oils used in foods and beverages are NOT the same as those used in aromatherapy. So, before you consume any of them, make sure that they are food safe.
If you're thinking about using essential oils in your cooking, keep in mind that they're highly concentrated, so much so that it takes about 50 lemons to make half an ounce of lemon essential oil. That means one drop contains the potency of five lemon rinds!
As a result, use essential oils with caution in any food or beverage recipe, and if in doubt, consult a qualified health professional with essential oil experience before experimenting. Internal administration of essential oils to children is not recommended.
Pay attention to how different oils and methods of use affect you as you investigate the uses of essential oils.
Before beginning any aromatherapy treatment, consult with your doctor. Keep in mind that aromatherapy is intended to be a complementary therapy. It is not intended to be used in place of any doctor-approved treatment plan.
I trust you enjoyed this article on An Overview Of Aromatherapy. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!
>>>Please click here to read my all-inclusive article about A Comprehensive Guide To Healing Naturally<<<
>>>Are you interested in homegrown herbs and medicine? Please click here to find out more about it!<<<
Your Opinion Is Important To Me
Thoughts? Ideas? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave me your questions, experience, and remarks about this article on An Overview Of Aromatherapy, in the comments section below. You can also reach me by email at Jeannette@Close-To-Nature.org.