What is Aromatherapy?
The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy defines aromatherapy as “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.”
Aromatherapy uses essential oils which can be extracted from flowers, seeds, barks, herbs, and roots. While there is not much evidence to support its effectiveness in treating or preventing any illness, there are several clinical studies that have found it to be an effective complimentary therapy method.
And hey, who doesn’t love the smell of a good essential oil during a massage or bubble bath?
Benefits Of Incorporating Aromatherapy Into Your Life
1. Reduces stress
Aromatherapy sounds relaxing, right? Well, there’s science backing it up. Aromatherapy using lavender scents has been shown to reduce stress.
In one particular study, participants who were using aromatherapy felt less pain and had reduced stress levels during a stressful situation, compared to participants who were not using aromatherapy.
Other studies showed reduced stress levels in cancer patients who had undergone aromatherapy treatment.
2. Fights depression
Citrus and vibrant aromas have uplifting tendencies that tend to reduce the effects of depression. If you’re down in the dumps, get a massage with essential oils and see if that helps put a smile on your face.
3. Manages pain
One of the best benefits of aromatherapy is that it can relieve pain. Clary sage is a great natural scent used for the reduction of pain, and is most commonly known for its success for relieving menstrual pains.
4. Improves blood pressure
Aromatherapy has been shown to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. If you’ve got high blood pressure, aromatherapy may allow you to relax enough to get your blood pressure levels closer to a healthy range.
How to Use Aromatherapy
There are three ways the essential oils of aromatherapy are most commonly distributed:
1. During your massage
Due to their high concentration levels, essential oils are diluted with natural carrier oils, which are generally composed of olive, almond, soya, and grape-seed. These carrier oils are necessary to spreading the essential oils and avoid any negative skin reaction. The aromatherapy is then rubbed all the body and allowed to soak into the skin.
2. By breathing in
There are a few different methods that are commonly used for the inhalation of essential oils. One method is to apply a few drops of the desired oil onto a handkerchief, hold it under your nose and breathe deeply.
Another method is to heat a bowl of water, add a few drops of essential oil and inhale the steam. The last method is using an essential oil burner to allow the oils to fill the entire room.
3. By soaking in the bath
Adding a few drops to a bubble bath is a relaxing and effective method of use for aromatherapy. The heat of the water creates vapors that can be inhaled, while the oils are soaking into the skin. Sit back, relax, and let the vapors sink in.
Although it’s often used to relax, there are also health benefits of aromatherapy. From stress relief, to pain management, to improvements in blood pressure or depression, aromatherapy could be just what the doctor ordered.
So if you’re feeling down or just want to boost your mood, get a massage, breathe in, or take a bath using some essential oils and feel your worries drift away.
Photo by MeuRoteiro