We have all heard of aromatherapy as many people use it for many different reasons. Some people use it to create a nice scent that lingers throughout the various rooms of a home. Others use it as a method to calm themselves and others mentally, or even physically. Because of its profound appearance in our culture, many questions arise regarding its effectiveness as a therapeutic tool. Does aromatherapy actually work or is it a hoax? Where does aromatherapy originate? How does one employ it? We decided to look into this alternative form of therapy to give you some answers.
Multiple methods exist for making aromatherapy a part of a daily self-help routine. You can select from incense, oils, diffusers, candles, or potpourri. Most methods can double as a means of both diffusing an elegant scent throughout the home and as decoration to embellish a room. Finding the scent that is right for you should not be a difficult task, as a full range of different scents exist to carry out multiple purposes regarding mental state, physical well-being, and stress levels. Before deciding what method is right for you, take a look at aromatherapy’s age-old existence.
History of Aromatherapy Healing
The origins of aromatherapy trace all the way back to 3000 years before biblical recordings of Christ walking the earth. Ancient Egyptians employed this healing method regularly for several thousand years as a part of their culture in healing, embalming, and religious spirituality. Priests and priestesses oversaw the creation and formulation of essential oils to use as aromatherapy during religious rites and funerals or embalming sessions.
Eventually, the use of essential oils and incense for medicinal purposes spread across the globe, reaching Israel, China, India, and Mediterranean Europe. Each region that adopted this method of traditional medicine altered the practice to fit the culture of the people within that region. Once the world hit the 19th century, most traditional medicinal practices that used essential oils as medicines almost ceased to exist as modern medicine became more prominent. However, a French chemist named Gatefosse brought these methods back into practice. He was the first to come up with the title ‘aromatherapy.’
Multiple methods of utilizing aromatherapy exist to bring an individual touch to each treatment. These methods work in different ways, releasing different strengths in smells, and can be used either as a part of a session – where you take time out of your day to concentrate and meditate on healing – or simply placed throughout your dwelling to release aromas throughout the day as they sit.
One method of aromatherapy is through massage. This requires five to ten drops of a selected essential oil to every ounce of carrier oil. Warm the concoctions slightly to experience its full abilities. You can ask a friend or family member to massage the oil into your skin, or you can do so yourself. This method can help manage emotional stress or balance out physical pains.
For more direct inhalation, heat up a pot of water till it boils before adding five to eight drops of essential oil and/or spices. This blend will release into your home’s atmosphere and disperse into the air. You can also maximize this experience by closing your eyes and holding your face close to the steam that rises from the pot. Deep inhalations ensure that you intake the scent of the essential oils for optimal benefits. It can relieve mental stress and also serves as prefatory practice when applying a clay mask as it opens the pores on your face. You can do this for five to ten minutes for each session.
One of the most popular methods is aromatic diffusion. By mixing several drops of essential oil with some distilled water, you can create a dual purpose home decoration. Simply put this formula in a small vase or bottle, and set diffusion sticks into the blend. Place this item wherever desired for an attractive but purposeful piece that will help make a room smell nice. The scent travels up the diffuser stick and into the air where it disperses.
You may also enjoy participating in an aromatic bath. Mixing six to twelve drops of whatever essential oils desired to your bath water, along with a tablespoon of honey and olive or coconut oil, can create a bathing experience that benefits your skin and your mind. The oils and honey will soak into your skin as the water opens your pores. The aromas from the oils will massage your mind into the calmness you crave. Soak for at least twenty minutes per session.
Using incense, candles, and potpourri as supplements to your aromatherapy ritual can enhance the experience. Scented candles giving off a gentle glow as they release a soft aroma soothe the mind, release anxiety, and create a softer ambience that can augment your experience. Lighting a stick or cone of incense allows strong smell to diffuse throughout the air and linger on. Potpourri not only makes for an attractive piece of home decoration, but also allows multiple rooms to have an aromatically therapeutic aura. Use any of these items to enrich your aromatherapy sessions.
Selecting an Oil that Serves You Best
The next step to creating an optimal aromatherapy routine is to figure out which oils will work most effectively for you and your needs. Different oils have various effects on the mind and body, so it is a good idea to draw up an outline or list of how you want to benefit from employing this practice into your own life. Once you have an idea of what you struggle with (i.e. depression, anxiety, stress, muscle aches, irritation of any form), you can look into the oils that target these issues the best, and start working with them.
Mental and emotional stress are conditions that benefit greatly from regular aromatherapy sessions. People that struggle with anxiety, irritability, or depression can use different essential oils to ease the effects that such conditions have on their lives. For instance, organic lavender helps relieve feelings of depression or anxiety. Other oils that work well to calm negative emotions include organic rose, chamomile, and vanilla. However, frankincense is the most common oil to use for such conditions.
If you struggle to maintain a strong attention span or memory, then you could benefit from adding certain stimulating oils to your aromatherapy routine. Oils like sage, peppermint, and cinnamon stimulate circulation and relax muscle tissue. This allows the mind to hold a fuller attentiveness to work.
For physical pain, there are a few selections of essential oils that can alleviate your bodily struggles and revamp the body’s ability to perform on a day to day basis. Blending juniper, eucalyptus, and rosemary all prove effective in relieving aches and pains caused by an overly stressed body. If you struggle with joint or muscle soreness on a regular basis because of a previous injury, then these oils may prove helpful.
You can even help a nauseating sickness by utilizing aromatherapy in the recuperation process. The smells of certain oils can curb the urge to vomit and ease feelings of nausea associated with stomach viruses. Use ginger, lemon, orange, or fennel in your blend if you find yourself feeling sick after dinner one night, and you might find some natural relief.
There are many other conditions you can target by using certain oils. However, it is important to remember that creating synergistic blends of different oils often have a more powerful and potent effect than just using one oil alone. Learning which oils work well with one another could enrich your aromatherapy experience to a new level of comfort and healing. Research on charts depicting which oils go best with others, and figure out synergistic blends that work well with your struggles. You can maximize your therapy this way.
Evidence of Excellence
Now, you are probably wondering if aromatherapy really works, and if any bodies of evidence support that notion. We dug up some research performed by doctors and scientists that shows just how effective aromatherapy can be when it comes to improving certain conditions.
Some researchers experimented with aromatherapy as a means of treating Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. A group of elderly people struggling with these conditions participated in morning sessions using rosemary and lemon essential oil, and night sessions using lavender and orange. This study lasted about a month, with data suggesting that the subjects experienced improvement in their condition.
Another study showed evidence that inhaling the vapor of black pepper could help curb cigarette cravings in smokers, with a notable reduction in the desire for a morning cigarette upon waking. Peppermint oil can alleviate headaches caused by tension and stress. When applied to the forehead, the naturally occurring menthol can reduce the tension responsible for the headache.
Other scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy is an effective way to combat anxiety, menstrual aches, pain after childbirth, memory loss, and shoulder pain. The key is figuring which method and blend of oils will work for you individually. Experiment and have a little fun!
You can also enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy through skin-care products scented with certain essential oils. Our web catalogue contains a wide variety of organic options, from lotions, serums, hydrosols, and body cleansers. We carry scents such as peppermint, lavender, chamomile, and a number of other aromas mentioned in this article. Check it out!
If you have any questions regarding our products or our brand, feel free to contact us! If you wish to continue the discussion on aromatherapy and share your methods and favorite oils, please drop a comment below to share!