What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that uses fragrance oils to engage your sense of smell and promote overall good health. It derives its fragrances from natural sources such as plants, flowers, barks, leaves, and even roots; and its effects are dependent on the ingredients or compounds used.
For instance, lavender is used for stress relief as it is known to stimulate calm and relaxation; lemon and peppermint, on the other hand, are thought to have antibacterial and antiviral effects thus, boosting your immune system. These fragrances can be inhaled, diffused, and/or applied to the skin through massage, bath salts or lotions.
How Aromatherapy Works
Aromatherapy is thought to work by activating the smell receptors in the nose, which then send signals through the nervous system to the limbic system—the part of the brain which controls emotions. Some studies suggest that when inhaled, the fragrances can have several health benefits which may include the following:
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
While they are impossible to avoid, there are ways to manage stress and anxiety—and one of them is through aromatherapy. Essential oils like lavender are scientifically proven to relieve stress by calming the nervous system as well as lowering heart rate and blood pressure. The same is true for lemongrass, jasmine, chamomile, and rose oils.
Boosts Energy and Improve Focus
Essential oils are also regarded as a healthier alternative to get through the afternoon slump. Oils like lemon, orange, rosemary, basil, sage, and peppermint are known to help invigorate the senses, improve concentration, and boost brain performance so you can stay focused on the task at hand and energised throughout the day.
Relieves Pain and Speed Up Recovery
Although aromatherapy is not a substitute for medical treatment, they are still thought to help in reducing physical pain—particularly postoperative pain. What is more, essential oils like jasmine, eucalyptus, rosemary, and chamomile are suggested to have properties that may help relieve pain, tension, and swelling.
Boosts Immune System
As mentioned above, essential oils can also help strengthen your immune system. Due to their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, oils such as oregano, ginger, eucalyptus, and frankincense may help protect the body against infections.
For a restful and uninterrupted sleep, essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang are the way to go. They are known to have relaxing properties that induce sleep through the night.
On top of that, essential oils are also suggested to support digestive health by stimulating the break down of nutrients thus, prevent indigestion or an upset stomach. What is even better is that certain aroma compounds can curb your appetite by helping you feel full for longer.