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Aromatherapy is a popular natural remedy touted for its many therapeutic effects. But despite all the praise, does aromatherapy work and actually benefit your life? This article will explain all you need to know about aromatherapy: what it is, how it works, why it can be beneficial, and how to use it safely.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is an ancient holistic healing modality that uses soothing essential oils to promote good health. Because this natural modality centers around therapeutic scents, it has a lot to do with your sense of smell.
However, humans’ response to essential oils used in aromatherapy is not fully understood. But based on what current studies suggest, scientists believe that significant mood changes can occur because of specific smells.
Still, to truly understand how aromatherapy works, it’s vital to know what essential oils are since they play a pivotal role in this natural therapy.
What are essential oils?
Popular and therapeutic, essential oils are used in several ways to improve the mind, body, and spirit. Even more interesting, these remedies have been around for centuries.
Ancient cultures all over the world used plants in healing oils and balms. The first known distillation of essential oils is credited to Persians in the 10th century. However, in the 16th century, information about essential oil distillation was published in Germany. Even as recently as the 19th century—when people started focusing on medicine that’s closer to what you see today—physicians still recognized the importance of using natural remedies like fragrant plant extracts to treat illnesses.
These healing products are composed of a plant’s scent and flavor, which companies extract from a plant. These extracts are obtained through steam or water distillation or by cold-pressing. Once the plant’s essence is available, brands combine it with a carrier oil so that the essential oil is ready for use.
What are the most common essential oils?
Tea tree, lavender, and eucalyptus are the plant extracts that might spring to mind when you think about popular essential oils. However, there are many common and therapeutic oils, including the following:
- Tea tree
- Clary sage
- Ylang ylang
- Roman chamomile
Despite their popularity, though, many people don’t understand how these oils actually work in your body. While researchers are still trying to uncover this insight, they have discovered some new details.
How do essential oils work in aromatherapy?
With aromatherapy, essential oils work by stimulating receptors in your nose that are responsible for smell and that send messages to your limbic system, a critical part of the brain. This system controls your emotions, drive for survival, and instinct. Because it plays a role in so many different things, aromatherapy can help you experience a wide range of benefits.
What are the benefits of aromatherapy?
While much more research is necessary, current evidence shows that aromatherapy might be helpful for various reasons, including the five below.
Stress and anxiety
An estimated 43% of people with stress and anxiety use alternative treatments for symptom relief. While clinical trials about the effectiveness of aromatherapy for stress and anxiety need to occur, some studies have shown that certain essential oils are great at reducing anxiety and can be used alongside conventional treatments.
Headaches and migraines
Studies have shown that applying peppermint or lavender oil to your skin can help reduce headaches. In addition, a traditional Persian headache remedy involving the application of a mixture of chamomile and sesame oil to the temples may help treat headaches and migraines.
Sleep problems and sleep quality
For patients with heart disease, as well as women who recently gave birth, smelling lavender essential oil may help improve sleep quality. Additionally, a review of studies on essential oils and sleep showed that smelling essential oils (especially lavender) have a positive impact on sleep habits.
While there are very few human studies to demonstrate this, animal studies have shown that specific essential oils can fight inflammation. A study on mice found that ingesting a combination of thyme and oregano essential oils helped bring about the remission of colitis. Two separate studies on rats using caraway and rosemary oils also had similar results.
Antimicrobial and antibiotic
Essential oils—like peppermint and tea tree oil—may be possible solutions to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, while there have been positive results in test-tube studies, researchers need to conduct more trials to determine how essential oils can treat bacterial infections in humans.
How do you use essential oils for aromatherapy?
If the possible health benefits of aromatherapy sound exciting to you, it’s important to use this modality safely. With aromatherapy, essential oils are usually used topically or by inhalation.
- Topical use
If you want to experience aromatherapy by using essential oils topically, make sure to get a product that contains diluted essential oils like Kat’s Naturals Good Lotion. By nature, essential oils are highly potent, and using too much, or applying the oil directly to your skin without a carrier oil, can lead to irritation, skin rashes, and more. Usually, a 1% solution is generally considered safe. However, if you have sensitive skin or plan to apply essential oils to your face, even less is a better option.
Maybe inhalation sounds like a better way to enjoy essential oils. If that’s the case, you can inhale essential oils in various ways: by diffusing it, using steam, using a spray, or putting a couple of drops onto a cotton ball and smelling that. Once again, less is more, and using too much is a common mistake. Typically, one to three drops are more than sufficient.
Are essential oils for aromatherapy safe?
While essential oils are generally safe to use at home, there are dos and don’ts that you should be aware of and consider.
Firstly, do a patch test on your skin before using essential oils topically. This strategy will allow you to see if the remedy irritates your skin in any way. Also, citrus essential oils can make your skin more photosensitive, so avoid them if you’re going to get exposed to the sun right after using the essential oil.
Also, children and pregnant women should use essential oils with particular caution and should do so only under the supervision of a medical professional. In addition, people with asthma, hay fever, epilepsy, high blood pressure, psoriasis, and eczema should be careful about what essential oils they use. Quality products are the best way to go if you want to avoid side effects and enhance your quality of life.
Choose the best products for aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is gaining more and more popularity as people become open to exploring alternative treatments for common ailments. If you want to experience this soothing holistic modality as well, just make sure to buy high-quality remedies that contain essential oils that are soothing and safe to use. With top-notch products like Kat’s Naturals Good Lotion, you can enjoy the many benefits that aromatherapy has to offer.