Aromatherapy: How It Works and What Are Its Benefits?

The benefits of aromatherapy for your overall well-being have been recognized and well-established for several years. But how much can scent really affect your health? 

We’ve all experienced how some scents can put us in a better mood; sometimes, a whiff of a certain scent can even put you at ease. Scents and their effect on the human body are what aromatherapy draws on. Whether it’s enhancing your mental health or alleviating pain, aromatherapy can offer many benefits. 

Let’s take a closer look at how aromatherapy works, does aromatherapy actually work, and what benefits you stand to gain from it!

What Is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a type of alternative treatment that uses plant extracts, specifically essential oils, to promote holistic well-being. It is an ancient practice that uses fragrant compounds in plants and delivers their therapeutic benefits to the human body.

The essential oils used in aromatherapy are made by pressing or steaming parts of flowers and herbs or tree parts such as barks and peels.

While aromatherapy has been practiced for centuries, the term “aromatherapy” was only coined in 1937, when French chemist and perfumer René-Maurice Gattefossé published his books with the same name.

How Does Aromatherapy Work?

The essential oils used in aromatherapy work in two ways — through the olfactory nerves in the nose or through topical application.

If you’re wondering what does aromatherapy do for the brain, the answer lies in its olfactory use. When one inhales essential oils, the scent molecules travel through your nose to your brain’s emotional center or the amygdala. From here, the aromas can offer many relaxing effects.

And how does aromatherapy affect the body? It essentially provides relaxation to the nerves and muscles. Applying essential oils topically via a massage or soaking in a bath of essential oils can induce such relaxation.

But that’s not everything essential oils can do for you. Let’s take a look at some of the more effective and direct benefits of aromatherapy.

What Are the Benefits of Aromatherapy?

If you’re still skeptical and wondering, here are some direct and indirect benefits to convince you.

  1. Reduces Stress and Boosts Relaxation

The daily grind we go through can be highly stress-inducing, but the benefits of aromatherapy for stress and anxiety reduction can help.

For example, lavender or chamomile essential oils can offer aromatherapy stress relief and an overall calming effect. You can add a few drops to your warm bath and let the oils do the work.

  1. Reduces Anxiety and Depression

Is aromatherapy good for mental health?

It is!

Aromatherapy practices using specific oils have proven to have the same effect as antidepressants. Oils such as jasmine, chamomile, lavender, bergamot, or frankincense, for example, have also been known to help manage anxiety and depression.

The best part about using aromatherapy for anxiety is that they’re a natural solution. Make a weekly massage of essential oils a part of your anxiety management plan to enjoy its benefits.

  1. Improves Sleep

Calming essential oils like chamomile, ylang-ylang, lavender, or bergamot contain natural sedative properties that promote sleep as well as improve sleep quality.

Simply add a few drops of the oil to your aroma diffuser an hour before bed and enjoy deep, restful sleep.

  1. Treats Respiratory Issues and Boosts Immunity

From sore throat and congestion to allergies and sinus infections, essential oils can help you manage a multitude of respiratory issues. Essential oils are also anti-inflammatory, which helps them fight off infections.

Some of the best aromatherapy essential oils you can try for respiratory problems are eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, frankincense, rosemary, oregano, and myrrh

  1. Boosts Energy and Focus

Coffee is a great energy booster if only it didn’t come with the aftereffects. That’s where aromatherapy scents or essential oils come in. Not only are oils like lemon and peppermint great for waking you up, but they also help supply more oxygen to the brain, which helps improve concentration and performance.

You can experiment with blends like ginger, eucalyptus, or lemongrass to see what works best for you.

  1. Promotes Healthy Skin

An aromatherapy massage benefits the skin in multiple ways, from reducing acne, dandruff, and cellulite to helping with itching, inflammation, and wound healing.

To get the benefits of aromatherapy massage for the skin, mix 10-20 drops of essential oil with four ounces of water. Use the solution as a spritzer for the hair or face and massage gently.

Essential oils like lavender, clary sage, lemon, juniper, orange, helichrysum, or frankincense are good for both skin and hair.

  1. Promotes Healthy Digestion

A busy lifestyle and unhealthy diet coupled with everyday stress can make the stomach upset easily.

If you find yourself suffering from nausea, indigestion, or other stomach issues, consider using ginger, peppermint, fennel, or juniper berries essential oils.

  1. Reduces Symptoms and Side Effects of Cancer

Several studies have shown aromatherapy to help reduce symptoms such as nausea, insomnia, fatigue, and depression in patients with cancer.

The effect is visible after using oils like frankincense, ginger, lavender, geranium, rose, neroli, and clary sage.

  1. Soothes Pain and Aches

Pain management is crucial in the case of injuries and inflamed tissues, especially when medications aren’t effective.

One simple way to get relief from pain from headaches, tense muscles, or aching joints is by applying oil to the area. Some oils that are effective at helping with aches include ginger, myrrh, turmeric, orange, peppermint, spearmint, rosemary, and frankincense. 

And if you’re a runner or an athlete looking for some post-workout relaxation, the Olbas oil inhalant decongestant is an excellent product to try. It combines essential oils like peppermint, cajeput, eucalyptus, clove, wintergreen, and juniper to deliver a potent solution that improves circulation while relieving aching joints.

  1. Balances Hormone Levels

One of the scientifically proven health benefits of aromatherapy is its ability to balance hormone levels. This is especially important in the treatment and management of conditions like PCOS, menopause, sexual dysfunctions, or infertility.

Incorporating oils like clary sage, sandalwood, rosemary, ylang-ylang, neroli, or geranium can help with these conditions.

In Conclusion

There are plenty of benefits of aromatherapy that can help with a range of physical and mental ailments. Essential oils are one of the few natural remedies that deliver such a powerful effect.

We hope our guide helps you find relief from your everyday struggles and enables you to live a fuller and more satisfying life every day!