Your sense of smell can change your life. Sounds melodramatic, right? Well, it's true.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefits. It works by activating the smell receptors in your nose, which send messages directly to your brain’s limbic system.
The limbic system affects your emotions, memory, learning, appetite, and sex drive. Inhaling essential oils stimulates different bodily responses, such as breathing patterns, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Here are some of the ways that aromatherapy can change your life for the better:
1. NATURAL WAY TO BOOST ENERGY
We've all been there... 2 pm rolls around, the coffee has worn off and you’re out of steam. Rather than reach for your 8th cup, why not try a natural alternative to caffeine?
Did you know there are essential oils that can actually invigorate the senses, and give you an extra pep in your step? All citrus oils, especially lemon, are filled with antioxidant terpenes such as limonene, which have naturally energizing effects.
Another great alternative is peppermint. Studies have found that it can increase concentration, performance and decreases exhaustion.
Best Essential Oils to Boost Energy: peppermint, lemon, orange, and rosemary
2. REDUCES PHYSICAL PAIN
In a review published in Pain Research and Treatment, aromatherapy has a greater positive impact compared to placebos or control treatments, when it comes to decreasing pain – specifically, gynecological, postoperative and obstetrical pain.
Best Essential Oils to Reduce Physical Pain: eucalyptus, turmeric, chamomile, thyme, and ginger
3. IMPROVES SLEEP
There are a number of effective and safe alternatives to traditional sleep aids. Essential oils are a great option for their natural sedative properties. Lavender oil is scientifically-proven to promote restful sleep.
According to a study published in Nursing in Critical Care, lavender oil improved the sleep quality among patients in the ICU. Participants who inhaled lavender oil for 15 days showed significant improvements in their sleep quality compared to the control group that did not receive therapy.
Best Essential Oils to Improve Sleep: chamomile, ylang ylang, and bergamot
4. PROMOTES HAIR GROWTH
Could your hair use a pick-me-up? Tired of dandruff and/or dry scalp? To avoid the use of harsh chemicals, essential oils are an incredible alternative to boost hair growth and overall health of the hair and scalp.
This study found that the amount of hair increased significantly among participants after using Rosemary essential oil for six months. It was especially beneficial for participants suffering with androgenetic alopecia or male or female pattern baldness.
Best Essential Oils for Hair Growth: tea tree, rosemary, myrrh, and helichrysum
5. RELIEVES ANXIETY
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, over 40 million people who suffer from some form of anxiety.
So how could an essential oil work to curb anxiety symptoms? It all comes back to our limbic system and how certain scents have the ability to trigger emotional and physical reactions.
In a study by the American College of Healthcare Sciences, patients were given massages an essential oil blend, which consisted of lavender, bergamot and frankincense. Patients reported less pain and depression, and results confirmed that massage with this essential oil blend has stronger healing power when it comes to pain and depression management compared to massage alone.
Best Essential Oils for Anxiety: rose, lavender, bergamot, chamomile
Some of the best ways to incorporate aromatherapy include:
- Aromatherapy accessories: Necklaces, bracelets and keychains made with absorbent materials you apply essential oils to and sniff throughout the day.
- Body oil: A mixture of essential oils with a carrier oil such as olive, jojoba or coconut oil that can be massaged into skin. Because essential oils are concentrated, they can cause irritation. Avoid using them full-strength on skin.
- Candles: A method to diffuse a specific scent throughout your home which can provide the benefits of aromatherapy to all members of your household.
As with most things that can affect your body, you'll want to inform any other medical or mental-health professionals you’re currently seeing; they may be able to provide additional guidance or alert you to any potential side effects or interactions for which you could be at risk.
We hope you'll be able to implement aromatherapy into your daily life to experience the many benefits essential oils have to offer. Let us know what your favorite scents are in the comments below!