Can your nose really change your mind? | Benefits of aromatherapy
Scent. It’s no secret that it can have a powerful effect, conjuring memories or invoking feelings with just a slight waft of a familiar fragrance. The world of aromatherapy is vast, amazing (and honestly, confusing.) The western world is finally waking up to the magic of essential oils that have been traditionally used across for centuries, so what are the benefits of aromatherapy?
Can they really do that much? Is it a load of nonsense you wish you hadn’t bothered with? Can I just drop it on my skin and go? (We’re going to jump in here in case you don’t read the rest and say- no, please don't.) For those of you who do want to keep reading – that should be all of you... let’s get into it.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts (essential oils) to boost health and well-being, both physical and emotional.
It’s been used for thousands of years in ancient cultures in China, India and Egypt, blending aromatic (amazing smelling) plant extract in resins, balms, and oils. These natural substances were used for medical and religious purposes and were known to have both physical and psychological benefits. In the modern world aromatherapy has recently gained more and more recognition in science and medicine and is used vastly for the range of benefits given dependant on the plant extract chosen.
How aromatherapy works
Okay, a mental and physical well being boost sounds amazing. But how does it actually work? Aromatherapy is normally used in two ways - inhalation or as a topical application.
How aromatherapy works through inhalation: the oils evaporate into the air using a diffuser container, spray or simply breathed in, for example, in a steam bath or warmed in the palm of your hands. Warning- science time everyone! Inhaling essential oils stimulates the olfactory system (the part of your brain that’s connected to smell.) Molecules that enter through your nose or mouth pass to the lungs, then from there, to other parts of the body. Still with us? Good. Then as molecules reach your brain, they subtlety affect the limbic system, which is linked to your emotions, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress, and hormone balance.
How aromatherapy works through topical applications: massage oils and bath and skin care products are absorbed into the skin. Massaging the area where the oil is to be applied can help boost circulation and increase absorption as well as having the same mental benefits you get from just breathing the oil in.
Time to get serious for a sec- pure essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin as they can cause some serious damage. They must always be diluted with a carrier oil like Sweet Almond or Olive oil, so if you’re going to DIY the dilution levels you use should be recommended by an expert to avoid any unwanted mishaps.
Want the mental benefits of aromatherapy combined with the skin benefits of essential oils without the damage? Take a look at our Dusk and Dawn Elixirs. Each blended with specific essential oils to uplift in the morning and relax before bed, drop into hands before taking three deep breaths to get the mental benefits. Plus, the essential oils are pre-blended with gorgeously hydrating carrier oils (Moringa Oil, Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Sunflower Oil and more!) so they’re 100% safe (and amazing) for your skin whilst still boasting all the benefits for your mind.
In fact, an important element of aromatherapy is synergy. This basically means that a specific blend of essential oils can have more of a powerful affect than a singular oil would have all on it's own. This is why our blend of 23 oils, including the incredible essential ones, have been uniquely formulated for the ultimate mind and skin benefits.
Health and well being benefits of aromatherapy
Those that love it swear by it, but what can you use aromatherapy for? Well, aromatherapy has a huge array of benefits for health and well being. It’s said to:
- help manage pain
- improve sleep quality
- reduce stress, agitation, and anxiety
- soothe sore joints
- treat headaches and migraines
- improve digestion
- boost immunity
- boost energy levels
Can aromatherapy help with anxiety?
It is very commonly used to eliminate feelings of anxiety and is an amazing benefit of aromatherapy. It’s important to note this is to be used in conjunction with medication and therapy recommended by your medical practitioner. In terms of the best essential oils to help with anxiety we love peppermint, chamomile, lavender, and jasmine.
How aromatherapy reduces stress
Work, money, relationships- these are just three of the many things that trigger stress. The good news is stress relief is one of the main benefits of aromatherapy. Although it’s not a cure (only getting to the route of the problem will do that) calming scents like lavender, peppermint and bergamot are often successfully used as relaxants to relieve anxiety and soothe the mind.
Can aromatherapy help you sleep?
Counting sheep doing absolutely nothing for you? Aromatherapy can be a really amazing way to reset your body clock and help you get back to a healthy sleeping pattern. Use products infused with jasmine, chamomile, ylang-ylang, rose and sandalwood as you get ready for bed to relax your mind and soothe your senses before sleep.
Aromatherapy for energy levels
Coffee. Cigarettes. Energy drinks. Something worse? We all turn to our own specific vices to give us a little energy boost and get us through the daily grind. However, the things that give us a short-term boost can be the very things that cause long-term damage. While diet and exercise are well known energy boosters (tbh we still prefer eating chocolate in bed, but balance...)- you can also turn to aromatherapy to pep you up. Many essential oils are known raise energy levels and stimulate both body and mind, without the dangerous side effects of other energy boosting substances. Our favourite aromatherapy for energy levels? We love cardamom, clove, ginger, jasmine, tea tree, rosemary, and sage, which coincidentally (or not) you’ll find in our Dawn Elixir.
Risks of aromatherapy
We’ve already touched on this when talking about applying essential oils directly to skin. If you are going to DIY your own aromatherapy blend it’s important to speak with a trained aromatherapist, nurse, doctor, physical therapist, massage therapist or pharmacist who can give proper instruction on application and dilution.And that's it! From soothing fan-favourite Lavender, to invigorating Ginger, will you be turning to aromatherapy? #secretseekers