Aromatherapy is a simple and effective way to achieve a variety of beneficial effects to one’s body and mind. It’s an alternative or supplement to medicine, involving the use of volatile plant materials, also known as essential oils, that can be aromatically inhaled by people with a wide variety of health conditions or desired effects. For example, it is often used to improve mood and/or change cognitive states. This article will walk you through how to do aromatherapy easily at home and the benefits of both aromatherapy and specific essential oils.
According to Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort, it’s important to note that if you are pregnant or have a health condition, you should check with your doctor before using essential oils, because though they are natural, they are potent and should be used with care. Essential oils are available at low cost online, or anywhere selling health and cosmetic goods.
Aromatherapy can be easily achieved at home in a myriad of ways. An essential oil diffuser, which starts at around ten dollars, fills its room with the scent of your chosen oil. If you don’t want to buy a diffuser, you can place two to four drops of essential oil on a cotton ball or tissue and let it sit in a bowl near you, or you can create a steam treatment by placing 3-7 drops of oil into a bowl of hot water, putting your face over the water and a towel over your head to trap in the steam. Keep your eyes closed as you inhale the steam through your nose.
Additionally, you can make a bottled spray to deodorize a room, set a mood, or transform a space into an aromatherapy session, by putting 10-15 drops of your desired oil (or a combination of 1-3 oils) and one ounce of water into a spray bottle and shake. You can spray liberally in any room you’d like, and even on your sheets or pillowcases. Similarly, you can put essential oils into your bath, by combining up to 12 drops with one teaspoon of whole milk, vegetable oil, or honey, and adding it to the water just before stepping in. Another option is to add essential oil to your body or face lotion, or to combine it with grapeseed oil or water and apply it directly to your skin.
Organic Facts, a site devoted to unpacking the health benefits of natural ingredients, says that one of the most popular and widespread uses of aromatherapy is to relieve stress, as the aromatic compounds of many essential oils are known as relaxants and can help soothe one’s mind and help eliminate anxiety. The best oils for stress relief are lemon oil, lavender, bergamot, peppermint, vetiver, and ylang-ylang. Lemon oil has also been shown to improve mood and decrease outbursts of anger. According to aromatherapy.com, oils can help increase concentration, help you sleep, treat acne and migraines, and even get you or your partner in the mood, in addition to many other uses!
In addition to stress relief, aromatherapy is commonly used to eliminate feelings of depression. Since pharmaceutical antidepressants can have complex and negative side effects, seeking out aromatherapy to cope with depression by itself or as a complementary treatment alongside pharmaceuticals can be very beneficial. However, it’s important to talk to one’s mental health professional if depression continues or worsens. The best essential oils for reducing depression are peppermint, chamomile, lavender, and jasmine.
Aromatherapy has also been shown to help boost memory, and even reduce or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. The most commonly used oil for this purpose is sage oil. Sage oil is also used to help increase energy levels, as are black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, angelica, jasmine, tea tree, and rosemary. These energizing oils can help increase circulation, raise energy levels, and generally stimulate the body and mind without the negative effects of more common stimulants such as coffee, cigarettes, energy pills, or illegal substances. Stimulating essential oils can also help increase the rate of healing throughout the body, as it increases oxygen and blood flow to wounds, and the anti-microbial properties of certain oils can also keep the healing body protected. Some of the most used oils for healing are lavender, calendula, rosehip, everlasting, and buckthorn. Some of these oils can even reduce the discomfort of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Organic Facts says: “An important element of aromatherapy is synergy, which is the combination of numerous essential oils that can actually create a more powerful effect than the oils would have on their own. This is why blending essential oils is such an important area of study for alternative healers since the range of possibilities is almost endless. However, it is important to always do your consultation with trained aromatherapists, as some essential oils can trigger allergies, and can actually be toxic if mixed improperly. Furthermore, most aromatherapy treatments with essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil of some kind, to make the effects slightly less potent. If you use too strong of a concentration of essential oils in aromatherapy, it can result in a wide range of negative side effects.”
There are many benefits to incorporating aromatherapy into your regular routine, and it’s worth seeking more information about the specific benefits of each essential oil, which are too many to include in this article! Next time you have an ailment, or hope to change your cognitive state, make sure you consider aromatherapy as a solution.