Essential oils and scents can help stimulate the body's nervous and limbic systems
Take a deep breath inward. The soothing scent travels through your nose and then quickly enters your thoughts and your heart. That’s the transcendent power of aromatherapy.
Also referred to as essential oil therapy, the practice may be defined as “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.” It’s more than pretty smells; aromatherapy can be a powerful tool in your journey toward a less stressful, painful and chaotic life.
Here are three reasons to give it a go:
Experience relief from stress, anxiety and depression
“Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose,” Dr. Brent A. Bauer writes, “which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions.”
In one study by the National Institutes of Health, participants who used aromatherapy had reduced stress levels. Another study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing showed immediate effects on intensive care patients who felt less anxious and more positive after aromatherapy interventions.
Although there are classic scents used to address specific ailments (e.g. lavender to calm), aromas invite different emotions in different people. Experimenting with a trained practitioner can help you find the scents that are right for you. Other oils used for relieving anxiety and depression include rose, orange, sandalwood, lemon and bergamot.
Ease aches and pains
While strong synthetic scents can sometimes induce headaches in sensitive individuals, Julie Chen, an integrative medical doctor, recommends the following scents for headache relief: basil, chamomile, cinnamon, ginger, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon grass, melissa, marjoram, peppermint, thyme, ylang ylang and clary sage. Dr. Chen also cites multiple scents for easing menstrual cramps (e.g. angelica) and muscle soreness (e.g. caraway).
Sleep more peacefully
An analysis recently published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that sleep improvement was an outcome measure for 12 aromatherapy intervention studies, as assessed by variables such as length of sleep, efficiency of sleep, quality of sleep and satisfaction with sleep. Wouldn’t it be nice if a few drops of essential oil could help you drift off to dreamland a bit more easily?
Time to treat yourself? Aromatherapy is a luxurious complement to your Be Well Bodyworks massage and a popular way to effectively use essential oils. Make an appointment and anticipate your worries melting away, if only for an hour.