Benefits of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a holistic therapy that treats the mind, body and spirit. When essential oils are applied to the body during a massage, the essential oils enter the skin through the hair follicles where they are absorbed in to the blood stream and circulated around the body.

People respond to the sense of smell on an emotional level more strongly than with any other sense. In fact, a single aroma can trigger forgotten memories and induce feelings similar to those experienced at that time.

This action involves a very complex process to do with the Limbic system; an area of the brain associated with smell and memory. The olfactory nerves are located at the forefront of the brain and are responsible for sending signals about what we smell through to the Limbic System. This sensual information is then compared to that stored within the memory, and indeed the emotional response that went with that particular smell. This reaction then triggers a variety of chemical actions within the body, including the release of specific chemicals that relaxes, calms, or stimulates both body and mind.

Aromatherapy can:

  • Calm and relax

  • Destress

  • Soothe and balance

  • Stimulate and refresh

  • Energise and uplift

  • Maintain healthy joints and muscles

  • Create a tranquil, sensual and seductive ambience

  • Revive both mind and body

10 Amazing Benefits of Aromatherapy

Managing Psychiatric Disorders

Studies have also shown the efficacy of aromatherapy in managing a range of psychiatric disorders. Certain essential oils like lavender oil can help ease anxiety and enhance your mood (Karadag E et al., 2017). Peppermint oil and frankincense oil are known to help manage chronic pain, certain cognitive disorders, insomnia, and even depression.

Increases Energy Levels

We can all use more energy to get through the hectic daily tasks of modern life. However, stimulants like coffee, cigarettes, energy pills, or even illegal substances can have very damaging effects on the body. While diet and exercise can also help, many people turn to aromatherapy to put a bit more pep in their step. Many essential oils are known to increase circulation, raise energy levels, and generally stimulate the body and mind, without the dangerous side effects of other stimulating substances. The best essential oils for giving yourself an energy boost include black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, angelica, jasmine, tea tree, rosemary, and sage.

Speeds up Healing

As stimulants, many essential oils can help increase the rate of healing throughout the body. This can be due to increased oxygen and blood flow to wounds as well as more internal healing processes like those following surgeries or illness. The anti-microbial properties of certain essential oils also keep the body protected during these delicate healing stages of the body. Some of the most popular essential oils for speeding up the healing process of the body include lavender, calendula, rosehip, everlasting (helichrysum), and buckthorn essential oils. A number of these oils do more than just healing wounds; they can also reduce the severity and discomfort of skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

Reduces Headaches

Everyone gets headaches from time to time, and the bad ones can stop us dead in our tracks. Rather than relying on pharmaceuticals or dishing out a lot of money for an expensive massage, aromatherapy can be a wonderful solution that can not only cure your current headache, but can also possibly reduce the stress, anxiety, or medical origin of your headaches to prevent them in the future. Some of the best essential oils that have been connected to reducing headaches and migraines are peppermint, eucalyptus, sandalwood, and rosemary essential oils. You can also mix these oils in a carrier oil and spread that oil onto your skin, scalp, neck, and temples. Some of the best carrier oils for headaches include almond, avocado, coconut, apricot kernel, and sesame oils.

Using perfect blends of essential oils in aromatherapy enhances its benefits. Photo Credit:

Regulates Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can exacerbate or cause a huge range of medical conditions and can leave us feeling unproductive and devoid of energy. Luckily, aromatherapy comes through again and can provide us with a more balanced sleep schedule and can even realign our circadian rhythms so our body naturally gets tired at an appropriate time, sleeps restfully through the night, and is energized in the morning to face the day. The best essential oils for managing sleeping habits and having a healthy, sedative effect on the body include lavender, chamomile, jasmine, benzoin, neroli, rose, sandalwood, sweet marjoram, and ylang-ylang essential oils.

Strengthens Immune System

It is far better to prevent than treat, as most medical professionals say, and aromatherapy can give a serious boost to your immune system if used properly. The anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and antibacterial effects of various essential oils can protect you from any number of illnesses and infections that could damage your system. This area of aromatherapy is very popular and widely studied. The most effective essential oils that boost your immune system include oregano, frankincense, lemon, peppermint, cinnamon, and eucalyptus essential oils.

Relieves Pain

Analgesics can have a lot of different side effects on the body, even if they do relieve the pain. However, if aromatherapy can relieve dozens of different types of pain without any harm, then why not take advantage of it? Pain relief is one of the most useful applications of aromatherapy. The top essential oils, both for professional and personal use, include lavender, chamomile, clary sage, juniper, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint essential oils.

Improves Digestion

Although this isn’t the most widely researched area of aromatherapy, digestive issues can certainly be treated with aromatherapy. It can ease constipation, indigestion, bloating, and can speed up metabolism so that the food is digested quicker. Citrus essential oils are normally the best for treating digestive conditions, including lemon and orange, but there have also been some studies that have cited ginger, dill, fennel, chamomile, clary sage, and lavender as being effective as well.

Whatever your condition, and whatever essential oils you choose to use, always consult your doctor before embarking on a new treatment plan. Also, be sure to only acquire essential oils from approved sources and don’t attempt to mix and use oils unless you have been trained as a professional aromatherapist. Happy inhaling!

Carol Venclik, Certified Aromatherapist, Atlanta School of Massage: I am going to wave the essential oil under your nose. Can say yes, no, or maybe?
Narrator: Aroma therapy is the use of essential oils that come from plants, trees and herbs.
Melody, Patient: YES!
Narrator: Depending on the particular scent, aroma therapists say the oils can work to cleanse, stimulate, relax and even help control pain.
Carol Venclik, Certified Aromatherapist, Atlanta School of Massage: Our sense of smell is actually 10-thousand times more than our sense of taste. And so we smell things immediately.
Narrator: Massage is the most popular way to embark on a sensory journey. Before you start, the therapist will likely ask you some basic health questions:
Carol Venclik, Certified Aromatherapist, Atlanta School of Massage: High blood pressure, heart condition?
Narrator: Pregnant women should avoid aroma therapy – while more studies are needed, experts worry some essential oils might be harmful to the fetus. If you’re otherwise healthy and opt for this type of massage, you’ll likely be wrapped up so your body stays warm and your pores stay open. The scents are believed to stimulate nerve cells in the nose, sending impulses to the brain.
Carol Venclik, Certified Aromatherapist, Atlanta School of Massage: It goes from the olfactory to limbic system which is our connection to our emotions in the brain.
Narrator: It’s also the part of the brain which controls memory and if the memories are happy, endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, might be released.
Carol Venclik, Certified Aromatherapist, Atlanta School of Massage: The feet and the hands are the quickest way for the essential oils to get into the blood stream.
Narrator: Studies on aroma therapy are ongoing. One showed lavender oil helped calm patients with severe dementia. Another showed pleasing smells might be a complementary therapy for managing chronic pain. Aroma therapists say they gage its benefits by their clients’ reactions:
Carol Venclik, Certified Aromatherapist, Atlanta School of Massage: Toasty? hm hmm…
Narrator: For WebMD, I’m Damon Meharg.

The Mind and Body Benefits of Aromatherapy

Many scented beauty and home products list “aromatherapy” on their labels. While they may make your hair or your bedroom smell nice, the benefits of the holistic therapy they boast are much greater. While scientists are still studying the effects of the ancient practice of aromatherapy—engaging your sense of smell through the use of essential oils naturally extracted from flowers, leaves, fruit, bark and roots—studies show that it has true healing benefits for both physical and emotional concerns.
Breathing in the scent of essential oils activates the brain’s limbic system, which, among other functions, controls your emotions. The properties of these oils also stimulate your central nervous system, which monitors your internal organs and transmits signals to your glands and muscles. Different oils deliver different benefits, and they are carefully chosen depending on the concerns you have. Some can help lift your mood, reduce anxiety, relax or energize you. Others can improve concentration, relieve pain, boost your sex drive and more.

Whether you’re interested in experiencing aromatherapy during a professional session or would like to learn how to use essential oils at home, a treatment may be delivered by:

  • Inhalation: Essential oils are exponentially more potent than their sources, so sniffing them directly from the bottle may be too overwhelming. An easier and perhaps more pleasant way to smell them is to release them into the air. This can be done using tools such as an aromatherapy lamp, nebulizer or diffuser, or by simply diluting oil in a room spritzer solution.
  • Topical application: You may experience the application of essential oils during therapies such as massage, reflexology, acupuncture or Reiki. Too powerful to be applied directly to the skin, essential oils are often mixed with a carrier oil before being applied. At home, they can also be added sparingly to bathwater or lotion to safeguard against irritation.

Commonly Used Essential Oils

There are many options to consider, but here are some popular ones:

  • Bergamot is a citrus-scented oil that helps lower stress and anxiety levels.
  • Cedarwood has a woody fragrance. While its scent can help you relax, it can also aid in respiratory problems.
  • Chamomile, often consumed in tea, is known for its calming effects. But this essential oil can also help lift your mood.
  • Eucalyptus has cooling qualities and is used as a natural decongestant for those who suffer from respiratory ailments.
  • Jasmine is a sweet-smelling essential oil used to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as boost libido.
  • Lavender, soothing and calming, is often used for relaxation and to ease insomnia.
  • Lemon not only increases energy and focus, but boosts your immune system and promotes healthy digestion.
  • Peppermint is energizing and refreshing, and it can improve concentration and help relieve headaches and nausea.
  • Rosemary is a stimulating essential oil that can boost mental activity and sharpen your focus. It’s also used to ease pain and cramping.
  • Sandalwood can help release tension and increase your sex drive.
  • Tea tree oil can have an uplifting effect and help calm your mind.

An aromatherapy expert can help you figure what treatment may be best for you. (Search the directory of the Aromatherapy Registration Council to find a certified aromatherapist near you.) A qualified practitioner will interview you about your health conditions and concerns to guide you toward the right essential oils for your needs.

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Aromatherapy – also referred to as essential oils therapy is a type of alternative medicine that uses essential oils obtained from various plant types to overcome various health issues. Essential oils have been used for centuries as a traditional medicine in many cultures.

However, the concept of aromatherapy was invented in 1937 by a French scientist after suffering a burnt incident which spurred his curiosity on the healing power of essential oils. Today, aromatherapy has gained prominence and is used in spas, yoga class and in hospital to promote alternative healing and general human wellness.

Deriving essential oils

Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils which can be used in various ways to promote healing in the body.

So how do you obtain essential oils?

The majority of exotic plants are known to contain certain chemicals that they use as a protective layer against insects, human beings, bacteria or viruses. These chemicals which contain active ingredients are extracted from the plants in the form of oils through a distillation process. To preserve the strength of the chemicals, the oils are mixed with alcohol, thus forming a very concentrated antioxidant substance which can be mixed with other chemicals and used in aromatherapy.

How to use Aromatherapy

Synergy is an important element in aromatherapy. Synergy is basically a combination of two or numerous essential oils to create a powerful effect in the body. Note that the essential oils produce a weak effect when used individually. Hence, the first step in aromatherapy is combining the separate oils to make the ideal oil. According to AromEssential a leading expert in aromatherapy, the process of combining the essential oils is highly delicate and requires the input of an expert or a medical practitioner. Wrong combination of the different essential oils can have adverse effects on both the patient and the person providing the service, especially when dealing with an allergic patient.

After creating the perfect combination; Aromatherapy can be performed in various ways including:

  • Diffusing – Since essential oils have a strong smell, diffuse the oils into the air, preferably in a controlled room.

  • Inhalation – You can either inhale the essential oils directly into your nostrils. However, be cautious while inhaling the oils, particularly if you are suffering from an allergy. A safer way to inhale essential oils is sprayed on a piece of cloth or inhaling directly from the bottle.

  • Massage – This therapy has various health benefits as well as recreational benefits. Basically, massage therapy involves the manipulation of the body tissues including the muscles, ligaments, connecting tissues and tendons. As a form of aromatherapy, massage involves the use of essential oils to manipulate the body’s tissues.

  • Soaking – This process involves soaking the essential oils in bathwater and immersing yourself in the bath. For more effectiveness, patients are advised to cover themselves with a blanket after soaking the oils and let the effect of the oils infuse directly through your skin.

  • Rubbing – This is the easiest way of aromatherapy. It involves rubbing the essential oils directly to your skin. However, avoid applying the oils on the eyes or in the mouth as that might have adverse effects. In case you accidentally apply to the eyes, rinse immediately with a lot of water.

The prevalence of aromatherapy in treating chronic illness like arthritis is on the rise due to the natural and non-medicinal feature of aromatherapy. Common benefits include:

Relieves stress

The ever-rising costs of living, unemployment, rapidly changing lifestyles are some of the leading contributors of stress in life. Aromatherapy helps in relieving stress due to aromatic compounds of the essential oils. This element enables the essential oils to soothe the brain and lower anxiety levels in the body thus relieving stress. The best essential oils for stress reliever include; lemon oil, peppermint, lavender among others. The lavender scent particularly is known as a calming effect by lowering the activation of the sympathetic nervous system in the human brain.

Improves quality of sleep

Sleep has various health benefits in the body like promoting growth, rejuvenate the brain, and promote weight loss, helps in fighting depression among others. Aromatherapy promotes sleep by realigning the circadian rhythm which makes the body tired naturally and make you sleep. This is particularly important for people suffering from insomnia. Simply diffuse essential oil into the bedroom an hour to bedtime. This way the essential oils can diffuse directly into the body and work the magic. The best essential oils for regulating sleep include lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood among others.

Strengthens the immunity

Immunity refers to the ability of the body to fight diseases. Having a weak immunity can be a nightmare as one gets exposed to diseases frequently. Essential oils like peppermint, cinnamon, lemon, oregano among others are known to contain antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial abilities which are known to boost the body’s immune system.

Helps in managing cancer symptoms

Managing and curing cancer is one of the most researched areas of aromatherapy. The process is used by cancer patients, particularly during treatment to relieve pain, to reduce stress and promote general body well-being. The compounds in essential oils are known to reduce symptoms related to cancer treatment like nausea, fatigue, depression and insomnia. Also, some cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy are associated with pain which can be lowered by aromatherapy. Note that aromatherapy does not cure cancer, but offers a complementary solution by reducing the effects of cancer treatment like pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression among others. Some of the best essential oils for managing cancer include ginger, lavender, rose, neroli among others.

Boosts energy

Many people turn to stimulants like tea, coffee and other illegal substances to boost their energy levels. Other than being highly addictive, some of the stimulants like coffee can have adverse effects especially on expectant women. Aromatherapy is a natural remedy to boost energy. Many essential oils like cinnamon,jasmine,tea tree among others are known to increase blood circulation in the body thus stimulating the body and the mind keeping your energy levels high.

To wrap up, aromatherapy is a natural, cost-effective way of treating common ailments as well as achieving general body wellness. However, before embarking on aromatherapy, talk to an expert in the area or a medical professional. Also, always acquire essential oils from trusted dealers and avoid mixing the oils without the guidance of an expert in the field.

When we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, we might turn to a lavender oil-infused bubble bath. In need of a pick-me-up? We’ll turn on our diffuser using peppermint oil. And why shouldn’t we? After all, aromatherapy is not just a trendy wellness buzzword; it’s been used to promote physical, mental and spiritual health for thousands of years.

MORE: 9 Little Things You Can Do to Cut Down on Stress

“Aromatherapy is a complementary and integrative health and wellness modality that supports our own innate ability to heal and stay healthy,” Amy Galper, cofounder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies, explains.

The practice, says Galper, focuses on using essential oils, which are the aromatic components extracted via steam distillation from various plant materials “to affect change and reestablish balance in body, mind and spirit.”

How does aromatherapy work?

According to Galper, the molecules in essential oils travel into the body via inhalation as well as through the skin when applied topically, such as when they’re incorporated into skin care products.

“When we breathe in the vapors of essential oils, these aromatic molecules travel into the body via two very different pathways,” she explains. “First, they enter our lungs and get absorbed into our blood when we breathe in oxygen, and second, they trigger electrical impulses that travel along our olfactory nerve bulb and connect into our limbic system, which controls our every action—from our emotional responses to regulating our heartbeat, digestion, temperature and nervous system.”

While indulging in a lavender-scented bath is heavenly, does aromatherapy actually have any real health benefits? We asked the experts exactly that in addition to asking for tips on which oils help with what.

Peppermint oil

Suffering from a headache? Then you might want to topically apply peppermint oil to help soothe you. “Though the studies are small there are randomized controlled trials showing efficacy of peppermint oil topically in tension headaches,” Dr. Joe Feuerstein, a physician and associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University and director of integrative medicine at Stamford hospital, explains. “The peppermint has compounds that work on the calcium channels of muscle to relax them.”

Additionally, a 2014 study out of Keimyung University and Daeduk College in Korea found that peppermint oil also promoted hair growth without toxic signs through topical application.

Lemon balm

Feuerstein says lemon balm has been proven to help reduce agitation in people with Alzheimer’s diseases due to its compounds “that relax the nervous system.”

Other research has found that lemon balm, when in combination with other herbs, may help indigestion as well as insomnia and anxiety.

Lavender

Perhaps the big kahuna of aromatherapy is lavender, which is has been found to improve an array of ailments, including pain intolerance, depression as well as helps to prevent stress, anxiety, and postpartum depression in women. A 2005 Wesleyan University study found that lavender also serves as a mild sedative and helps to promote deep sleep.

Ginger

In addition to the essential oils mentioned above, ginger oil has been found to improve nausea, and orange oil was found to relieve pain in patients with fractured limbs.

Is it just hype?

Despite these studies that promote the efficacy of aromatherapy, there are differing studies, including one in 2000 and another in 2012, both from Dr. Edzard Ernst, former chair of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, which found no convincing evidence aromatherapy is beneficial to one’s health.

While some findings of aromatherapy’s benefits might be contradictory, there’s no denying that scent plays a profound and dramatic role in our health, says Galper.

MORE: 10 of the Best, Most Affordable Mental Health Apps

“It has a direct impact in how we respond to stress,” she says. “Stress triggers how our body manufactures and produces key proteins and enzymes, which in turn become our hormones, which regulate every action in our bodies. By smelling an aroma we recognize as pleasant, our body responds by sending neurological signals to our limbic system to produce hormones that calm us and regulate and balance the functions in our body, from reproduction to digestion to breathing, our muscles, etc.”

So, if a certain scent makes you want to scrub your troubles away, there’s no harm in taking that bubble bath.

Originally posted on SheKnows.

By Brianne Hogan

When we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, we might turn to a lavender oil-infused bubble bath. In need of a pick-me-up? We’ll turn on our diffuser using peppermint oil. And why shouldn’t we? After all, aromatherapy is not just a trendy wellness buzzword; it’s been used to promote physical, mental and spiritual health for thousands of years.

“Aromatherapy is a complementary and integrative health and wellness modality that supports our own innate ability to heal and stay healthy,” Amy Galper, cofounder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies, tells SheKnows.

The practice, says Galper, focuses on using essential oils, which are the aromatic components extracted via steam distillation from various plant materials “to affect change and reestablish balance in body, mind and spirit.”

According to Galper, the molecules in essential oils travel into the body via inhalation as well as through the skin when applied topically, such as when they’re incorporated into skin care products.

“When we breathe in the vapors of essential oils, these aromatic molecules travel into the body via two very different pathways,” she explains. “First, they enter our lungs and get absorbed into our blood when we breathe in oxygen, and second, they trigger electrical impulses that travel along our olfactory nerve bulb and connect into our limbic system, which controls our every action — from our emotional responses to regulating our heartbeat, digestion, temperature and nervous system.”

While indulging in a lavender-scented bath is heavenly, does aromatherapy actually have any real health benefits? We asked the experts exactly that in addition to asking for tips on which oils help with what.

More: 8 Ways Essential Oils Can Be Harmful

Suffering from a headache? Then you might want to topically apply peppermint oil to help soothe you. “Though the studies are small there are randomized controlled trials showing efficacy of peppermint oil topically in tension headaches,” Dr. Joe Feuerstein, a physician and associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University and director of integrative medicine at Stamford hospital, tells SheKnows. “The peppermint has compounds that work on the calcium channels of muscle to relax them.”

Additionally, a 2014 study out of Keimyung University and Daeduk College in Korea found that peppermint oil also promoted hair growth without toxic signs through topical application.

Feuerstein says lemon balm has been proven to help reduce agitation in people with Alzheimer’s diseases due to its compounds “that relax the nervous system.”

Other research has found that lemon balm, when in combination with other herbs, may help indigestion as well as insomnia and anxiety.

Perhaps the big kahuna of aromatherapy is lavender, which is has been found to improve an array of ailments, including pain intolerance, depression as well as helps to prevent stress, anxiety, and postpartum depression in women. A 2005 Wesleyan University study found that lavender also serves as a mild sedative and helps to promote deep sleep.

More: Does Lavender Really Help You Sleep Better?

In addition to the essential oils mentioned above, ginger oil has been found to improve nausea, and orange oil was found to relieve pain in patients with fractured limbs.

Despite these studies that promote the efficacy of aromatherapy, there are differing studies, including one in 2000 and another in 2012, both from Dr. Edzard Ernst, former chair of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, which found no convincing evidence aromatherapy is beneficial to one’s health.

While some findings of aromatherapy’s benefits might be contradictory, there’s no denying that scent plays a profound and dramatic role in our health, says Galper.

“It has a direct impact in how we respond to stress,” she says. “Stress triggers how our body manufactures and produces key proteins and enzymes, which in turn become our hormones, which regulate every action in our bodies. By smelling an aroma we recognize as pleasant, our body responds by sending neurological signals to our limbic system to produce hormones that calm us and regulate and balance the functions in our body, from reproduction to digestion to breathing, our muscles, etc.”

So, if a certain scent makes you want to scrub your troubles away, there’s no harm in taking that bubble bath.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Originally published on SheKnows.

10 Healing Benefits of Aromatherapy

Picture it: You come home after a long day of work, and when you walk inside you’re greeted by the serene scent of rose geranium. Ah, how relaxing. The stress of the day fades away – it’s as if the volume in your head was turned all the way down. You immediately feel a sense of calm and inner peace. Along with promoting relaxation, there are many healing benefits of aromatherapy.

As an all-natural alternative medicine, aromatherapy uses essential oils taken from flowers, peels of plants, leaves, stems, bark, seeds, and roots. When essential oils are inhaled they have been proven to be beneficial for people with various health issues.

Dating back to ancient Egyptians and Greeks, essential oils have been used for both religious and medicinal purposes. During World War I, French soldiers returning home were given aromatherapy not only to treat their wounds, but also to reduce anxiety and the PTSD from battle. Today essential oils can be found everywhere, ranging from candles and perfumes to spa treatments and meditation classes. Essential oils can be used through inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin.

Did you know essential oils are now being used in hospitals? Recognized for their ability to treat anxiety, depression and infection, more and more medical professionals are jumping on board. In fact, many aromatherapists are also massage therapists, psychologists, and chiropractors.

According to one study, pre-operative patients who tried aromatherapy with lavander oil reported being less anxious about their surgery compared to the control group.

“There is some high-quality evidence that essential oils are effective in treating viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections, and in providing relief from sleep difficulties and pain,” says Dr. Wolfgang Stefiltsch, vice president of the Austrian Association of Aromatherapy and Aroma Care. “The oils may also improve moods, such as anxiety, depression, and reduce stress.

How Aromatherapy Works

The essential oils in aromatherapy activate 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.

You can treat a wide variety of mental and physical problems with aromatherapy. Whether it’s alleviating pain, improving focus, promoting restful sleep or aiding in digestion, there are essential oils that can help with the healing process. Aromatherapy can be used in the following ways: direct inhalation, vaporizer, humidifier, perfume, and aromatherapy diffusers.

It’s also important to note essential oils are powerful and need to be diluted before use. This is why they are combined with carrier oils. The most common carrier oils include avocado oil, almond oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.

We know what you’re thinking: “But doesn’t diluting it decrease the effectiveness?” No. In fact, in this case, less is more. Dilution increases the surface area where the essential oil can be absorbed and as an added bonus, diluting lowers the risk of experiencing any skin sensitivity issues.

The beauty of essential oils is that they typically perform more than one function, so by knowing the benefits of each you can find (or create) a personalized blend to meet your mental and physical health needs.

To help you navigate the world of aromatherapy, we’ve created a guide of the ten healing benefits along with the best essential oils for each.

Top 10 Healing Benefits of Aromatherapy

1. Reduces stress

Stress is part of life, and affects everyone in different ways. While it’s nearly impossible to avoid, there are ways to manage it.

The essential oil lavender is scientifically proven to reduce stress. Lavender calms the nervous system, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and rewires brain waves to help you become more relaxed.

Best Essential Oils for Stress: lavender, lemongrass, geranium, jasmine, and chamomile

2. Relieves anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1% of U.S. adults had an anxiety disorder in the past year. That’s 40 million people who suffer from this mental illness every day! As a result, many people are looking for a natural solution, which is why essential oils have become increasingly popular.

In a study by the American College of Healthcare Sciences, patients were given hand massages once a day for one week with 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

3. Boosts energy

Do you often experience the dreaded 3pm afternoon slump? The coffee has worn off and you’re losing steam. Rather than reach for your fourth cup, why not try a natural alternative to caffeine?

The good news is there are essential oils that can invigorate the senses, and give you that pep in your step. All citrus oils, especially lemon, are filled with antioxidant terpenes such as limonene, which have naturally energizing effects.

According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, peppermint boosts exercise performance, increases brain oxygen concentration, performance and decreases exhaustion.

Are you ready to say goodbye to fatigue and stay energized throughout the day? The next time life gives you lemons, smell ‘em!

Best Essential Oils to Boost Energy: peppermint, lemon

4. Improves focus

Are you struggling to pay attention to the task at hand? When it comes to improving concentration, memory and cognitive performance, essential oils can work wonders.

Improving brain function is one of the top reasons people turn to essential oils. Containing antioxidants that fight free radicals, aromatherapy is helpful for people with Alzheimers, dementia and other mental illnesses.

Best Essential Oils to Improve Focus: rosemary, basil, and sage

5. 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

6. Improves sleep

In terms of effective sleep aids, essential oils are popular 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 coronary intensive care unit. 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

7. Aids digestion

Upset stomach? Suffering from diarrhea or indigestion? Essential oils can help support digestive health by stimulating digestive enzymes, which help break down nutrients.

To reduce abdominal pain and relieve gas, ginger oil has proven healing properties. Peppermint is helpful when it comes to treating IBS.

Best Essential Oils to Aid Digestion: ginger, peppermint, fennel, juniper berry

8. Strengthens your immune system

With modern medicine, resistance to antibiotics is becoming a major problem. This is where essential oils come in.

Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, essential oils are useful when it comes to fighting infections. For example, oregano is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties that protect the body against bacterial infections.

Best Essential Oils to Strengthen Your Immune System: oregano, ginger, myrrh, eucalyptus, frankincense

9. Balance your hormone levels

Are you struggling with PCOS or infertility? Essential oils such as rose and geranium are scientifically proven to help women experiencing issues with their estrogen levels.

According to a study published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, essential oils can affect estrogen and help women experiencing the symptoms that come with menopause and lower levels of estrogen.

Best Essential Oils to Balance Your Hormone Levels: sage, geranium and thyme

10. Boosts hair health naturally

Do you want thicker, stronger hair? Suffer from dandruff or dry scalp? To avoid the use of harsh chemicals, essential oils are now being used in hair products as a safe alternative to promote hair health.

After using rosemary oil for six months, the amount of hair increased significantly among participants in this study with androgenetic alopecia or male or female pattern baldness.

Best Essential Oils for Hair Growth: tea tree, rosemary, myrrh, and helichrysum

Most importantly, pay attention and carefully read safety on products prior to use – especially if you have a medical condition.

Are you ready to experience the healing power of essential oils? If you’re looking for a natural and holistic approach to healthcare, look no further than aromatherapy – and be sure to do your research ahead of time to find the one that’s right for you!

Most Popular Essential Oils

MARJORAM
Got a hyperactive child? Try adding a few drops of Marjoram to his or her bath or vaporizer. One of this essential oil’s therapeutic properties is to calm hyperactivity and relieve anxiety. Marjoram was a popular plant used by the Greeks in medicines and also helps with digestion issues such as constipation and cramps.
Extraction and Application: Marjoram oil is steam distilled once it’s extracted from the leaves and flowers of the herb. Use Marjoram in vapor therapy to ease symptoms of asthma or sinusitis. Add a few drops in bath water to increase circulation or relieve insomnia. Blend with massage oil to alleviate headaches and tension.
Aromatherapy Uses: Marjoram aids in anxiety and stress relief, combats fatigue and depression and alleviates respiratory and circulatory issues.
Caution: Although it is non-toxic, Marjoram is not recommended while pregnant.
PATCHOULI
A widely known essential oil, Patchouli is often associated with hippies or “earthy” types who are thought to use it for its mood-lifting properties. Patchouli comes from the plant Pogostemon cablin and actually has powerful skincare properties.
Extraction and Application: This thick essential oil is steam-distilled after it’s extracted from young leaves. Add a few drops of Patchouli to your bath or humidifier to alleviate depression and anxiety. Blend with massage lotion to combat skin infections and to facilitate healing of wounds.
Aromatherapy Uses: Patchouli serves as a powerful skin care agent; it even promotes skin cell growth when applied directly to the skin. Patchouli helps to relieve anxiety, depression, fatigue, curb addiction, reduce cellulite and bloating.
Caution: Although non-toxic, it’s best to use Patchouli in small doses given its strength.
PEPPERMINT
All you need is a whiff of peppermint to put the pep back in your step. Peppermint has a cooling, refreshing effect and is widely used to enhance mental alertness. Peppermint is a perennial herb that boasts natural energy-boosting properties.
Extraction and Application: Peppermint oil is extracted before the herb flowers and is then steam-distilled. It is used in vaporizers, massage oils and lotions, baths, even mouthwash.
Aromatherapy Uses: Peppermint oil has a number of therapeutic properties. It is a cooling agent that enhances mood, sharpens focus, combats irritation and redness, alleviates symptoms of congestion, and aids in digestion.
Caution: Although non-toxic, the menthol component in Peppermint can bother some individuals. It is also a skin irritant and should be kept away from the eyes. Keep away from small children and do not use while pregnant.
ROSE
Women should keep Rose oil handy as it’s a powerful aromatherapy treatment for issues targeted mainly at females. Roses are some of the first plants to be distilled for their essential oil. Rose oil is pricier than other aromatherapy oils given the number of roses necessary to distill it.
Extraction and Application: Rose oil is extracted from fresh rose petals and then steam distilled. Extracting rose oil is a delicate process.
Aromatherapy Uses: Rose oil is an ideal essential oil to have on hand. It helps with a number of illnesses and conditions, such as depression, anxiety and digestion issues. It is also helps with circulation, heart problems and respiratory conditions like asthma. It is a protector of the heart and is also good for your skin.
Caution: Avoid during pregnancy.
ROSEMARY
Rosemary oil is a wonderful mental stimulant. Feel yourself getting foggy? Add a few drops of Rosemary oil to your humidifier or bath water for a natural lift and memory booster. This essential oil packs a powerful punch when it comes to aromatherapy uses. Throughout history the herb has been thought of as sacred.
Extraction and Application: Rosemary oil is extracted from the flowering part of the herb and then steam distilled. Add some Rosemary oil to your humidifier to enhance memory, relieve congestion and sinusitis issues. Blend it with massage lotions and oils to help stiff, aching muscles, arthritis, liver and gallbladder congestion and digestive disorders. Rosemary oil in shampoos are excellent for stimulating the scalp, and thus hair growth.
Aromatherapy Uses: Widely known as a mental stimulant, the antidepressant properties of Rosemary oil make it ideal for enhanced memory, focus and overall brain performance. It also acts as an analgesic, soothing aching, cramping muscles, headaches and migraines. As an antiseptic it helps with digestive and liver infections. It is great for skin issues as well.
Caution: Avoid Rosemary oil if you have been diagnosed with epilepsy or high blood pressure. Pregnant women should also avoid this essential oil.
SANDALWOOD
An evergreen, Sandalwood is easily recognized by its woody fragrance. It is an expensive oil given the length of time it takes for a tree to reach maturity, the best time to extract and distill the essential oil. It has numerous aromatherapy benefits.
Extraction and Application: Sandalwood oil is extracted and distilled from the wood chips of a mature tree. Sandalwood oil can be applied several ways: blended with massage oil and lotions, added to a vaporizer, used as incense, even gargled (diluted).
Aromatherapy Uses: Sandalwood oil can help mucous membranes of the urinary tract and chest wall. It helps to alleviate chest pain. It is also used as a relaxing agent for tension relief. Many practitioners of yoga use Sandalwood for its calming and sexual properties. It is a hydration aid for the skin, as well as an anti-inflammatory.
TEA TREE
If you have but just one essential oil in your possession, it should be Tea Tree oil. Tea Tree oil is one of the most popular and effective essential oils for aromatherapy use. It is widely known to boost the immune system and fight infections.
Extraction and Application: Tea Tree stems from the Cypress-like Melaleuca alternifolia tree. It is extracted from the tree’s leaves and steam distilled. Tea Tree oil can be inhaled (via humidifier or steam inhalation) and/or applied to the skin various different ways. Blend Tea Tree oil with a lotion, oil or cream to massage it into the skin. Add a few drops into your bathwater or apply it directly to your skin (using precaution, of course). Tea Tree oil is also found in shampoos, lotions and mouthwash because its healing properties are so powerful.
Aromatherapy Uses: Tea Tree’s healing properties are abundant. Not only is it a natural immune booster, but it also fights all three kinds of infection. It works to heal skin conditions, burns and cuts, and also works as an insecticide. In addition, it helps to soothe and treat cold sores, respiratory conditions, muscle aches, the flu, Athlete’s foot and dandruff. Its uses are vast and its healing power is quick.
Caution: Tea Tree oil is not toxic, but avoid using it internally or around the eyes and nose. It is also not recommended for serious cuts.
YLANG-YLANG
Ylang-Ylang is recognizable because of its strong fragrance. Its sweet aroma is excellent for reducing stress and as an aphrodisiac.
Extraction and Application: Ylang-Ylang is extracted from the flowers of a tropical tree and steam-distilled. Much like other essential oils, Ylang-Ylang can be used in a vaporizer or blended with other lotions for massage purposes. Add some drops into a bath, especially if you’re looking for a little romance.
Aromatherapy Uses: While its calming properties are its most powerful, Ylang-Ylang oil is also used to soothe headaches, nausea, skin conditions, stimulate hair growth, reduce high blood pressure and fight intestinal problems.
Caution: While it is a non-toxic oil, overuse can lead to headaches.

The benefits of aromatherapy

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