Some people better understand aromatherapy as a practise involving a variety of scents that can relieve stress and aches. And they wouldn’t be wrong. But there is so much more to aromatherapy than meets the eyes.
Aromatherapy is thought to be hundreds of years old having been around since the middle ages. It embodies a holistic approach to wellbeing by using essential oils and ‘smells‘ in a variety of different ways. These could be to target a specific area of pain, to relieve a headache, nausea, and even unstuff noses. But they can also be used to aid our mental health. in order to benefit the person as a whole rather than targeting specific symptoms. Unlike conventional medicine, aromatherapy doesn’t work to mask the pain. It treats overall well-being so that we’re better equipped to deal with instances of stress, anxiety, and depression.
How can aromathearpy help me?
Here are just three of the many ways that aromatherapy can benefit you. While these are largely mood-based, be there are hundreds of conditions that can be aided by the correct use of aromatherapy.
Certain aromas can be used to reduce muscle, joint and general pain.
A study carried out and published in the Pain Research and Treatment Journal found that aromatherapy had a more positive impact than placebos and other controlled treatments in the treatment of pain. This is especially true for pain associated with gynaecological and obstetrical issues.
Menstrual pain specifically is extremely common and affects between 25-97% of people worldwide. It may even impair the ability to function and I personally have been bedridden for days. Aromatherapy has greatly helped me combat menstrual pain, and even back pain!
I had a personal mix created by Olivia during a particularly bad period earlier this year. I’ve since refilled mine with my own blend and it continues to work wonders!
They can boost your mood.
It’s not hard to imagine why certain scents can work wonders in regards to our mood. Just think about lighting a citrus-scented candle and the jolt of energy you feel. Or the warm feeling when you enter a house with burning cinnamon or sandalwood. Smells can have a profound impact on how we feel not only in our bodies but also in our minds. It’s another reason why so many people enjoy gardening. Not only are they working with their hands to create something beautiful, but the various scents found in a garden can be so therapeutic.
Use them for a good night’s sleep or to help you unwind.
Ever wonder why Lavender seems to be stable in all sleep or relaxation products? Scents such as lavender are proven to be a great way of aiding relaxation and sleep disruption. In fact, a study published by Nursing in Critical Care found that lavender had a profound impact on patients in the ICU. Patients inhaled lavender oil for approximately fifteen days and showed a significant impact in sleep quality compared to the control group.
Additionally, the American College of Healthcare Sciences conducted a study where patients were given hand massages using a blend of essential oils once per day. In the following days to weeks, patients reported less pain and a positive boost in mood. These results confirmed that massage combined with the use of essential oils had more of an impact than the traditional treatment for depression. Considering most are unable to access help beyond traditional, and often expensive medications, this could have a profoundly positive impact on mental health self-care going forward.
Common methods of aromatherapy.
You can add a drop of essential oils to your diffuser or oil burner. Add a little bit of water to dilute it and bingo. You have yourself a creative way of emitting a scent throughout your house! Diffusers come in many shapes and sizes, and you can easily use a traditional candle burner.
*Diffusers are easy to clean, but remember to change your water often for maximum benefit.
This is a no brainer! Aromatherapy candles are very popular for relaxation and stress relief purposes. Simply pick your scent, place it in a safe location and light the wick.
*If you’re living in rented accommodation or on campus, be sure to check what you are and are not allowed to do. Some places may have a ‘ no open flame’ policy. In this case, diffusers can be used to prevent any fines or accidents.
You can quickly add the scent of essential oils to an area of your home using a room spray. You can buy premixed room spray or make your own!
Bath or showering products.
Scented bath products such as bath bombs, shower soaps, bubble baths and even salts are a wonderful way to unwind! And they don’t cost you an arm and a leg, either! There are many places you can pick up bath products of all scents, including small businesses. Fizz It UK are just one such business and, better yet, they’re local to Northern Ireland.
What oils should I use?
There are many different aromas out there, some of which are used to pinpoint specific issues. While I can’t discuss every specific one, here are a few more common aromas and what they’re used for. I suggest going for one that can be used to pinpoint numerous areas or issues.
- Lavender is one of the most frequently used scents. It’s known for its stress-relieving properties and is often associated with sleep. Lavender has the ability to connect with many emotions and is excellent at helping to restore our minds and bodies. – Stress, Focus, Sleep.
- Yang ylang is a scent I’ve only tried once and is known for its floral aroma. It helps in making you feel uplifted and promotes total body wellness. – Stress, low mood/mood boosters, sleep.
- Lemon is ideal for mental fatigue due to it’s sharp, citrus aroma, and when used this scent often leaves you feeling refreshed. – Focus, stress.
- Peppermint is often used for spider repellant, and can often make your breathing feel at ease. – Headaches, heartburn, opening airways.
Please note that aromatherapy isn’t a cure and should not be used in lieu of therapy or medication. It should always be used in conjunction with other treatment plans.
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