Many people are unfamiliar with essential oils, but they have been used for centuries to promote wellness. Essential oils are concentrated liquids that come from the bark, roots, flowers, leaves, or other parts of plants and trees. Best of all, you don’t need a lot of these pure essentials to reap their benefits!
Essential oils have a pleasant scent, reduce stress, cure fungal skin problems, and help you sleep. They are plant extracts in concentrated form. Many medicinal and recreational applications require the “essence” of a plant to be transformed into a liquid form via distillation.
Essential Oils For Aromatherapy
Essential oils come in a variety of scents and applications. Some are valued for their pleasant scent. Others promise to have significant healing abilities. However, their strength might have negative effects that you should be aware of.
What Is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing method that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. It’s also known as essential oil therapy.
Aromatherapy uses fragrant essential oils to help people heal physically, mentally, and spiritually. Both physical and emotional health is improved by aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is considered both an art and a science.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are concentrated liquids that come from the bark, roots, flowers, leaves, or other parts of plants and trees. They can be used in many different ways, including:
- Inhaling through aromatherapy diffusers
- Adding to homemade cleaning supplies
- Rubbing on the skin (diluted with a carrier oil)
- Adding to baths
- Making homemade beauty products
There are many different types of essential oils, each with its own unique benefits.
What Are The Benefits of Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy has been used for several purposes over the years. Of course, the specific benefits you receive will depend greatly on which essential oil you use. Many who have tried this process have reported that it has helped for the following medical conditions, and some of these reports even have scientific studies to back them:
- Headaches. This is a common use for aromatherapy, and it has some scientific support. One study found that aromatherapy using peppermint oil was basically as effective as taking over-the-counter acetaminophen such as Tylenol. Another study discovered that people experienced reduced headache pain after applying lavender and peppermint essential oil to their skin.
- Anxiety. Aromatherapy can be relaxing, especially when used with a massage. In particular, studies have found that the essential oils that seem to reduce anxiety best are lavender and orange.
- Inflammation. There haven’t been too many scientific studies involving humans to support this, but lab tests involving animals show encouraging results. These studies involving mice indicate that for inflammation you may want to use oregano, thyme, and lavender essential oils.
- Insomnia and Bad Sleep. Several essential oils can help with this, though lavender essential oil seems particularly effective. It will help you get to sleep more quickly, and you’re more likely to wake up feeling great.
- GI Issues. If you’re having problems with nausea and vomiting, you should try lemon essential oil. A study with pregnant women prone to nausea and vomiting found that they felt better in the days after trying aromatherapy with lemon essential oil.
- Fatigue or Lethargy. It can work as a stimulant, especially if you use peppermint essential oil. One study revealed that men worked out better at the gym after using peppermint oil.
The essential oils you use are made from the compounds responsible for the fragrant smells of particular plants and herbs. This is called the essence, which is then mixed in with carrier oils so you get the essential oil.
Your smell receptors absorb the essential oils, and these receptors are wired in with your limbic system that controls stress, breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Best Essential Oils For Aromatherapy
The best essential oils are 100% pure and organic. They don’t contain pesticides, fillers, or any type of synthetic chemical. Look for products labeled “steam distilled” or “therapeutic-grade”. Once you buy one, store it in a cool and dry place so it can last a year.
Here are some essential oils you can try depending on what you want to use them for:
Smell this first thing in the morning so you can really wake up, or during the day when your energy levels are flagging. Studies show that it will make you feel more alert, and it even improves your memory. It reduces fatigue, and there are signs that it can reduce your cravings for chocolate.
At night, smell this for better sleep, and in the morning, you’ll feel quite refreshed. Lavender reduces anxiety which may prevent you from getting to sleep more easily. It also helps with your heart rate, blood pressure, and even skin temperature.
This is another essential oil that can help reduce anxiety. One study even showed that when women were in labor (admittedly one of life’s most anxious moments for a woman), they felt less anxious. Another study even found that orange essential oil can help with PTSD.
4. Clary Sage
Try this if you are having minor problems with high blood pressure. A 2013 study involving women showed that clary sage essential oil helped with reducing breathing rats and blood pressure. During stressful medical exams, these women were also able to relax better with clary sage. In addition, you can try this to improve your memory and your ability to pay attention.
Even sniffing the oil from the peel of the lemon skin can enhance your mood. Try the aroma of pure lemon essential oil. Studies show that this is even better for boosting your mood than lavender. Lemon also helps with stress and anxiety.
This improves concentration and soothes frustration. Studies show that drivers who breathed in the scent of cinnamon oil became less flustered and more focused. That should reduce your chances of getting in a road accident.
Looking for some help with exams or an important work task coming up? Try breathing in rosemary essential oil. A study in 2012 found that people engaged in demanding mental tasks became faster and more accurate after trying rosemary essential oil. It refreshes you, boosts your energy, reduces your fatigue, and stimulates you mentally.
People who try this felt less tension and anxiety, and they were able to recover much faster from stressful situations.
This makes you feel relaxed and improves your mood. A study found that it can lower cortisol (the “stress hormone” levels. Another study showed that its use helped mental health patients feel more positive.
This works for colds, though you should use only a drop or two. It’s very powerful, but smelling it in can reduce mucus congestion. Some people even say it helps with headaches and boosts mental clarity.
This improves your mood and boosts your focus. It also reduces depressive symptoms, especially when used with a massage.
12. Ylang Ylang
This reduces inflammation and makes you feel more relaxed. It lowers your blood pressure and heart rate.
It also lowers blood pressure and helps to balance your mood.
One study found that users felt more upbeat and positive afterward. It can also reduce anxiety levels.
This will calm your nerves, and help you sleep better. Chamomile is also an anti-inflammatory.
The Bottom Line
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses essential oils to promote wellness and relaxation. There are many different essential oils, each with its own unique benefits.
When choosing an essential oil for your aromatherapy session, consider what you hope to achieve. If you want to relax, for example, choose an oil with calming properties like lavender or chamomile.
If you’re looking for something uplifting, try citrus oils like lemon or grapefruit. You can also ask your aromatherapist for recommendations based on your needs.
Remember, essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used with care. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. With a little bit of research, you can find the perfect essential oil to improve your well-being.