The different ways in which aromatherapy can help you
The market for aromatherapy products is definitely growing. But what is aromatherapy and what are the different ways it can help you?
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy uses essential oils derived from plants to promote health and wellbeing. It is an ancient practice that is rapidly gaining in popularity. More people are discovering the amazing ways aromatherapy can help and support them.
Essential oils are easy to work with. The most popular ways to use them are:
- Through smell - this means inhaling the oils to experience the aroma. This can be through using a diffuser or simply adding a few drops to hot water. This is called the ‘aromatic’ use of essential oils.
- On the skin - this is called the ‘topical’ use of essential oils. The oils can be applied to the skin during massage or added to lotions and creams.
Another way essential oils can be used is ingesting them. To take essential oils internally, they can be added to a glass of water, a capsule or even under your tongue. It is extremely important to follow all safety precautions around ingesting essential oils. Not all oils are safe for this use and they could cause serious damage. Always follow professional guidelines when using essential oils.
How does aromatherapy work?
Our sense of smell is extremely powerful. According to research, the human nose can detect more than 1 trillion different scents! Only when we lose our sense of smell do we realise just how vital it is. Unable to experience the smell of freshly baked bread, cut grass or even marmite. The world loses a little bit of magic. The loss of the sense of smell is called anosmia. It can be a temporary loss - when we have a cold or suffer with allergies - or a permanent loss of smell.
Why is our sense of smell so important?
- It makes us feel hungry - Think about how you feel when you walk past a chip shop. It stimulates the appetite and makes you feel hungry.
- It alerts us to danger - If you don’t smell the smoke, how do you know there’s a fire?
- It lets us know when food is off - We don’t eat food that smells bad. If we can’t smell those rotten odours, we don’t realise anything is wrong and could get a stomach upset.
- It helps us taste - Smell is a huge part of tasting food. When we can’t smell, food seems bland and unappetising.
How aromatherapy uses our sense of smell
When essential oils are used, they are quickly absorbed by the smell receptors in our nose. These receptors are linked directly to the limbic system in our brain. This is the part of the brain that processes memories and emotions.
The benefit of holistic therapies
Aromatherapy is a type of holistic treatment. This means it offers an alternative, or complementary approach, to traditional medicine. Holistic therapies address the whole person rather than just treating the symptoms. Holistic treatments provide relief for the mind, body and soul.
The benefit of holistic treatments is that they are completely natural. Aromatherapy uses the powerful extracts of plants. They are non-invasive and based on the principle of balance. Conventional treatments often focus on the symptoms. When we have a headache, we might reach for a painkiller. Although this alleviates the pain, it doesn't address the root cause of the discomfort. Alternative therapies, such as aromatherapy aim to bring balance to the person by focusing on overall wellbeing.
How can aromatherapy help you?
Aromatherapy isn’t a recent idea. The use of aromatic plants and herbs has been practised for thousands of years. Ancient cultures recognised the impact of essential oils on health and wellbeing. Today, modern research is confirming the many ways aromatherapy can help. Let’s take a look at the different ways in which aromatherapy can help you.
Research studies have shown aromatherapy to have a significant positive effect in reducing pain. The use of essential oils is recommended for pain management given their relative low cost and minimal side effects. Basil essential oil has been used to prevent the frequency and intensity of migraines. Rose and clary sage essential oils are useful for relieving menstrual pain.
Stress and anxiety relief
Essential oils stimulate the area of the brain responsible for emotions. Certain oils have a positive impact and mood-boosting ability. Anxiolytic oils are ones that have anti-anxiety properties. They include bergamot, clary sage and lavender. Lavender essential oil is a popular oil for reducing stress and anxiety. It actively promotes relaxation and calm. The aromatic floral scent can ease you into a chilled state after a hectic day at the office.
When you need a quick energy boost, you don’t have to rely on coffee or energy drinks. Some essential oils are great for providing a much-needed lift to get you through the day. Some energy-boosting essential oils include rosemary, ginger, cinnamon and tea tree. Keep a bottle handy for when you need a lil’ something to spur you on. It works out cheaper than a regular trip to the coffee shop.
Fighting bacteria and viruses
A range of essential oils have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Tea tree oil, for example, is effective against bacteria. It's often used as an ingredient in spot gels, acne treatments and other skin products. Lemongrass essential oil is a popular antifungal and anti-inflammatory oil that smells deliciously sweet. It is proven to inhibit the growth of bacteria so is a useful oil for treating conditions that don’t respond to antibiotics.
Generally we only think about our immune systems as winter sets in. A weakened immunity leaves us vulnerable to colds and flu. Strengthening our immune systems should be a year round focus.
Some great immunity boosting essential oils include:
- Cinnamon bark
Add a few drops to a diffuser to rid the air of airborne viruses and pathogens. Or use them to clean your home. Your immune system will thank you.
Aromatherapy promotes relaxation and sleep. Our hustle-based society doesn’t promote the benefits of a good night’s shut eye. But knowing how many hours of sleep we should get every night is only the first step. Switching off racing thoughts at bedtime is often easier said than done. The good news is that essential oils can help. One of the most popular oils for a restful sleep is lavender. Many research studies have shown the beneficial effect lavender has on sleep. Place a few drops on your pillow at night or add some to a room diffuser.
Depression is a debilitating condition that impacts how we think, feel and behave. Essential oils can be used to ease and help to manage the symptoms of depression. According to research, applying essential oils through massage is more effective for managing depression than inhalation. Some popular oils for easing depression include ginger for reducing anxiety symptoms and ylang ylang for an all-round calming effect.
Cold and flu relief
Rather than relying on over the counter remedies, try essential oils as a natural alternative. Not only can they be used as an antibacterial treatment to prevent transmission of germs, they can be used to relieve cold and flu symptoms. Inhale eucalyptus oil in steam or add a few drops to a hot bath to relieve a stuffy nose. Or try oregano oil to ease coughs and chest infections.
Ripple+ and aromatherapy
At ripple+, we love learning about the amazing uses of essential oils and aromatherapy. We also love finding out how our customers have benefited from using our personal diffusers. We select the best aromatic blends for their unique beneficial properties. Whether you want to ease your anxiety or need a quick energy boost, there’s a ripple+ out there for you.