Aromatherapy, a widely used form of alternative medicine, utilizes an array of essential oils to bring about an incredible number of positive results for both the body and the mind. And while essential oils, coming from the pure essences of plants and flowers, are the primary medium used in aromatherapy, they are not the only ones. Sea salts, milk powders, muds and clays, herbs, and cold pressed vegetable oils are also often used.
The various fragrances of essential oils and other natural ingredients used in aromatherapy have a direct effect on the olfactory system, or our sense of smell, which then triggers the limbic system within the brain that is connected with several vital functions of the body.
Although the list is rather impressive, here are the top five most commonly known benefits of aromatherapy:
1. Eases Nausea
The essential oils ginger and peppermint are commonly used for easing and relieving the discomfort of nausea. Inhaling the aroma of a few drops of either oil is said to relieve an upset stomach. Peppermint does double duty as it also helps to raise your feelings of alertness and concentration while easing the symptoms of asthma and sinusitis. Ginger is an equally versatile essential oil as it is said to help with arthritis, fatigue, and sore muscles in addition to easing nausea.
2. Increases Energy
To increase energy, alertness, focus, and concentration, aromatherapy with cinnamon, peppermint, or rosemary may do the trick. Also use black pepper to improve circulation, which then allows the brain to function better. And if depression is causing a decrease in energy or motivation, try rose oil, sandalwood, orange, lemon, grapefruit, or clary sage.
3. Improves the Quality of Sleep
If you’re leery of using either prescription or over the counter medication to promote sleep, aromatherapy is one alternative to consider. Both chamomile and lavender are used in aromatherapy to bring about deep, quality sleep that allows you to awake feeling rested and alert.
4. Relieves Anxiety and Stress
Aromatherapy has long been known as a natural way of relieving both anxiety and stress. To relax and calm your racing or worrisome mind, jasmine is perfect for relaxation while chamomile, lavender and rose are ideal for calming. To bring about a feeling of peace and contentment, try using lavender and rosemary together. For times of severe stress, use vetiver, ylang ylang, patchouli, neroli, geranium, cedarwood, or bergamot.
5. Brings Relief from Headaches
Headaches can range from the minor and mildly annoying to the severe and debilitating. Those who suffer from chronic headaches can build up a tolerance to medication, rendering it less effective. Others simply haven’t been able to find a remedy that really works. Try using the essential oil of peppermint for relief from headaches, and if PMS is the cause of migraines or severe headaches, chamomile may help ease the symptoms including irritability and mood swings.
Used for centuries to bring about both mental and emotional well being, aromatherapy is still used in conjunction with modern medicine. While it should not be looked upon as a magical cure-all, aromatherapy can be a viable, complementary tool to use along with any necessary medical treatments to bring about healing from within.