How does Aromatherapy work?
To find out how aromatherapy works, we must first look at what aromatherapy is. Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment, sometimes called a complementary treatment, that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. It takes into account the needs of the person seeking help and helps to heal their mind, body and spirit.
Essential oils are very concentrated and powerful and are greatly diluted before use in aromatherapy. When we breathe in the fragrance of an essential oil, some of its molecules travel to the lungs, pass through the lining and into the bloodstream, where they travel around the body. Other molecules take an upward route to the brain, which receives a healing message - to relax or energise, for example - and transmits the appropriate signal along the nerve channels of the body.
Aromatherapy is not a new phenomenon, it has been around for thousands of years, however the term aromatherapy was coined by a French perfumer and chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé in a book he wrote on the topic that was published in 1937. He had previously discovered the healing potential of lavender in treating burns when badly burning his hand.
When choosing Essential oils for a blend, oils are divided into 3 different “notes”. Top notes are more citrus oils, lighter oils that will evaporate more quickly, middle notes are more balanced notes, they help “merge” the other two notes and base notes are grounding, earthy oils that take longest to evaporate (and sometimes the longest to get out of the bottle)! Any oils can be combined to make the blend you need, but I tend to like adding a middle note when I can to help the blend.
Aromatherapy mainly works through the sense of smell, the aroma stimulates the smell receptors in the olfactory system (nose), which will then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system which is the part of the brain ghat controls emotions. Therefore, using it the following ways will help you benefit from the properties of the oils:
- aromatherapy sprays
- bath salts
- body oils, creams, or lotions for massage or topical application
- face creams or oils
Aromatherapy can help you physically, emotionally and mentally and can be used to help:
- managing pain
- improving sleep quality
- reducing stress, agitation and anxiety
- soothing sore joints
- treating headaches and migraines
- fighting bacteria or viruses
- improving digestion
- boosting immunity
There are many more benefits to Aromatherapy, and I like to share them with you on my page. You can use essential oils in any number of ways depending on your specific needs. It is best to always consult a qualified aromatherapist as the ration of the dilution of oils to carrier is especially important for your safety.