In today's world, people tend to become stressed more than ever. With work, balancing family life and other obligations, and just the general stresses of everyday life, there are many different things people can do to unwind. One way you can help to alleviate stress is through something pretty unconventional: aromatherapy. The different scents used in aromatherapy can help soothe your mind, body, and soul. There are plenty of excellent products and essential oils that can be used for this form of stress relief that will help you feel relaxed and ready for a new day.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is considered to be an alternative medicine because it does not follow or use traditional medicinal methods. Using essential oils, this form of stress-relieving therapy can trigger the different senses in the brain through smell. Certain oils produce scents that can trigger positive feelings and thoughts in the brain. Some people use essential oils for aromatherapy or apply them directly to the skin due to their possible antifungal and antibacterial properties. Essential oils can also be heated in an oil warmer, used in a bath, or made into candles to diffuse the scent. As we breathe in these smells, our brain is prompted to think positive thoughts, and the scents can stimulate a calming effect.
- Exploring Aromatherapy: This site delves deeper into aromatherapy and what it can do for patients.
- History of Aromatherapy and More: Here is a good overview of the history of aromatherapy, how it works, and what its applications are.
- Essential Oils Therapy: This page explains the process of aromatherapy in more medical terms.
- Aromatherapy Summary and Benefits: Read here to learn more about the many benefits and what aromatherapy can do.
- Therapeutic Uses: This page has some good examples of different oils and what they can be used for.
- Questions and Answers: Learn more about how some doctors are now implementing aromatherapy into cancer treatments.
How Can it Relieve Stress?
Aromatherapy can relieve stress in a number of different ways. Because scented oils are highly concentrated, you will inhale these scents at a much more potent rate than you might from something milder like an air freshener or even perfume. The thought behind aromatherapy is that as the person breathes in these potent oils, the olfactory receptors signal positive emotions to the brain. Breathing the smells in deeply through the nose can help people feel calmer and more at peace. The scents travel through the nose and to nerves in the brain's limbic system. This system is what helps control emotions and feelings. The theory is that by smelling the potent oils, the brain triggers positive feelings, thereby relieving stress and anxiety.
How to Apply or Inhale Essential Oils
There are several different ways to apply or breathe in the essential oils used in aromatherapy. One of the most common ways people breathe in the oils is through an oil diffuser. This is a small device that is made to help diffuse the oil's scent into the air through the use of water and heat. The process of dry evaporation also works: Simply apply the oils to a cotton ball and breathe them in directly. Steaming essential oils in a bowl of steaming water and spraying a diluted version into the air can also be effective. If you choose to apply the oils directly to your skin, make sure you do not have an allergic reaction. It is a good idea to apply some to a small area of the back of the hand first and look for any irritation. Many people like to rub essential oils on their forehead, nape of the neck, and wrists to help alleviate stress.
- Understanding Essential Oils: This page offers a good in-depth description of essential oils and how they work.
- Safety Issues: Be aware of some of the rare but important potential safety issues from essential oils.
- Aromatherapy and Essential Oils: You can learn more about the process of using essential oils here.
- Essential Oil Uses: This page lists many different oils and their various uses and applications.
- Inhalation and Topical Application: This is a good article explaining the methods of inhalation and application of oils.
- Sniff Yourself Healthier: Read here to learn how essential oils inhaled can help your whole body, even your heart!
Popular Therapeutic Scents
There are literally hundreds of different scents that can be used in aromatherapy. Lavender is one of the most popular because of its soothing, calming properties. Chamomile and jasmine can help to calm your nerves after a long day. For anxiety, cypress, neroli, peach, and violet leaf are all good choices. If you are looking for an oil that can keep you from feeling fatigued, try peppermint, pine, sage, or lemon, to name a few. There are endless possibilities and applications for the many different spices, florals, and other scents available.