Why use aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is growing in popularity. On Instagram, #aromatherapy has 5.7 million posts. The use of essential oils and aromatherapy products is totally on-trend. 

But why has it become the go-to complementary therapy? We have uncovered a wide range of reasons for using aromatherapy. But first let’s learn a bit more about what aromatherapy actually is.

What is aromatherapy? 

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils. These essential oils are extracted from flowers, seeds, bark and other parts of plants. They are collected using methods that preserve the aromatic properties of the plants. Aromatherapy uses these oils to produce aromas that positively benefit our health and wellbeing. 

Aromatherapy is often used alongside other therapies. 

These include:

  • Reiki
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Reflexology 
  • Yoga

The oils can be inhaled through the nose or absorbed into the body through the skin. 

Inhaling essential oils

Inhalation is one of the most common forms of aromatherapy. It is really effective because our sense of smell is so powerful. The process of inhalation to a corresponding response in the body is super quick. It can happen in just a few seconds! 

When the brain receives the signal from the scent, the limbic system is triggered. This is the special part of the brain that is linked with emotions and feelings. This is why certain smells evoke memories or feelings we associate with that smell in the past. 

Applying essential oils to the skin

Before an oil is applied to the skin, it first must be diluted. Carrier oils are used to ‘carry’ the essential oils into the skin. Some examples include jojoba oil, coconut oil and shea butter. As essential oils are extremely concentrated and potent, dilution makes them safe to use. 

There are very few essential oils that can be applied undiluted without damaging effects. One example is tea tree oil. This is generally considered safe for treating spots and blemishes.  

Essential oils are applied to the skin during massage, or in lotions and other products. The beneficial oils are gradually absorbed into the bloodstream and circulate around your body systems.   

Aromatherapy for the body

Treatment of medical issues

Various studies have revealed the benefits of using lavender essential oil to soothe and calm agitation. Dementia is a disease associated with a decline in cognitive function. This can lead to confusion and upset. Diffusing lavender oil can help dementia patients by creating an atmosphere of calm. Rosemary essential oil is also used due to its ability to boost cognitive function.

Aromatherapy is often used alongside standard medical treatments for cancer. Some of the symptoms caused by cancer and cancer treatment include nausea and anxiety. Aromatherapy has been found to be an effective natural way of reducing these symptoms and calming anxious patients.  

Pain relief

Research has discovered that essential oils can be used to relieve pain. This is due to their unique properties. 

Some oils and their uses are:

  • Lavender for tension headaches.
  • Rose oil to relieve menstrual cramping.
  • Clove oil for toothaches.
  • Chamomile for carpal tunnel pain relief.
  • Ginger to ease muscle stiffness.

Next time you reach for the paracetamol, consider trying a natural alternative instead. With a wealth of benefits, essential oils are a vital addition to your home medicine cabinet.

Ease cold and flu symptoms

When you are suffering from a cold or flu, a blocked nose can get in the way of enjoying life. Breathing is more of a struggle and it can be difficult to sleep. Steam inhalation is a great technique for relieving stuffy sinuses. Simply add five drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of steaming hot water. With your face above the steam, cover your head and the bowl with a towel. Relax and let the vapour gently ease your symptoms. 

Aromatherapy for the mind

Help with sleep disturbances

Aromatherapy is widely used to promote relaxation and ease tension. If you have difficulty switching off at night - your TV or your thoughts - give essential oils a try. Various studies have revealed the effectiveness of essential oils for sleep. The most often quoted oil for improving sleep is lavender. The active components of the oil interact with your brain and nervous system. This creates feel-good hormones, reduces agitation and promotes relaxation. 

Stress relief

The mind and the body are strongly connected. When you smell something you love, your body will feel happy. If you smell something you hate, your stomach might clench or you may feel nauseous. Bergamot essential oil is a good choice for stress relief. Studies have shown it reduces cortisol levels which are an indicator of stress.

Aromatherapy for the spirit

Mood booster

We all need a little pick-me-up now and then. When you get dragged down emotionally you can feel drained and deflated. Essential oils are great for giving you that little bit of oomph to help get you back on your game and loving life again. When you are feeling out of sorts, try using some citrus essential oils like lemon and sweet orange. The zingy fragrance will put the spring back in your step.  

Mystical uses

Aromatherapy has been used for ceremony and ritual for thousands of years. Incense is burned in Buddhist temples to evoke feelings of serenity and peace. In the Catholic church incense is used in services to purify and offer up prayers. Essential oils are used for supporting and developing spirituality. They can remove negative vibes and help to balance and ground you. 

Supports meditation

We could all benefit by adding more moments of relaxation to our day, right? Focusing on the sensation of inhaling and exhaling is a simple yet powerful practice for connecting with the body. We spend so much of our lives in our heads, it can be difficult to step back down to the heart. If you use a particular fragrance every time you meditate, soon your body will learn to drop into a state of calm when it is triggered by the scent. 

Balancing the chakras

The chakras are energy centres in our ‘subtle body’. The main seven chakras are located down the length of your spine. When one or more chakras are out of balance you can feel under the weather or over-energised. Aromatherapy is a valuable tool to restore balance to your energetic body and help you feel harmonious again. Different essential oils are associated with each chakraYou can even purchase essential oils that are blended specifically for each chakra.    

Aromatherapy for smoking cessation

Aromatherapy has proven benefits for supporting your quit smoking journey. We know that every little helps when it comes to kicking nicotine. Whatever products you use to quit smoking, essential oils can support your journey as a complementary therapy. 

Some useful essential oils include:

  • Black pepper - to stimulate the respiratory system which mimics the effects of smoking 
  • Lavender - to help with relaxation by soothing your central nervous system
  • Eucalyptus - to clear your lungs and airways, helping you breathe easier
  • Peppermint - to uplift you and help to curb those pesky nicotine cravings

If you want to use aromatherapy to support your quit journey, try one of our Ripple+ personal diffusers. We’ve expertly blended essential oils and plant extracts so you can inhale the benefits with zero nicotine.

Aromatherapy for prevention

As well as being an effective treatment for illness, aromatherapy can be used as a preventative therapy. This is because it balances the body and keeps it in a state of stability. 

Keeping your body balanced can be a protective measure against a range of illnesses. The relaxing properties of essential oils can relieve stress and promote a more positive outlook. 

With more people on the path to wellbeing, the uses for aromatherapy will continue to grow. If you’re an aromatherapy newbie, try it yourself and find out why it’s a great natural alternative treatment. It won’t be long until you are using #aromatherapy to share the benefits.