Improve your health and wellness with aromatherapy from essential oils
There are many natural ways to relax, unwind, soothe muscle pain and even combat stress. Aromatherapy has surged in popularity over the last few years, with many claiming that it has numerous health benefits.
In the long-term, OTC meds could damage and put a strain on the body which could lead to other potential health risks later on, which is why optimizing your diet, getting regular exercise and considering natural approaches can help keep you energised.
So let’s get to the benefits of aromatherapy for health and wellness.
The essence and “birth” of aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been around for a very long time. Some sources credit the ancient Egyptians for the first distillation practices and fragrance use. Aromatherapy also has roots in the Far East and the Middle East.
Essential oils from plants were used among royal families because back then, only the wealthy could afford such fine produce. And still today, some of the rare and purest oils come with a high price tag, mostly because they are so scarce.
People also often used essential oils (EO’s) as a natural deodorant or perfume. The EO’s were relied on for medicinal use as well.
Source of aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is possible due to plants and herbs growing in nature. Manufacturers source Lavandula “Lavender” oil, for example, from wild lavender plants. Through steam distillation, the oils are extracted from the plant’s fruit, leaves, bark or stem and are very concentrated.
It’s a long process that requires large amounts of the plant or fruit to produce enough oil.
Fast forward to today
Essential oils are readily available in health stores throughout the world. As mentioned, the rare ones are often more expensive.
Essential oils have a variety of benefits for good health, digestion, to help with focus and the list goes on.
Warning about essential oils
Before we dive into the benefits of essential oils, we want to remind you that just because a product is natural, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any side effects.
In fact, the entire point is that essential oils can promote certain reactions in your body and while we are focusing on the good effects of aromatherapy and essential oils, some people can be sensitive and react. It’s just like hair dye.
Numerous people dye their hair every few months without any problems whatsoever, but some people have a reaction. So please do more research before applying a bunch of oils onto your skin.
Also, because oils are concentrated, many of them need to be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut oil, sweet almond oil, rosehip oil and more. Blending oils is beyond the scope of this article – there are plenty of those blogs for you to explore on Google. Rather we are highlighting why people enjoy using essential oils.
It goes without saying (but we’re saying it anyway) that if you are pregnant or nursing, have any chronic conditions, or any concerns whatsoever, please check with your doctor before using essential oils.
Remember a little goes a long way, and be mindful of pets and small children in the same vicinity of your oils, as they can also be affected.
Benefits of aromatherapy include:
1. Reduces stress and anxiety
We live in a stressful world and it can be a challenge to balance the pressures of work and our personal life. Many people find themselves feeling stressed and exhausted. Essential oils can help to lift a low mood and help you to relax.
You can use essential oils to help reduce stress because some oils can induce a sense of relaxation. Oils that help with this include but are not limited to lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, clary sage and rose, to name a few.
2. Helps you to focus
Essential oils may help you focus too. This is especially helpful when trying to study for exams, or preparing an important presentation. Or maybe you just want to enhance your sense of focus before you meditate or do some yoga.
Oils suggested for focus include: lemon, black pepper, spearmint, rosemary and cedarwood to name a few. For more suggestions, take a look at this article here.
3. It can help to improve sleep
Many people suffer from insomnia and feel permanently tired. Sometimes sleeplessness is a result of stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, illness and certain medications. Essential oils can help to improve sleep as it soothes the muscles and eases the senses.
Certain essential oils have calming abilities as well as sleep-inducing effects. The most common are lavender, chamomile, valerian oil and bergamot.
4. It fights off bacteria and microorganisms
Yes, the benefits of aromatherapy are perfect during high-flu season because some of them are antimicrobial. This is great news to keep the air clear from unwanted microorganisms and germs.
Citrus essential oils are well known for having the ability to fight germs. So, you can stock up on sweet orange, lemon, basil, lemongrass, patchouli and tea tree.
5. It may help to reduce pain
Another one of the benefits of essential oil is that it may help to ease mild pain. As a form of alternative medicine, certain essential oils are renowned for their healing abilities. This is because some are natural analgesics and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Lavender, again, this gem of an oil is one of the leaders when it comes to tackling pain. Rosehip oil, eucalyptus, evening primrose and peppermint oil are also known to help manage pain.
6. Improve skin condition
Some essential oils are known to fight the signs of ageing and promote supple, youthful skin. Oils can contain anti-inflammatory and healing properties, as well as skin-loving vitamins such as Vitamins A and E.
Some oils, like rosehip, contain antioxidants and essential fatty acids to keep the skin looking plump and full of vitality.
How can you tap into the benefits of aromatherapy?
You can harness the power of aromatherapy in many ways. Try the following:
Diffusing the oils
You can diffuse a blend of oils via an electric oil diffuser or oil burner. Oil burners are an older method of diffusing oil. It works by burning a candle under a ceramic burner with water and essential oil in it.
The fragrances will fill the air and fill your respiratory system. Breathing in the aroma is beneficial for wellness.
Modern diffusers use ultrasonic technology that breaks the oil into tiny particles for diffusion.
When applying the oil onto the skin (topically), always use a carrier oil. This will help to reduce any chance of irritation due to the oil’s purity and concentrated state.
Suitable carrier oils include olive oil, jojoba, coconut oil, sweet almond and avocado oil. These carrier oils also derive from a plant and are cold-pressed.
This is a good method to use to help alleviate chest problems. It clears airways and is good for the respiratory system. That being said, it works wonders when the pesky flu hits.
You can do this by adding a few drops of menthol essential oil such as Eucalyptus into a steaming bowl of water. After that, cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl so that the steam doesn’t escape. Take a few breathes inhaling the vapour.
Other methods of aromatherapy include adding a few drops onto your pillowcase before you sleep. You can also add some Lavender on your wrists for a calming effect.
Again, please exercise caution when using essential oils as some people, such as asthmatics, may be particularly sensitive to the strong smells.
Get optimum benefits of aromatherapy
To get the best out of your aromatherapy sessions, you need to make certain that you source 100% organic, or pure essential oil.
Some red flags to watch out for when selecting your EO:
- All the oils are the same price
If you are looking at a selection of oils and they are all the identical price, this could mean the oils are made from synthetic ingredients and this is lower quality. This may sometimes lead to bad skin irritation and other side effects.
Logic tells us that some oils are rarer and would, therefore, be more expensive.
This isn’t a rule though, so use your discretion.
It’s entirely possible that the company chose to use a benchmark price and sell all the oils at the same price, thereby “losing” money on their expensive oils but making a higher profit on cheaper oils sold at a higher price point than if they were sold individually.
Just keep an eye out and do your research before buying, especially if the price (compared to other brands) looks too good to be true.
- Opt for companies that give full descriptions
Reputable companies often use the plant’s scientific names as well as their source origins and sometimes directions for use. Look for oils that are certified organic.
- EO’s sold in plastic bottles
Plastic and essential oil is not a good combination. The plastic can cause contamination. Rather purchase essential oils in dark (light can degrade the oil) glass vials.
More tips for buying essential oils
- Buy in smaller quantities – The oil is already very concentrated and a little goes a long way. Larger bottles may expire if you keep it for too long. Also, because you use more carrier oil than the oil you’re mixing into it, your carrier oil should be a bigger bottle and your other oils should be small bottles.
- Choose oils stored in dark bottles – Light can affect the quality of essential oils and it’s best practice to choose dark glass bottles when purchasing and storing oils.
- Good for 24mos – As a rule of thumb, the essential oil is typically good for a year after opening. However when storing correctly and at the right temperatures, it can last longer. Keep them away from light and heat.
Furthermore, do a “patch test” – this will help you determine whether you are experiencing an allergic reaction. While essential oils are considered safe to use they can cause skin irritation in some people. This is why we recommend carrier oil as mentioned earlier in this post.
Only use pure oils
Pure or 100% essential oil is the best option.
We would not advise anyone to ingest essential oils, even though this practice is growing in popularity.
Rather stick to real vegetables, fruit and herbs such as ginger, mint leaves, oranges, lemons, rosemary, cinnamon in cooking, and beverages. Since essential oil is derived directly from plants and highly concentrated, consuming the oil can be very harmful to the body.
Closing thoughts on the benefits of aromatherapy for better health
Sourcing natural ways to lead a healthier lifestyle is often the option with the least risks. Aromatherapy uses the sense of smell to help tap into the healing benefits that are good for your mind, body and soul.
Aromatherapy is a fun way to enjoy the gorgeous bounty of nature to infuse your life with beautiful aromas and health-promoting benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Aromatherapy?
A: Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine using the concentrated oils of various botanicals to provide various effects such as relaxation, focus, better breathing, improved mood, to name a few.
Q: How is Aromatherapy used?
A: There are many ways to enjoy aromatherapy. You can put a few drops of essential oil into a diffuser, light an aromatherapy candle, rub some oil onto your wrist or simply smell various oil blends.
Q: What essential oil is the most versatile?
A: We would say lavender is one of the most versatile essential oils. It’s used to improve the quality of the skin, for relaxation, to reduce stress, and is believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
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