Subtle but powerful, aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils as well as other plant compounds to promote emotional and physical well-being.
This ancient healing tradition is growing in popularity as people explore the world of alternative health care. Aromatherapy has been used successfully to help treat spinal cord injuries, headaches, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, viral and bacterial infections, among other illnesses. It is also commonly used to help reduce stress and promote psychological well-being.
Aromatherapy for Stress Relief
Lavender, citrus and vanilla are some of the most well-known fragrances for reducing stress -- but because smell is a very personal experience, everyone should take time to experiment with different aromas until they find what works best for them. Below is a list of some of the most popular stress relief scents:
Lavender: Helps to reduce pain and tension.
Tangerine: Used to reduce stress and anxiety.
Grapefruit: Soothes the body and reduces fatigue.
Lime: Aids in the reduction of anxiety and stress.
Vanilla: Promotes feelings of relaxation.
Vetiver: Promotes calm and tranquility.
Jasmine: Enhances mood and reduces tension.
Chamomile: Creates calming sensations and relaxation.
Marjoram: Used to ease muscle tension and promote calming feelings.
Peppermint: Pain reliever and muscle relaxer.
How to Use Aromatherapy
If you are interested in using essential oils to promote relaxation and stress relief in your own life, there are a variety of ways they can be utilized. Massage, inhalation and diffusion are some of the most effective ways of using aromatherapy.
Massage: Essential oils are highly concentrated and must be mixed with a carrier oil before being used on the skin. Mix 10 drops of your favorite essential oil into a high quality base oil. Grapeseed, avocado, almond or apricot kernel oils are a few good choices. Rub the oil into the skin for a fragrant, healing massage.
Inhalation: Add a few drops of essential oil to your steamy bathwater. Breath, relax and enjoy.
Diffusion: There are a variety of methods of diffusing the fragrances of essential oils throughout a room. You can buy any number of products designed especially for this purpose or achieve the same results with a few homemade techniques. One of the simplest methods uses a regular candle. Light the candle. Allow it to burn for a few minutes until the wax is melted on top. Blow the candle out. Add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to the melted wax. Relight the candle. The pleasant aroma will waft through the room fill the air.
How to Use Aromatherapy in Massage
Note: Essential oils should never be ingested and should not be used around pregnant women. If you are concerned about possible side effects, consult with a physician before using aromatherapy.