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Aromatherapy: Soothing Science

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by Elysiann Bishop

041118b-01Aromatherapy has been practiced in various forms for thousands of years, although the modern term didn’t appear until the 1900s. The ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Indians held essential oils in high esteem, and some recent research is showing that they may have been on to something.

First, let’s define aromatherapy – the use of fragrance to enhance health and promote wellbeing. The scent generally comes from essential oils or other concentrated plant extracts. Aromatherapy is a popular practice at spas, anddevotees use it for everything from promoting restful sleep or enhancing focus to improving mood.

While the verdict is still out on the efficacy of aromatherapy in physiological cures, the science that backs it up as a mood enhancer is promising. One study from the Mie University School of Medicine found that patients who needed antidepressants required a lower dose when using aromatherapy. Another study from the University of Vienna showed that patients experienced less anxiety when orange oil was used in dental clinics, while one from the University of Ohio indicated that lemon oil improves mood.

How does aromatherapy work to boost mood? When we inhale a particular aroma, the scent is processed through the olfactory system, which is interconnected with the limbic system, where memories and emotions are stored. It is thought that our limbic system provides an emotional response to aromatherapy – hence the ability of essential oils to enhance wellbeing and help manage emotions.

Essential oils have become very popular, and the choices are plentiful. If you’re in the market, make sure you do your homework and find products of high purity and quality. Some of the most popular aromatherapies for mood include peppermint (mood, focus, and energy);

jasmine (calming, relaxing); cinnamon (soothing); ylang ylang (uplifting, eases anxiety); lemon (clarity, energy); orange (eases anxiety and stress); and rose (post-partum boost). Try these solo or blended in a diffuser with water, or dilute in oil and dot on pulse points – test first for sensitivity – and create a personalized, mood-boosting aromatherapy experience*.


*Promptly seek professional medical treatment if a serious mental health condition is suspected.

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