Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. It’s thought that the history of aromatherapy goes back thousands of years and many ancient civilisations used essential oils for medicinal purposes. These days, studies are showing that essential oils can have many benefits for your health so they were definitely onto a great thing!
Why Essential Oils Can Be So Powerful
Aromatherapy brings your body’s limbic system into play. This means that the scent of essential oils can have direct effects on your emotions. Just the mere smell of a particular essential oil can stimulate this part of your brain and change how you feel.
If you’ve ever felt calmer after smelling lavender or happier after getting a whiff of a citrus scent, you’ve experienced this for yourself - even if you didn’t realise what was happening! Some of the ways that essential oils can boost your wellbeing include:
Essential Oils for Relaxing
Lavender is one of the most well-known essential oils for relaxation. Diffusing it into the atmosphere can give you a quick boost of calm, especially before bedtime if you struggle to sleep. Using it as a pillow spray or adding a few drops to a warm bath in the evening can also help with sleep issues.
You may already be very familiar with chamomile as a herbal tea but it’s also a highly effective essential oil for calming and soothing.
Bergamot and rose are also great choices for grounding yourself and reducing anxiety.
Ylang ylang is known for reducing blood pressure and slowing down your heart rate.
When you feel anxious, reaching for this oil can instantly calm you down and activate the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce the physical effects of stress and anxiety.
Essential Oils to Improve Your Mood
Some of the essential oils that have calming qualities can also boost your mood. Bergamot, sweet orange oil, and chamomile are great examples of this.
Peppermint and lemon are also very energising scents.
Essential Oils to Reduce Pain
As a complementary therapy, there is some evidence that aromatherapy can work alongside other treatments to manage some types of chronic pain.
Some essential oils have analgesic and antispasmodic qualities, which can help with pain management. A few examples of this include lavender, peppermint, marjoram, clary sage, geranium and lemongrass.
Studies have suggested that essential oils can improve specific pain-related scenarios:
Lavender has mild sedative effects and can change your perception of pain
Peppermint can be effective in relieving headaches
Marjoram can reduce lower back pain and arthritis
Geranium can reduce neuropathic pain
Lemongrass can relieve muscle pain
How To Use Essential Oils
You can use essential oils in many ways, and here are some of the most common ways to get the therapeutic benefits.
Diffusing essential oils is one of the easiest ways to reap the benefits. There are different types of diffusers on the market including ultrasonic, evaporating, and nebulising diffusers. They work by spreading the aroma of your essential oils through the air so you can inhale the scent and get the benefits.
Essential oils can be absorbed through the skin. If you use them in this way, make sure you dilute them beforehand.
Many essential oils are too strong to be used without being mixed with a carrier oil so always dilute them before applying them to your skin. Do a small patch test first with both carrier oils and essential oils before using them more widely, just in case you get an adverse reaction.
Carrier oils can include sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and rosehip oil.
Adding to a warm bath
A few drops of essential oil mixed with a carrier oil in your bath creates a simple aromatherapy bath blend. Adding essential oils directly to the bath without a carrier oil can lead to them sitting on top of the water and irritating your skin.
Inhaling the scent
One of the simplest ways to use essential oils is to put a few drops on a tissue and inhale the scent.
Adding to personal care products
Some essential oils can be added to personal care products such as moisturiser or body butters to add therapeutic benefits. Lots of the skincare products that we feature in our collections are infused with essential oils and they’re always a big hit with our customers.
Can Everyone Use Essential Oils?
If you have certain health conditions, you may have to be careful about the essential oils you use. This can include epilepsy, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, some types of cancer, and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
If you’re pregnant, it’s also worth being cautious about the essential oils you use.
Essential oils have the potential to affect certain medications so it’s definitely worth checking that they won’t interact with any medication you may be taking.
If you’re not sure which oils might be appropriate for you, a qualified aromatherapist can help you to choose the best ones for you, or visit Neals Yard Remedies where you can create your perfect aromatherapy moment with 100% organic essential oils.
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