Have you ever asked the question, is aromatherapy really worth it? Essential oils have taken center stage in recent times, and you probably wonder if they are worth the hype. In all honesty, aromatherapy is regarded as one of the best trends in medical science in the past decade – and for obvious reasons. But before I go on a roll singing the praises of aromatherapy, do you know what it is?
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses plant extract (which are referred to as essential oils) to support health and well-being. Of course, some of the benefits of aromatherapy may have been exaggerated for the sake of marketing and advertising. But I have created an exhaustive info pack to convince you on the effectiveness of aromatherapy.
Giving A Response to ‘Is Aromatherapy Really Worth It?’
Studies are still ongoing on the usefulness of aromatherapy, especially in humans. Albeit, there are approved publications about some of its benefits.
Aromatherapy employs the use of essential oils, which technically refers to distilled plant extracts. These concentrated oils are applied to the body through massage, bath salts, and lotions. Aromatherapy is known to make effects on the body by affecting the limbic system (specifically the amygdala) of the nervous system – which is the system responsible for emotional control.
Researchers from John Hopkins hospital found some essential oils to show better antibacterial properties as compared to conventional antibiotics. Essential oils have also received quite a buzz in the beauty and cosmetics industry. It is common to find essential oils in salons and spas and even in health food stores.
But just before you jump on the aromatherapy ride, you must know all there is.
Common Types of Essential Oils Used for Aromatherapy
There are associated health benefit claims to about 90 essential oils – most of which are used in aromatherapy. The common ones are rose oil for improved mood and anxiety, peppermint as a digestive aid, sandalwood for calmness, and heightened focus. Chamomile for relaxation, jasmine for depression and sexual libido, lemon for headaches. Lavender to relieve stress, tea tree to boost immunity, bergamot for skin conditions.
Mostly, these oils cover a wide range of conditions and can come in handy on different occasions.
Here go the health benefits that answers your question…
Anxiety and stress
Lots of people are stressed and experienced anxiety. The world works like a pressure cooker and reaches the points of exhaustion for everyday life. 43% of Americans, by estimation, use alternative medicine in alleviating the symptoms of stress and anxiety – everyone can do with a little relief.
According to research, the fragrant smells from essential oils have shown positive results in treating stress and anxiety. Although a couple of these studies have been considered inconclusive, adequate findings have established the beneficial effects of essential oils, especially during a massage.
Headaches and Migraines
A mixture of ethanol and either peppermint or lavender oil has been known to relieve pain from headaches since the ’90s. Traditional Persian medicine advises a mix of chamomile and sesame oil in treating migraines.
Although scientists from Harvard University could not come to a definite conclusion as to why this is so, they jointly agree that it works. While they are out there finding the nitty-gritty details about its mechanism of action, feel free to use some oil on your temple when your head throbs.
Sleep and Insomnia
Women who have just given birth showed tremendous positive results with sleeping after inhaling the fragrance from lavender oil. Further studies have shown that patients suffering from heart disease who also have difficulty sleeping can benefit from this essential oil.
Vanilla, a combination of rose and geranium, jasmine, sandalwood, and citrus, is also used in treating sleep and insomnia. Usually, they are used as bath oils, or used in an atomizer and diffused through the bedroom.
The idea of sleeping off to sweet fragrance sounds terrific, isn’t it?
Some studies have shown bedazzling results of aromatherapy on fighting inflammatory conditions. People who have colitis, for example, enjoyed the relief of symptoms from using a combination of thyme and oregano oils.
The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy also listed Roman chamomile, ginger, patchouli, and helichrysum oils as having effects on reducing the expression of COX-2 enzymes (which is the enzyme responsible for inflammatory reactions) by at least 25%.
These oils are either used directly in massaging the affected area or, on rare occasions, gargled (especially for gum inflammation like gingivitis).
Antimicrobial and Antibiotic Properties
In recent time, there has been a rise of drug-resistant bacteria which has generated a renewed need for the provision of other compounds that have viable antibacterial properties. Studies have concluded that tea tree and peppermint oils show some positive results in the war against bacteria.
Although, the studies show that essential oils have a better effect on gram-positive bacteria as compared to gram-negative bacteria. Eucalyptus oil has also demonstrated positive results in treating colds and flu, while blue yarrow oil works best in preventing pneumonia and bronchitis.
Essential oils used in aromatherapy can also be used in freshening up rooms and laundry. Due to the concentrated nature of the oils, there is an increased chance of them lasting longer than other air fresheners and perfumes. Furthermore, some essential oils can be used instead of DEET (which can be nasty on the skin) as a mosquito repellant. Citronella, when mixed with vanillin, keeps those pesky little monsters away.
Choosing the right product, is aromatherapy really worth it?
Most of the drawbacks of aromatherapy is due to the numerous products in the market. To choose the right essential oils for use, keep the following tips in mind:
- Check for oils that contain pure plant extracts without additives or synthetic oils.
- Choose quality oils that were manufactured through the distillation process or cold pressing.
- Buy essential oils from reputable brands. You are on the safe side sticking with known and recognized brands.
If you ever get asked the question, is aromatherapy really worth it? I hope by now you have enough information to give a confident reply. Essential oils are generally considered safe, but don’t eat them! Enjoy the fragrance and health benefits. Cheers!