How Aromatherapy May Help Your Well-Being
Aromatherapy seems to be all the rage right now, but does it actually provide benefits?
Aromatherapy has been around for hundreds of years because of its healing effects, mood-boosting properties, and many other health benefits. Of course, with the information overload the internet (and that one good-intentioned friend) throws at us, it can be overwhelming to even know where to start if you’re an aromatherapy novice. So here are the basics:
How to use essential oils
For aromatherapy, you can use essential oils in two ways: topically or aromatically (using an essential oil diffuser). Every diffuser is different, so look at the instructions carefully.
For topical uses, oils can be applied to your head, behind your ears, on your neck, your temples, or even your feet. (Not all oils can be applied topically, so read the label before using. And some essential oils need to be diluted before applying to skin). It all depends on what scent you’re using and what benefits you’re seeking.
Types of scents and their benefits
There is a vast amount of different essential oils used for aromatherapy that have a variety of properties and benefits. Oils can reduce inflammation, help with mental health, and can even help fight the common cold. Here are a few of the most commonly used essential oils and what they are specifically used for:
- Lavender oil is one of the most common scents used in aromatherapy because of its calming effects. It can help alleviate symptoms for those who are suffering from anxiety, stress, and sleep deprivation.
Suggestions for use: Add to a diffuser to help relax or for sleep-promoting benefits, or add a couple drops of oil to bathwater to manage stress.
- Eucalyptus oil is nature’s cold medicine. It can relieve headaches, open up your airways, help with muscle pain, and clear your head—both literally (if you’re congested), and figuratively (if you’re craving some mental clarity).
Suggestions for use: Add to a diffuser to help alleviate symptoms of stuffy nose, asthma, or bronchitis.
- Lemon oil. When life gives you lemons, make lemon oil! This oil can give your mood the boost it needs on difficult Monday mornings. The fresh, citrusy, and joyful scent of lemon sends your brain good vibes.
Suggestions for use: Add to a diffuser or add a small drop to a cloth and inhale to reduce stress and lessen anxiety.
- Peppermint oil. Peppermint isn’t just for freshening your breath. According to research, peppermint is great for waking up your brain, increasing alertness, and boosting concentration. It’s also a great help for relieving muscle pain and headaches.
Suggestions for use: Add to a diffuser to relieve cough and cold symptoms or apply a small amount on skin to ease tension headaches.
When to indulge in aromatherapy
- Truly, aromatherapy is beneficial when you’re feeling overwhelmed or having a particularly stressful day. And you can use essential oils practically anywhere:
- At the office to stay alert or for extra brain power
- Before bedtime to increase your quality of sleep
- At school (before a big test) if you need some peace of mind
- During yoga or meditation—certain oils can help sharpen your focus and enhance the wonderful effects of your practice
- During massage to enhance the calming effect on your body and mind
With the variety of essential oils and the benefits they can bring into your life, consider practicing aromatherapy. Because it just might improve your sense of well-being—all within a matter of minutes. Tell us how aromatherapy benefits you on Facebook—we’d love to hear from you. And while you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living. For information on our medical and dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.