Aromatherapy makes the use of aroma as a form of treatment. Aroma is the smell of the air and aromatherapy treatment uses various botanical, aka essential, oils to provide a pleasant smelling scent to the air.
Aromatherapy is not meant to cure any health condition, but it may offer health benefits as a complimentary form of treatment or to invigorate your physical, emotional and spiritual life. A few of the reported health benefits from using various aromas are:
- promote relaxation
- cope with stress, nausea
- reduce anxiety, depression
- improve mood, premenstrual syndrome symptoms
- help relieve pain, fatigue, muscle tension, headaches, indigestion
Relying solely on aromatherapy to cure a specific condition, for instance cancer, can lead to serious health consequences.
Aromatherapy treatment involves the use of various scents, like Roman chamomile, geranium, lavender, cedarwood, rose, lemon and peppermint. And each aroma is touted to have different health benefits.
There are different theories about how aromatherapy health benefits work, some of which include:
- placebo effect
- previous positive association with a scent
- olfactory nerves stimulated to influence emotional responses, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration
Generally, the delivery of aromatherapy is via inhalation or applied to the skin. Typically for inhalation, a few essential oil drops are dripped into steaming water, an atomizer or humidifier to diffuse the aroma throughout the air. Other avenues for scent distribution is inhaled directly, added to bath water or massaged into your skin.