Fact or Fiction: A Beginner’s Guide to Aromatherapy for Actual Health and Mental Wellbeing

Aromatherapy has received a lot of attention, good and bad, with claims of healing physical ailments and improving mental wellness but is there science behind this?

Woman applying essential oil onto the skin, diluted with a carrier oil.
What’s true and what’s a myth? Read more to find out

As a practice that has been around for centuries, there are definitely health benefits, along with benefits for mental wellbeing when you use essential oils correctly and safely.

Find the most accurate information based on research studies today!

What is Aromatherapy

It consists of the use of essential oils for mental and physical wellbeing.

These oils are diluted in water and inhaled or diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the skin.

The practice of aromatherapy has been around for centuries has is used in many modern-day products such as in skin care.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are simply oils extracted from flowers, herbs, plants, and trees.

These extracts are extremely concentrated; at times, it can take many pounds of a plant to create a bottle of oil.

Does Aromatherapy Actually Work?

The science says results look promising for subtle mental and physical benefits.

Certain oils, when absorbed into the skin can have a relaxing effect on the muscles, such as wintergreen oil.

Other oils, when inhales, travel through the system to the brain, where is impacts the chemical competition on the brain favorably, especially in the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain.

What are the Benefits of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy claims that when applied to the skin safely, the properties of the oils are absorbed into the bloodstream to promote health. 

When used with a diffused into the air with water vapor, the oil evaporates and can generate an effect that provides psychological benefits.

Some claim that the oils can reduce certain conditions such as

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety

However, more research needs to be conducted as some studies show improvement, while other studies have only been conducted on mice and need further research.

Below are essential oils with current science-based benefits.

Examples of Effective Essential Oils 

Here are the best essential oils to use for benefits to mental and physical wellbeing!

1. Tea tree oil is antibacterial and contains anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used for minor cuts and scrapes when diluted with a carrier oil.

Many studies have proven it is effective against acne, making it an effective skin treatment.

It can also be sued to get rid of fungus on the skin and nails.

Its anti-inflammatory properties may even reduce psoriasis.

2. Peppermint essential oil is ideal for feelings of alertness.

Studies have found that it may help reduce headaches or migraines when applied to the temples.

It also contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties, helping to soothe the skin.

It may also help reduce nausea, though a more recent study found no effect.

3. Lavender essential oil con tails antibacterial properties, potentially reducing acne.

Lavender oil may also help heal wounds, potentially due to its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.

It is commonly used to promote sleep, reduce anxiety, and stress though there is not sufficient evidence to back this claim.

4. Rosemary essential oil is obtained from the distillation of its flowers and leaves.

It may improve brain function and memory, as some studies have found.

This can be true for individuals with dementia, though more research is needed.

Rosemary oil may also stimulate hair growth, relieve pain, reduce stress, and may contribute to good blood circulation.

There may also be improved mood when inhaled.

5. Frankincense essential oil is used in aromatherapy and offers a wide variety of health benefits, though some myths surround it.

It has anti-inflammatory properties and may help muscles relax. It may also be effective at treating arthritis pain and improving mobility.

Those same anti-inflammation properties make it possible to improve asthma.

Studies on mice have shown that this oil may lessen depression and anxiety, though human research needs to be done.

6. Lemon essential oil is commonly used as an energy booster.

A study found that it may reduce anxiety on people undergoing a stressful event, though more research should be conducted.

It is antibacterial and can be used for cleaning minor wounds when applied with a carrier oil.

It also has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.

How to Use Essential Oils Effectively and Safely

Quality matters, as these are ingredients coming into contact with the body.

Diffuses are only recommended if you know your reaction to an oil and are not affecting other individuals in a household.

For instance, peppermint can cause alertness in adults, but it may irritate children under 3.

It is best to use diluted in a carrier oil, such as olive, jojoba, or coconut, and massaged into the skin

Use an aromatherapy necklace, bracelet, or key chain to absorb the oil and sniff whenever you want.

There are even portable aroma sticks that carrier essential oil to massage or inhale!

A Note of Caution: Allergic Reactions to Oils

If you have highly sensitive skin, it is best to avoid essential oils. In particular, these are the ones that are the most irritating.

  • Chamomile
  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon 
  • Jasmine
  • Oregano
  • Lemongrass 
  • Ylang-ylang Oil

Look for High-Quality Essential Oils

When you buy your essential oils make sure they are 100% pure, buying them from recognized herbalists or companies.

All too often, essential oils are often mixed with chemical substances and preservatives that can be hazardous.

The Takeaway

The current research behind essential oils and scents are promising for relief from anxiety, headaches, and insomnia, though more studies should be conducted.

Some essential oils, like tea tree offer an antibacterial effect, making them ideal in the prevention of acne or infection.

Additional benefits come from the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich composition of some oils.

Find the a fragrance, scent, and method that you like best.

Learn to know and pamper yourself; you are the most important.

Incorporate them in meditation, or when doing breathing exercises for more benefits!

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