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Aroma Therapy: The science of essential oils
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Aroma Therapy: The science of essential oils

Smell, one of your most potent senses, has the potential to significantly elevate your mood
Aromatherapy
Representational image | Shutterstock

The famous idiom ‘stop and smell the roses’ dwells on the rudimental sentiment of taking time out of one’s busy schedule and relaxing while enjoying the moment. Interestingly, the same phrase holds true in the realm of healing and wellbeing. Happiest Health dives deep into the world of aroma, essential oils and its benefits. 

Jagdish Soni a tradesman from Varanasi was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2010. Gradually with his constantly worsening condition, he grew insomniac. Bringing aroma therapy into play, did wonders for him, he says.  

“I used lavender and peppermint essential oil alternatively before bed every night. Using them through a diffuser not only helped me with better sleep but also wake up feeling refreshed. Something to do with the uplifting aroma,” he says. For long, aromatherapists have relied on the therapeutic power of essential oils and aromas to help people with various issues including anxiety and insomnia.

Earlier, his condition pushed him to become addicted to tranquilisers as he needed 2 potent sleeping pills before bed every night. “Aromatherapy has helped me get rid of these pills in the long run. Besides this, it has also helped me to manage stress which further contributed to a faster recovery from my worsening neurological condition.” 

However, it must be understood that essential oils are complemented by medical treatments and can never be taken as a replacement. A wide sphere of analysts still believes that there are no significant studies that show aroma therapy as a reliable cure for any disease, though people who underwent aroma therapy alongside medication self-report that it contributed to their faster recovery.     

The versatile benefits of essential oils 

Essential oils’ versatile characteristics of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antivirus nature with immune boosting properties and hormonal, granular, emotional, circulatory, and calming effects on memory are well documented by scientists. A newly conducted study by the department of anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburg shows that aroma therapy can reduce the use of post-surgical opioids by almost 50 percent. It has also shown noteworthy results in controlling anxiety in patients.  

Here are 5 aromatherapist-approved essential oils for anxiety and mood 

Lavender oil 

Holly Brandenberger, a registered nurse and certified aromatherapist living outside of Seattle, shares that lavender has a unique ability to calm and lessen inflammation and also aids in easing allergy symptoms. “Its versatile nature allows you to use it for various purposes,” says Brandenberger. Additionally, lavender has been shown in studies to reduce stress, anxiety, and headaches and improve the quality of sleep.  

The versatility of lavender oil even extends to being an antiseptic, it is believed by many medical experts that before the discovery of antiseptics lavender oil was used as an antiseptic in hospitals. 

Peppermint oil 

Menthol is one of the key chemical elements of peppermint oil. When applied to the skin, menthol has a somatosensory effect that combined with its cooling effect, functions as a natural analgesic.  

When inhaled, peppermint can be beneficial for easing tension as well as give calming relief for various allergies.  

It is an effective treatment for tension-type headaches, applying 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution to the forehead and temples can greatly lessen the intensity of the pain, according to randomized, double-blind, controlled research. 

Bradenberger adds a pro-tip: “Whenever using peppermint essential oil on skin make sure to dilute it.” 

Chamomile oil 

Apart from better sleep and calming benefits, it is packed with potent anti-inflammatory benefits. According to Bradenberger, it can help lessen skin redness, irritation, and inflammation. Additionally, chamomile’s soothing properties are great in aiding headaches caused by tension/ stress. 

Lime oil 

The main benefit of lime essential oils is their capacity to lessen tension, anxiety, and mental tiredness. Lime oil can be used in a diffuser. Even inhaling it directly helps with brain fog, mental tiredness, and sense stimulation especially when working or studying.

Try the orange and lavender oil mix

A potent concoction helps ease anxiety and flustered emotions. Bengaluru-based Neetha Bhoopalam who is a cosmetic consultant and an aromatherapist shares, “A blend of orange and lavender essential oil can show immediate calming effects on an individual especially teenagers who are having a tough time handling their puberty. The calming effects of lavender and the refreshing scent of orange both are very helpful in relaxing disrupted mind and emotions.” 

Frankincense  

Known as the king of essential oils, Frankincense is known to be mood-lifting, sleep enhancing and tackling inflammation can all. According to a study analysing its therapeutic benefits, found that it may help with asthma and help avoid gum diseases. 

Frankincense oil is utilised in skin treatments and has an earthy, spicy perfume that is suitable for aromatherapy. Before using frankincense oil on your skin, make sure you dilute it. 

A few ways to use essential oils: 

  • Use an essential oil diffuser or a humidifier  
  • Essential-oil infused toiletries and cosmetics are a quick way to lift your mood 
  • Use on the skin (diluted) 
  • Create a room spray, then mist the air with it 
  • Use in a recipe for massage oil, salve, lotion, or balm 
  • Either directly sniffing them after spraying or dabbing a few drops on a handkerchief 

A cautionary note 

Bhopalan suggests that users need to check for a therapeutic grade before use. “Only then the most therapeutic potency can be utilised. 

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