Aromatherapy is beneficial to many people; the main reasons being its ability to reduce the perception of stress, decrease levels of cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) and heighten contentment. There are many different methods of aromatherapy, with Lavender aromatherapy being one of the more popular forms – it has been proved to reduce crying in infants and to promote sleep. However, different aromatherapy scents have different effects on different people.
The rise of aromatherapy
In recent years, aromatherapy has gained a lot of attention. Aromatherapy products take on many forms, including bath scents, candles, essential oils and other yields. All are readily available and have been publicized as being effective when it comes to relieving stress, soothing babies, and promoting healthy living. Many of today’s aromatherapy products are somewhat exotic, whilst others can be purchased off the shelves of supermarket aisles.
There isn’t too much existing research surrounding aromatherapy, however, more studies are being conducted on a daily basis. The research that has been carried out to day suggests that aromatherapy has many benefits though. Some of the findings include:
- Initial research shows that aromatherapy can adjust brain waves and behaviour.
- Lavender aromatherapy has been shown to reduce the amount that babies tend to cry and to encourage sleep, interestingly among both infants and adults.
- Aromatherapy can reduce the feeling of stress, increase the feeling of happiness, and lower stress hormones.
- Aromatherapy massage depresses the effects of depression and anxiety – two factors that can cause stress.
- Massage with aromatherapy provides relief from fatigue, particularly mental fatigue.
Aromatherapy as a stress relief tool
While aromatherapy isn’t classed as a magic ‘cure-all’, it does appear to have a number of proven beneficial effects when it comes to lowering levels of stress. It’s also a popular method for those who prefer natural stress relievers and for those looking for a stress reliever with few known side effects, if any at all. It can be used inertly (you can fill a room with scent while you conduct other activities, releasing stress in the process), or you can combine it with other stress relievers, such as meditation or massage to help reduce stress. It is also a highly convenient option, given how easy aromatherapy products are to obtain.
How to use aromatherapy for stress relief
Aromatherapy can be suitable to those with busy lifestyles and also for those looking for a quick fix. There are a number of stress relieving aromatherapy options, some of which include:
Candles are a popular option when it comes to aromatherapy. Lighting a candle is an easy yet effective way to add fragrance to a room and create ambience. The candles are a little like incense, and can be used to create a comforting atmosphere, or as a backdrop to meditation. They are often preferred to incense as they don’t give off as much smoke. When buying candles for aromatherapy, it is important to purchase high quality variants that give off an intense scent.
Aromatherapy diffusers use essential oils and allow them to evaporate. This can be powered by a battery or by a candle. Diffusers are a great option if you wish to spread fragrance quickly and effectively. The battery-run ones are better for those with hectic schedules as they’re often safer than candles, as there is no open flame to worry about.
Aromatherapy body products are a good option for those on the move as their scent will stick with you. For a strong scent, you can rub aromatherapy lotion all over your skin, or alternatively, dab a few drops of essential oils that are skin-safe on your pulse points.
Aromatherapy, when teamed with massage, is said to offer a number of great benefits. You can either get a partner to massage you with special oils, or visit a professional at a spa. In the case of the later, they will know exactly how to apply aromatherapy products for maximum benefit.
Aromatherapy can increase the relaxation benefits of meditation. All it takes is five minutes for meditation to have a beneficial effect. This is especially recommended after a particularly hard day at work as it gives the body an opportunity to recover.
Different scents available
There are a number of different fragrances used in aromatherapy, many of which are suited to different methods and different people. Some of the more popular scent options include:
Lavender is connected to feelings of happiness, improved reasoning, and mood. It is also said to act as a mild sedative and boasts a number of calming effects. It is often used to indorse sleep in infants and deep sleep in both men and women.
If you have a stressful job and have trouble sleeping, placing a lavender sachet close to your bed or a scented candle can do wonders when it comes to lowering stress levels.
Rosemary is related to feelings of serenity. Research suggests it has positive effects on both performance and mood. It has also been proven to lower cortisol levels. It is, therefore, a good option for those who wish to de-stress throughout the day.
Peppermint aromatherapy promotes both memory and levels of alertness. It is said to be a good pick-me-up for extremely tired individuals, those who are feeling overworked and also stressed students.
Ylang-ylang has been found to encourage calmness and reduce stress, making it a good option for unwinding and de-stressing at the end of a lengthy day.
Some research suggests that lemon oil possesses anti-depressant-type qualities. It is a great option for stress relief and it’s said to be a mood booster. If you have a busy day and need a pick me up, this could be the option for you. It’s also why many people opt to drink lemon water.
As you can see there are a range of aromatherapy methods and fragrances out there, and not every option will work for any individual. It’s therefore important to try out the many different types and to see which ones suit you and your lifestyle.