Wake Up and Smell the Roses: Getting a Scents of Aromatherapy
Throughout our blog posts, we seemed to have covered a few of our five senses (taste, sight, touch, smell and sound). We’ve talked about the positive benefits of touch in our blog posts on Oxytocin and Massage Therapy, and we’ve talked about the effects of music, as well as quiet time/silence on stress relief. Another important sense that we haven’t talked about as of yet is our sense of smell. Our sense of smell is one of the oldest senses we have, and plays an important social and emotional role in our lives, such has helping us to determine potential dangers, viable food, and even potential mating partners (Sarafoleanu, Mella, Georgescu, and Perederco, 2009). Knowing this about the power of smell, it may not surprise you to hear that one form of stress relief that can be utilized involves our sense of smell – have you guessed it yet? Aromatherapy! Let’s take a further look at Aromatherapy.
A Scientific Look at Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a form of therapy where essential oils, which have been extracted from fresh plants, are used in a therapeutic way (Ayza, 2005). It’s important to note that these oils are not mixed with other fragrances, and therefore are pure essential oils (Ayza, 2005). You may have heard of (or even used) essential oils that would typically be used in Aromatherapy, such as Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus or Peppermint oil. Many researchers have explored the therapeutic effects that Aromatherapy can have on an individual and have discovered stress-relieving properties. For example, Jin Hee Hwang had subjects in a treatment group inhale blended oils of Lavender, Ylangylang, and Bergamot once a day for four weeks, or inhale a placebo once a day for four weeks. Hee Hwang also measured cortisol levels and blood pressure twice per week, while also having participants rate their levels of stress/ anxiety twice per week. The results of the study showed significant differences in all domains for the treatment group versus the placebo group. Participants in the treatment group that were exposed to essential oils through Aromatherapy had lower blood pressure, lower levels of cortisol, and rated themselves lower for psychological stress and anxiety. This is just one of many studies that highlights the stress-relieving qualities that Aromatherapy can have.
Adding Aromatherapy to Your Life
Aromatherapy can be a very pleasant and easy way of incorporating stress-relieving practices into your everyday life. If you’re interested in adding this to your routine, we’ve put together some tips for you below:
Figure out what you like! – There are many essential oils that can be utilized for aromatherapy and some of them may appeal to you, while others may not! Take some time to explore essential oils to learn which ones you enjoy and may want to add to your routine.
Learn more about the healing properties – Each essential oil that you use for Aromatherapy may have a different healing function. Because the oils are so different from each other, they all have different properties and areas of focus. Start by doing some research on which oils may be good for which ailments to figure out which would be the best ones for you to utilize.
Try it out! – Once you’ve decided which scents you enjoy, and which ones will work best for your individual needs, why not try it out? Start by incorporating the scents in your daily routine and see if this is something that you find beneficial. Not sure where to start? Why not try using oils while practicing yoga, mindfulness or during your quiet time? One great thing about aromatherapy is that you can use it as you please and when you please!
If interested, seek out the help of a professional Aromatherapist – If you’re interested in taking things one step further, and if you feel you could benefit from connecting with a professional in Aromatherapy, you can always connect with a certified Aromatherapist to help. The Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists provides an online directory of certified Aromatherapists within your area and highlights each therapist’s specialty (Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists, 2018). If you’re interested in taking Aromatherapy to the next level, this step might be for you!
We hope this blog post has been helpful in giving you a scents of Aromatherapy, and how you may want to utilize this in your everyday routine. In the wise words of Hippocrates - “healing begins with an aromatic bath and daily massage” – Hippocrates.
Live with ease,
Carolyn and Steph
Ayza, C. D. (2005). What is aromatherapy. Revista de Enfermeria. 28, (5), 55-8, 61-4.
Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists: http://www.cfacanada.com/
Hee Hwang, J. (2006). The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress response in clients with essential hypertension. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing. 36 (7), 1123-1134.
Sarafoleanu, C., Mella, C., Georgescu, M., Perederco, C. (2009). The importance of the olfactory sense in the human behavior and evolution. The Journal of Medicine and Life. 2, (2), 196-198.