The benefits of aromatherapy, and why it’s right for you

The benefits of aromatherapy are many and varied. They include physical, mental and emotional improvements.

But what is aromatherapy, how does it work and why should you use it?

Aromatherapy involves using essential oils made from the leaves, fruit, stems, bark and roots of plants. These are inhaled or rubbed into the skin where they have an effect on the brain and the way you feel.

Aromatherapy, the healing power of plant oils, has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions. And not just in the UK, all around the world.

How does aromatherapy work?

The ‘aroma’ in aromatherapy is the key to how the healing properties in essential oils are released in aromatherapy treatments.

Each essential oil has its own unique characteristics. These oils are used alone or as part of a bespoke aromatherapy blend and are inhaled or applied to the skin. When you breath the scent in, messages are sent to key parts of your brain, releasing chemicals that help to heal mind, body and soul.

How does aromatherapy affect the body?

Aromatherapy oil and blends can be used to improve your:

  • Nervous system
  • Circulatory system
  • Immune system
  • Respiratory system
  • Digestive system
  • Urinary system
  • Muscular and skeletal system
  • Skin

and as an anti-viral. Find out more about bespoke aromatherapy, and some popular everyday essential oil blends in my Therapeutic Index.

What does aromatherapy do for the brain?

When you inhale the essential oils used in aromatherapy, your olfactory system (the parts of your body used in smell) is stimulated. This causes your brain to release chemicals including serotonin, associated with happiness and dopamine, which helps you feel good. The result is an improved mood and feelings of satisfaction. As well as physical benefits, aromatherapy also helps with mental health, mood and feelings of wellbeing.

What are some of the benefits of aromatherapy?

A better night’s sleep and relief from insomnia

A blend including basil, lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang essential oils will help you to get a better night’s sleep.

Reduced stress, anxiety, and irritability

Bergamot and sweet orange are used in essential oil blends to improve your mood, making you feel calmer and more centred.

Relief from headaches and migraines

A mix of oils with an immediate scent of lemon eucalyptus followed by camomile, lavender, marjoram and peppermint is used to treat headaches and nasty migraines.

Women’s health: better periods, pregnancy and menopause

Whether you experience irregular or painful periods or need some help with PMT, aromatherapy can help. Some oils are not suitable to use when you are pregnant, but clary sage, for example, can help support contractions during labour, and a blend of mandarin, lavender and frankincense can be used on the skin during pregnancy to prevent stretchmarks. When it comes to the menopause and the symptoms that accompany it, I recommend a blend of lemon, sweet orange, clary sage, camomile, lavender, geranium, rose, sandalwood and jasmine.

Reducing pain and nausea from chemotherapy

The drugs used in chemotherapy can activate what is known as the ‘vomiting centre’ of the brain as warning signals of a foreign substance are set off in your brain and digestive system. Peppermint oil can be used to help reduce feelings of nausea. Cancer Research UK recommends consulting a qualified aromatherapist before using any oils at home.

Healthier skin

From acne to psoriasis, dry skin and eczema to sunburn or warts – there is an essential oil blend for that. Essential oils contain soothing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties making them perfect for all sorts of skin conditions. Bergamot, lavender and sandalwood are used for psoriasis. Tea tree soothes and heals mouth ulcers and fungal infections. Oil extracted from cypress rosemary is used to treat cellulite, dandruff and broken capillaries.

Reducing asthma symptoms and improved breathing

To treat coughs, colds and asthma, oils including basil, eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary have been proven effective as an alternative treatment to clear and strengthen sinuses, throat, airways, or lungs.

Improving circulation and helping relieve the pain and swelling of varicose veins

Essential oils including lemon and lemongrass can be used to treat circulatory conditions like high blood pressure and varicose veins. Using a few drops of aromatherapy oil to a carrier oil for an aromatherapy massage is a great way to absorb the oils and boost your mood and your circulation.

Alleviating digestive problems and bladder and urine infections

When your digestive system is sluggish, so are you. Bloating, diarrhoea, indigestion and constipation can all be treated using aromatherapy. Ginger is central to many digestive health blends. Ginger root has long been known to help speed up food passing through your system, and healing the digestive tract. Essential oils can be used as an alternative treatment for cystitis and other urinary tract infections (UTIs). Use a bespoke blend of oils in a diffusor or apply to the skin in a hot compress at the first sign of an infection starting.

If these are things you are looking for in your own life, please get in touch. With my bespoke blending service and the option of an online consultation, I can help you achieve what you are looking for, wherever you live in the UK.

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