What Is Aromatherapy?
If you need improvement in health problems from anxiety to poor sleep, you may want to consider aromatherapy. In this kind of treatment, you use extracts from plants called essential oils, by either breathing them through your nose or putting them on your skin. Some people put the oils on their skin when they get a massage or take a bath.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are made from flower, herb, and tree parts, like bark, roots, peels, and petals. The cells that give a plant its fragrant smell are its “essence.” When an essence is extracted from a plant, it becomes an essential oil.
Lemon, chamomile, lavender, cedarwood, and bergamot are a few of the essential oils used regularly in aromatherapy.
How Aromatherapy Works
Experts think aromatherapy activates areas in your nose called smell receptors, which send messages through your nervous system to your brain.
The oils may activate certain areas of your brain, like your limbic system, which plays a role in your emotions. They could also have an impact on your hypothalamus, which may respond to the oil by creating feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin.
What Is Aromatherapy Used For?
You shouldn’t use aromatherapy instead of your regular medical treatment. But for some conditions, research shows that aromatherapy can have health benefits. It may:
Ease stress, anxiety, and depression
Boost feelings of relaxation
Help improve quality of life for people with long-term health problems like dementia
Ease certain types of pain, including pain from kidney stones and osteoarthritis of the knee
Ease some of the side effects of cancer treatment, like nausea and pain