Benefits of Aromatherapy

By  Amy Williams, Licensed Massage Therapist at Vitality Unlimited Spa

Aromatherapy, a gift from the ancient Mediterranean world, is both a science and an art. Using extracted oils from the natural world, aromatherapy offers healing properties that seek to harmonize the psychological, the physical and the spiritual well-being.

Gentle yet powerful, aromatherapy can help your body heal from common maladies and boost your immune system. It can also provide calming effects to alleviate stress and irritability and help with sleep.

Incorporating aromatherapy into your life is something that you can begin at home. Explore how different oils make you feel. Soothe your mind with calming Lavender and Chamomile or address health-related imbalances with Tea Tree or Sandalwood. Lavender can improve sleep, while Cinnamon helps reduce irritability. Various scents have their own benefits, allowing you to relax and soothe your mind through your sense of smell.

Want to try an essential oil that soothes the body as well? Essential oils can also be applied to the skin – allowing your body to heal from the inside out.

Many essential oils used in aromatherapy have antiseptic properties which help combat physical ailments such as bacteria and fungi. Oils can also assist with poor digestion, immune system imbalances, inflammation, muscle tension and more.

Depending on the improvements you would like to make and whether they are psychological or physiological, the type of essential oils you use can make a difference. Mixing essential oils can also help with health issues that may result from one another. For instance, poor digestion may be due to anxiety.

Don’t have any imbalances? No worries. Aromatherapy will only improve your lifestyle. Essential oils help give your immune system a boost, which is perfect for cold and flu season. With aromatherapy, your body naturally does the work, making it an easy and relaxing form of therapy.

Reasons to Try Aromatherapy at Home:

1. It can relieve stress.
Aromatherapy is incredibly powerful, and the right scents can help the body and mind relax. It can also lower pain levels and help decrease stress.

Essential oils such as Lavender, Ylang-Ylang and Jasmine are believed to be effective in relieving stress, while Basil and Rosemary are thought to promote mental clarity.

Using oils during an Aromatherapy Massage is a great way to help relieve stress. Applying essential oils along the back of your neck can be beneficial. This can help align your body and refocus your mind.

2. It can help fight fatigue.
While aromatherapy is well known for inducing relaxation, it can also lift your energy levels and help you feel more alert. Citrus and Menthol scents are known to help perk up your spirits.

3. It can help you sleep.
People with insomnia are often encouraged to try aromatherapy because relaxing scents can be part of a wind-down routine to help prepare both your body and mind for a restful night of sleep. Burning a relaxing scent or incorporating essential oils in your evening bath can also lead to relaxation.

For a better night’s sleep, place a couple of drops of Lavender, Clary Sage, or Lemongrass on a tissue. Moving the tissue under your nose will allow you to experience the aroma and its benefits to the fullest. After this exercise, you should feel relaxed, calm and ready for rest.

4. It can reduce anxiety.
As stress and anxiety are commonly linked, aromatherapy can also help reduce feelings of anxiousness. One way you can use essential oils to help anxiety is to incorporate an oil burner or scented candle into your mindfulness practice or meditation.

Focusing on the present moment has been known to help anxiety. An easy way to bring yourself back to the present moment is to focus on your senses. For example, what aromas can you smell.

According to Cancer Research UK, many people with cancer turn to aromatherapy to complement conventional treatment. It seems to make patients feel happier and more capable of coping with all the changes happening. Aromatherapy may also help to reduce pain and anxiety in the short term. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) also suggests that aromatherapy may help treat feelings of agitation in those with dementia because it can support well-being, reduce stress and encourage relaxation.

5. It can ease symptoms of colds and the flu.
When inhaled, menthol and Eucalyptus oils can help clear blocked airways, easing congestion and improving symptoms of the cold and flu. Adding a few drops to a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam can benefit these symptoms.

6. It can help manage pain.
Chronic pain treatment is often multi-pronged and will be managed by a medical team. Aromatherapy can often be used alongside these treatments to help reduce associated anxiety and even help to relax muscles.

Clary Sage is a well-known aroma that helps reduce feelings of pain. This natural scent is best known for its success in relieving menstrual pains.

7. It can help with tension headaches.
Scents such as Peppermint, Clary Sage, and Lavender are known for helping to reduce pain. Aromatherapy massages can be very helpful for those with tension headaches, as it helps remove the tightness in the back and shoulders that contributes to these headaches.

If you are suffering from a headache, try blending a mixture of Lavender, Chamomile and Peppermint essential oils and applying them to your temples.

8. It can boost your mood.
Fresh Citrus scents are best known for their uplifting effect, which can help reduce the symptoms of mild depression. Ideal for those needing an energy boost, Orange and Lemon scents will perk you up.

For all-day benefits, apply essential oils to your wrists or hands. Oils that regulate body temperatures – such as Clove or Ginger to warm, or Mint or Lavender to cool – are best when applied to the underside of the wrist. You can also massage oils between your thumb and index finger. This way you will get the benefits of the scent all day as your hands move around your face.

9. It can help you open your mind.
If you are feeling uninspired, try placing Rose, Frankincense or Sandalwood on the crown of your head. A drop of these essential oils on the crown of your head is thought to provide inspiration and help transform any experience.

Aromatherapy and Massage:

Aromatherapy involves more than just smell; the oils used during aromatherapy are said to have a chemical effect on the body. When aromatherapy is used during a massage, the Massage Therapist rubs an essential oil into the body. This essential oil is added to the massage cream to offer either relaxation, calming, soothing, or stimulating therapeutic effects to optimize your treatment.

The Massage Therapists at Vitality Unlimited Spa are trained in the art and science of aromatherapy and essential oils. Our most popular aromatherapy treatment offered is our Lavender and Tangerine Massage. Lavender is known to induce deep relaxation, help soothe anxiety and promote deep sleep. Tangerine essential oil promotes feelings of happiness and supports a healthy immune system. On the spectrum of self-care, Aromatherapy Massage is a great addition.

For more information call Vitality Unlimited Spa at 314-968-1808 or visit www.VitalityUnlimitedSpa.com.