The sense of smell is a powerful one. It can bring back memories like they were yesterday. It can excite you, like the scent of fresh coffee when you need it most, or calm you like eucalyptus at your local spa. The practice of aromatherapy harnesses this power to stimulate responses from the body triggered by scents.
When practicing aromatherapy, small molecules are released into the air that you breathe in, according to Burke Williams Spa. These spark nerves high in the nose that connect directly to the brain, sending a signal that creates a physical reaction.
Keep reading to discover the top reasons why you should try aromatherapy— whether it be in the morning, during your nighttime routine, or even at work.
1. Sleep Better
One of the most popular uses for essential oils and aromatherapy is to unwind. Just like your favorite candle— but safer and potentially more effective— the right scents can help you de-stress and prep for bed. Lavender essential oil has been studied time and time again as one of the top scents for improving sleep. Chamomile is another popular choice, just like the tea, to soothe and relax.
2. Stay Focused
Diffusing essential oils can help relieve mental overload and nerves, keeping you focused when you need to get stuff done! Patchouli helps calm the nervous system, and Lemon promotes alertness. If you’ve been using essential oils at night for sleep aid, improved quality of sleep will also roll over into concentrating better throughout the day.
3. Support Your Immune System
Many essential oils also have antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, which can help clear the air of airborne pathogens when diffused. Frankinsense, lemon, and eucalyptus help keep your immune system in check to fend off siickness. When diffusers release water vapor and oils into your environment, your sinuses stay moist which also helps keep microbes out. If you’re feeling under the weather, eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils can help open the sinuses and un-stuff your nose.
4. Boost Energy
Citrus oils are well known for increasing energy as well as improving a bad mood. Diffusing several drops of Orange essential oil can help you refresh during that 3-o’clock stretch of the day. This is also a great way to start your morning motivated. Cinnamon oil is also said to increase the flow of blood to the brain, which gets the juices flowing when you’re feeling sluggish.
5. Pain Relief
According to wellness specialist Brenda Powell, MD, pain relief is possible through aromatherapy within 30 minutes of diffusing— and the effect could last hours! Lemongrass, Lavender, Ginger and Cinnamon can all help ease pain when their chemical properties are absorbed through the tissues in your nose and lungs. She clarifies that it works well as a supplement to other pain treatments, so don’t go cold turkey off the Advil quite yet.
Two of my favorite ways to practice aromatherapy are by adding a few drops to my bath (which can also help nourish my skin!) or in my GuruNanda Honeycomb Diffuser. It has a continuous mode that will diffuse oils for about three hours, or an intermittent mode to boost the room throughout the day. You can also use the colorful light mode for a bit of ambiance. I’ve been running it in our new home nonstop to give our space a calm vibe among the chaos of moving.
Essential oils are also incredibly popular in Beauty DIY projects… like these DIY lotion bars I created a few months ago! However you like to enjoy them, essential oils and aromatherapy are a great addition to your daily routine for physical and mental well-being.