Aromatherapy is basically a very old form of treatment. It involves the use of fragrance for the treatment of physical symptoms, but also for mood and relaxation. This kind of treatment is not a cure for any particular ailment of disease but it does indeed assist in bringing a balance to one’s being.
The fragrances used in aromatherapy are essential oils. Essentials oils are derived from plants, shrubs herbs, flowers and fruits. The oils used in aromatherapy are very concentrated and much more powerful that the original plants from which they are derived. The oils have been shown to be very therapeutic by inhalation or massaging into the body. Inhalation of the essential oils can be carried out by sniffing it on a tissue or in a jar, but usually done by being present in a candle, a spray form, or in diffusers set in a room. The reeds in the diffuser holding the oils allow the scent to fill a room or area.
Essential oils and aromatherapy work by affecting the olfactory senses in the brain. These are the parts of the brain responsible for smell. Smell is a very strong and memory jolting sense. I am sure more people remember both good and bad events by the scent that brings them to it, rather than sights or sound. For example, the smell of Crayola crayons or your grandmother’s cooking. Therefore, this brain-smell link is very emotionally grounded. It is also a state of mind we subconsciously wish to be in- this calming sense of freedom of responsibility, albeit somewhat briefly. But like a good rest, it can be very restoring.
So, with that thought in mind, aromatherapy can help relieve anxiety and stress by simply breathing in a fragrance or aroma that has been shown or proven to evoke calming feelings. Many soap and candle manufacturers have invested much money in just such a fact as that. Look at the scented laundry products, soaps and candles that claim to have “calming” scents, such as lavender. Bet that you can find dozens of home products at your local supermarkets that make that “calming” or “relaxing” claim. Why would they invest so much money and research to develop aroma filled products? Because it’s absolutely true; certain aromas have calming and relaxing effects. Why not take full advantage of it? The basis for making these products as well as other products you can buy for room scents are made from essential oils, the building block of aromatherapy.
Essential oils that can relax you not only include lavender, but also sage, of which there are a couple of types, chamomile and ylang ylang.
Aroma therapy essential oils can be purchased at retail stores or online. They are very concentrated and can be costly, but they have a very long shelf life and can remain pungent for many years. However, it would be much simpler, and less expensive to simply purchase candles, a room spray, or a reed diffuser containing one or more of the calming oils. Many people use lavender in the bedroom to help induce sleep and doctors may use one of the calming essential oils in their waiting rooms, cheerfully and obtrusively, in a diffuser or room scent enhancer of some type.
One of the best things about aromatherapy for anxiety is no side effects! None whatsoever, so there is absolutely nothing to lose by trying to use scent for reducing stress.