Aromatherapy, Essential Oils Promote Health Benefits


illustration by Fran Delacey

One type of aromatherapy is incense, which comes in many different scents.

Lola Simmons, staff writer

World-renowned scientist and conservationist Rachel Carson once said “For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that we use it so little.” Our sense of smell is a powerful thing, and we underestimate the influence that certain aromas can have on our perception of the things around us. By controlling the aromas around us, we can potentially increase productivity and our happiness. Aromatherapy is a process of using plant oil extracts or “essential oils” to promote physical and mental well-being.
Aromatherapy comes in many forms. The most common forms of aromatherapy are topical application and inhalation.
The inhalation method is one of the safest methods to gain the benefits from essential oils. One of the most common ways to inhale these oils is by using a diffuser. A diffuser is a device that combines water and essential oils and releases mist into the air. This mist travels through the air inside a room and you breathe it in without even realizing it. Inhalation of essential oils can be beneficial to you if you are having respiratory problems such as allergies or asthma. Oils such as rosemary, peppermint, and lavender promote relaxation and can be beneficial if you are feeling stressed out or if you are studying and doing homework.
For a more direct method of obtaining benefits of aromatherapy, oils can be applied directly to the skin with topical application. Unlike the inhalation method, topical application of oils does not have to be diluted. For this method, you simply apply a few drops of your favorite oil to your temples, neck, or abdomen and allow the oil to soak into your skin. In addition to boosting your respiratory and immune systems, this method has been shown to eliminate minor discomforts, aid digestion, and relieve menstrual cramps.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to the use of aromatherapy and essential oils. While inhaling and coming in contact with oils is completely safe, it is unknown whether the consumption of essential oil is safe. When using oils on your skin, do not soak your skin in the oil. Use two to three drops on your skin and if you begin to feel a burning, immediately wash away the oil with soap and water. When used safely, there are many benefits that can be gained from aromatherapy and essential oils. By using oils, you can leave your house smelling good and feeling refreshed.