Take a deep breath into a calmer state of being: aromatherapy is a fantastic and readily-available complementary therapy for a variety of common ailments.
It turns out that the phrase “stop to smell the roses” may have a deeper message than simply to slow down and appreciate the present moment - the actual aromas of certain plants (or more accurately, their essential oils) have potent therapeutic effects that help to promote a more calm and balanced life.
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing modality that uses natural plant extracts (also known as essential oils) to promote health and well-being.It assists in our natural ability to heal and recover from stress and illness by encouraging relaxation. Utilized by humans for thousands of years, research around the uses and potential benefits of aromatherapy continues to grow.
At Iremia, we believe that encouraging the mind and body to reach a state of calmness is essential to our overall health… and a calm mind is an integral component to calm and healthy skin. To stay connected to that inner calm, let’s learn more aboutaromatherapy, and how incorporating a few natural (and beautiful) aromas into your life can help you stay centred and balanced.
How does aromatherapy work?
Aromatherapy uses essential oils to enhance physical, emotional, and spiritual health. People in Egypt, China and India have used aromatherapy as a form of complementary therapy in both medicinal and religious contexts for over 6,000 years by incorporating aromatic plant components in resins, balms, and oils.
Aromatherapy generally works in two ways:through smell, and skin absorption. Our sense of smell is directly linked to the brain through olfactory nerves: essential oils trigger a biological signal on receptor cells in the nose when inhaled, and the signal is transmitted to the limbic and hypothalamus areas of the brain. These signals cause the brain to release neurochemicals like serotonin and endorphins, linking our nervous and other body systems. The specific neurotransmitter triggered depends on the nature of the oil: calming oils like lavender can stimulate serotonin, euphoric oils like ylang-ylang can promote endorphins, and stimulating oils like eucalyptus can encourage noradrenalin.
Aromatherapy also is effective throughskin absorption: many essential oils contain anti-inflammatory properties and may be applied to the skin to fight infection or relieve pain. Essential oils are added to a carrier oil (like coconut or jojoba) to dilute the mixture and then massaged into the skin. Combined with the healing powers of physical touch and massage (promotes relaxation, eases muscle tension, encourages lymphatic drainage), essential oils applied topically can act as antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory agents, as well as being immune boosting with hormonal, glandular, and circulatory effects.
3 calming benefits of aromatherapy
With the wide array of potential health benefits of aromatherapy, let’s look at a few simple ways you can incorporate essential oils into your daily life to encourage a sense of calm, in body, mind, and spirit.
Note: essential oils are highly concentrated extracts from plants and herbs. For essential oils to be safe and effective for topical application, they must be diluted into a carrier oil (which is often a non-fragrant oil). Be sure to read any instructions or guidelines for the proper use of essential oils, and consult with your doctor if you are pregnant or have specific medical concerns.
1. Ease stress and anxiety
Aromatherapy can complement your self-understanding and self-care practices by helping to ease stress and anxiety. As mentioned earlier, certain aromas can trigger a relaxation response in the brain and body. When combined with massage, in particular, aromatherapy can help to reduce symptoms of stress.
It has been estimated that 43% of people who experience stress and anxiety use some form of alternative or complementary therapy to help relieve their symptoms. Studies have shown that aromatherapy can have a positive effect on those experiencing anxiety, and works best used alongside other therapies (like cognitive behavioural therapy, for example).
Several essential oils like sweet orange and lavender have demonstrated positive results in helping ease symptoms of anxiety. To help encourage a calming and stress-less atmosphere, try lighting a natural candle, such as the Renia Candle by Luz Candles - made with natural soy and coconut waxes and blended with beautifully soft lavender essential oil, you can wind down your day and sink into a calming routine.
2. Alleviate headaches and migraines
Aromatherapy and essential oils are amazing tools to keep on hand to help alleviate headaches as well as provide relief for those who suffer from migraines.
Research has shown that peppermint or lavender essential oil can reduce headache pain when applied topically to the skin. One study found no significant difference between using peppermint oil for reducing tension headache pain and taking acetaminophen. For tension headaches, peppermint oil blends (applied to the temples) are fantastic for quick relief from headache symptoms
For migraine relief at home, consider trying a traditional Persian remedy which includes applying a combination of chamomile and sesame oils to your temples - recent studies have demonstrated that this combination may provide relief from symptoms such as nausea and light sensitivity within 30 minutes of application.
3. Assist with sleep quality and insomnia
Many people find aromatherapy to be a helpful sleep aid and may assist those who experience bouts of insomnia. We know that sleep quality affects your skin, so finding simple ways to improve our rest and recovery is deeply important.
A large body of research shows that essential oils can help with disrupted sleep patterns and improve the quality of sleep. Lavender oil in particular has been shown to boost the ability to get to sleep, as well as to improve sleep quality to such a degree that participants remarked waking up more refreshed.
Researchers found that a blend of sleep-promoting essential oils was more effective than acupressure in improving both sleep quality and quality of life in women. Try adding vanilla or jasmine essential oils to your nighttime lavender oil blend - they reduce restlessness and promote relaxation.
If you’re struggling with sleep, try lighting a relaxing scented candle in your home as you wind down for bed, or add essential oils to an evening bath to help prepare your body and mind for sleep.
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing modality that uses essential oils to promote health and well-being. It assists in our natural ability to heal and recover from stress and illness by promoting relaxation. Encouraging the mind and body to reach a state of calmness is essential to our overall health… and a calm mind is an integral component to calm and healthy skin.
At Iremia, we believe that skin health is holistic health, which is why we are always on the lookout for opportunities to collaborate with other businesses who share our emphasis on natural, clean products, as well as bringing peace into our daily lives.
The Renia Candle by Luz Candle is an amazing way to incorporate aromatherapy into your home. With its beautifully soft, lavender scent, each Renia candle is hand-poured with love. Made with natural soy and coconut waxes and blended with essential oils, the Renia Candle is free of parabens and phthalates, as well as chemical- and dye-free. Using high-quality wooden wicks, the Renia Candle produces a beautiful flame and nostalgic fire-crackling sound while burning.
Named after Luz Candle's co-founders' mother who passed away last year from stage 4 brain cancer, the Renia Candle honours her light, love, and life: 25% of proceeds go to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research in hopes that we will get closer to finding a cure.
Relax and restore your mind, body, and soul so you can joyously live your life from a place of calm abundance - your skin will reflect that inner glow!