Freshman year of college had its ups and downs but mononucleosis (mono) was the greatest gift I received that year. My mother, the angel she is, introduced aromatherapy to my swollen infected throat and clouded head. I was bed ridden for a month but I slowly started to get better from her attentive care and the use of a diffuser. I say my experience with mono was a gift because it brought me closer to my personal wellness. I feel that being mindful of one’s body is essential to living a happy life and I have found aromatherapy to be one of my personal wellness hacks that helps me live a better life.
What Aromatherapy is and Who Uses It
Aromatherapy is a therapeutic practice involving essential oils through ingestion, topically, or inhalation. Some of these practices include roll on oils, incense, bath bombs, diffusers, candles, wax melts, shower bombs, water beads, sprays, jewelry diffusers, and stick diffusers. Steam treatments are another common way to practice aromatherapy. Oils can be dripped into a boiling pot of water, released in the shower, mixed in bath salts, or even dropped in a cup of tea–note:ingesting essential oils is an expertise and should not be tampered with by newly acquainted essential oil users. Although that was a hefty list, there are more ways to successfully use aromatherapy that differ from the above list.
The first documented society to use essential oils was ancient Egypt. For daily use the incorporation of oils were used for embalming the dead, burning incense for ceremonial purposes, and dabbing oil on their skin as perfume. Over time, the use of aromatherapy spread around the world and other cultures created their own traditional practice using essential oils.
How Does It Work
Safety first. Initially you should do two things: read the labels and make sure the essential oils are 100% pure. Two, properly dilute the oils. You can find oils that are already diluted in health stores or online. Also, if you have sensitive skin you should always test it on a patch before using it to avoid an allergic reaction.
The body reacts to aromatherapy, a.k.a. essential oil therapy, through both the olfactory and integumentary systems. These systems intake or absorb the essential oils and as a result the brain is affected and reacts differently to each type of oil. For instance, a remedy for sleep is lavender essential oil because it has calming affects. Another example is peppermint essential oil which is an energizer.
What are the Benefits
I always do research to find an essential oil based on my therapeutic needs. I tend to have a hard time staying asleep at night. So to combat my avid waking, I diffuse calming essential oils. Bottles labeled “relax” or “sleep” don’t mean they are diluted pure essential oils which will help me sleep at night. Instead of trusting marketing tactics, I research the uses and properties of different essential oils and also read labels on the bottles before I purchase.
The therapeutic benefits vary depending on the type of oil you are using. Below is a basic chart showing the different types of common essential oils and the effects.
Overall, essential oils are as therapeutic as you make them. I know several people that use humidifying diffusers in their homes to make the living space smell fresher. I have other friends that use essential oils topically every few hours to keep themselves energized and alert. Personally, I love carrying a topical mix of essential oils with the purpose of engaging my heart chakra. As an empath, I am extremely open to other people’s emotions and sometimes those emotions can negatively impact me. That’s why I love carrying my little roll on around with me because I can balance my heart chakra and emotions with a quick swipe on my wrists. I hope you get to enjoy immersing yourself into the essential oil world! Let me know what your favorite oils are and how you use them: topical, inhalation, or ingestion.