Does Aromatherapy Really Work?

Natural Essential OilsMany American families believe in the power of aromatherapy.  The evidence is in the millions of dollars they spend on aromatherapy products, like candles, incense, and oils in their effort to make themselves feel better – physically and emotionally.  But does aromatherapy really work?

The answers are Yes. In fact, smell is the quickest way to alter your mood.

Think about it.  You walk in the door grumpy after a hard day at work and are greeted by the smell of a home-cooked dinner, pot roast or fresh-baked bread.  How do you feel now?  In an instant, your bad mood wanes.

Uses for Aromatherapy Products

15 years of study on aromatherapy conclude that stress-relieving properties of certain smells can alleviate even some physical ailments. Aromatherapy does work!

  • Natural essential oils are used for many more reasons than just their aromatic abilities.  The difference between natural essential oils and fragrances is the therapeutic properties.
  • Essential oils are not the same as the scents used to make perfume.  Essential oils are carefully extracted from natural products.  Perfume oils often are chemically enhanced and mixed with synthetic oils.
  • Many natural essential oils have anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties when used in therapeutic applications.  I use oils to treat burns, rashes, and soothe tired aching muscles.
  • Although there are approximately 300 aromatherapy oil options available, there are some that you wouldn’t want to use because they can be dangerous. As you play with aromatherapy, make sure you know the rules of safe aromatherapy practice.
  • As the most well-known natural essential oil, lavender is usually where people begin investigating essential oils and aromatherapy.  There are many uses for lavender that make it such a practical oil.  Lavender also is one of the few aromatherapy essential oils thought to be safe to apply directly to skin without needing to be diluted or mixed with base oils or distilled water.
  • Adults can create an aromatic and therapeutic massage oil by adding five drops of essential oil to 100 drops, (roughly a teaspoon), of base oil such as sweet almond, castor, or avocado oil.  Creating your own aromatherapy oils can be a fun experience.
  • When using essential oils on babies, senior citizens, or anyone with a compromised immune system, reduce the recipe to one to two drops of essential oil for every 100 drops of base oil.
  • Aromatherapy doesn’t have to be confusing or complex – simply add a few drops added to both water or a foot soak creates a soothing and calm environment to reduce stress while essential oils mixed with distilled water act as wonderful body, room, or linen sprays.
  • Experimenting with citrus-based aromatherapy essential oils, such as lemon or orange, gives your family the chance to customize chemical-free household cleaners.
  • Make sure you are aware of the restrictions with aromatherapy.  For example; some essential oils should be avoided throughout a pregnancy.  Pennyroyal, rue, savin, mugwort, sage, tansy, thuja, and wormwood could stimulate contractions of the uterus that could lead to a miscarriage.
  • Essential oils with emmenagogue properties, or those thought to help promote and regulate menstruation, are useful for treating menstrual problems, but also should be avoided during pregnancy.  These oils include cedarwood, clary, sage, jasmine, juniper, marjoram, myrrh, peppermint, rose, and rosemary.
  • Hormone stimulants, such as fennel and aniseed, could upset the finely tuned hormone balance of pregnancy.  These aromatherapy essential oils are Fennel and Aniseed.  Some oils typically considered safe during pregnancy are bergamot, geranium, lavender, lemon, orange, patchouli, sandalwood, tea tree, and ylang ylang.
  • Although it’s very important that each woman and her doctor decide about the use of natural essential oils during pregnancy, health and aromatherapy experts agree that it is wise to avoid the use of natural essential oils entirely in a high-risk pregnancy.

Six Essential Oils

  • Lavender – Has antibacterial and antiseptic properties and also is calming and soothing.  Great for burns, cuts, scrapes, bruises.
  • Lemon – Multiple uses around the home for cleaning.  Also thought to increase clarity of mind and increase well being and physical energy.
  • Orange – Also good for cleaning because it’s anti-bacterial and antifungal.  A few drops diluted in warm water are commonly used to clean counters and remove stickers from plastic or glass.
  • Tea Tree – Antifungal used for nail fungus, insect bites, and blemishes.
  • Eucalyptus – Helps congestion (dilute in bath or steamed water).  Also popular as a foot soak or diluted into lotion for massage.
  • Peppermint – This practical essential oil can be cooked with or used to stimulate energy.  Carried when driving long distances, it awakens senses or sparks a weary attention span.  Menthol in the oils commonly is used to soothe muscle aches or cramps and to cool fevers.


Enjoy experimenting with aromatherapy products and find the oil and mixture that works best for you.

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