Linking in with our Anxiety and Stress section - Aromatherapy shows another way to relax.
But what is aromatherapy? Most people would say it is to relax and calm through the naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants. They would be correct, but there are many other reasons too.
Other major benefits include: reducing stress; fighting depression and can also lower high blood pressure.
Click here for the benefits of particular oils.
Aromatherapy is not a new fad that is going to come and go - it has been around for thousands of years.
Many ancient cultures recognized both the psychological and physical benefits gained from scented oils. It is well documented that not only Ancient societies in China, India and Egypt used aromatherapy for medicinal purposes, but also Native Americans.
As reported by the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, 'Jasmine was used as a general tonic for the entire body. Rose was employed as an antidepressant and used to strengthen the liver. Chamomile was given for headaches, dizziness and colds. Many of the properties ascribed to herbs and aromatic oils by the ancients are regarded as valid today.'
19th Century Developments in the Art of Aromatherapy
Medicine started taking aromatherapy more seriously in the 19th century.
René-Maurice Gattefossé, a famous French chemist, burnt his hand pretty badly in 1910 during an experiment. Impulsively he put his hand into the a bowl of liquid nearby and was astonished that the burn healed with minimal scarring. The liquid he had put his hand into was Lavender Essential Oil.
René-Maurice is therefore very much seen as the 'creator' of aromatherapy in modern times.
How aromas translate into reactions
Aromas from your chosen oil once breathed in sends a signal to the Limbic system in the brain - this is what controls our emotions and memory.
The limbic system is the first part of the brain to be formed in a fetus, and is essential the connection between our brain and the outside world.
When an aroma is inhaled the limbic system will send neurochemicals through the body. On inhaling Lavender, for example, it will send messages to the body to relax and calm. Likewise if it is a lively essential oil like Grapefruit Oil the message will be to energize and become more active.