The real benefits of natural aromatherapy

You might be wondering if it’s really possible to feel measurable benefits just from smelling or placing essential oils on your skin. For many people, the results are quite clear: Plant-based therapies such as natural aroma products can actually help you to feel better. As long as you use natural plant extracts with care, they can absolutely promote better health, wellness, and holistic treatment for a variety of symptoms and issues.

Woman enjoying aromatherapy with lavender flowers
wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

What are aromatherapy products?

Natural aromatherapy refers to smelling different fragrances and aromas that come from plant-based items. Lavender, one of the most popular ingredients for aromatherapy products, has been used medicinally by humans for thousands of years. Many people find the smell of this purple, flowering plant to have a calming and soothing effect. As a result, you will find a large number of lavender aromatherapy products that are marketed to help people get a better night’s sleep among other benefits.

The aromatherapy product category can refer to a number of different products. For instance, essential oils are often considered the quintessential aromatherapy tool, but it’s possible to buy incense, body lotions, perfumes, pillows, and many other items marketed with added fragrances and aromas.

Aromatherapy products are sometimes considered an area of alternative medicine. This term can be somewhat confusing, though, because typically many of the most popular essential oils are based around plants that have long histories of safe use by humans. In a way, they are much less alternative than highly processed pharmaceuticals produced at an industrial scale by multinational corporations.

Nonetheless, it is important to choose high-quality aromatherapy products and use them in safe ways. It is possible to have a negative reaction to plant-based products. If you have any questions about whether an aromatherapy product is safe for you or your family, feel free to contact a licensed medical professional or your neighborhood herbalist.

How are aromatherapy products made?

Generally, natural aromatherapy products contain highly concentrated extracts of botanicals. Typically, these extracts include flowers, leaves, bark, fruit, or a combination of an entire plant. The essential oils you purchase are usually created using highly refined chemistry. There are a variety of different methods for extracting raw materials from plants.

Chemical processes are an important part of aromatherapy product production. They help to concentrate the typically small amounts of aromatic fragrances found in plants into a more potent, long-lasting, and easier-to-use form.

Aromatherapy production techniques will differ from product to product and brand to brand. The highest-quality essential oils will be produced in very strict and sterile laboratory settings. Quality control is an important aspect of production because it helps to ensure that the products you use are of the highest possible quality and do not contain any leftover pollutants from the chemical extraction and refinement processes.

What are the real benefits of natural aromatherapy?

In plants, aromatic essences serve a huge number of functions and when inhaled can affect many of the body’s systems. Research has indicated that essential oils can uniquely influence a part of your brain called the amygdala. This area is responsible for things like modulating emotional responses.

This means research supports that essential oils and other similar aromatherapy products can cause measurable changes in the way our brains operate. There are communities of people that have claimed a number of different benefits from aromatherapy solutions.

These anecdotal insights may not carry the same stock as verifiable research for some people, but as far as we know, there is no rule that says only scientifically researched benefits are valid. Feeling better means something different to every individual. Truthfully, the same is true for nearly any medicine that assists certain people while offering no real benefit to others. That said, the conditions for natural aromatherapy products that have been most rigorously studied and found to provide relief by medical researchers include:

  • Nausea
  • Trouble eating
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of energy

If you have experienced any of these challenges and are looking for a great supplementary treatment, aromatherapy could definitely be a safe, low-impact choice. As with most plant-based therapies, it can take time for relief to occur.

You may or may not suddenly feel better with the first application of an essential oil product. Though, if you find that you actually enjoy a particular scent and find it comforting, you might be surprised to see how useful and helpful that can be for addressing a variety of different issues.

What are some of the most beneficial aromatherapy ingredients?

Lit candle and essential oils on a table
Botamochy/Shutterstock.com

The absolute best aromatherapy product is the one that helps you feel better. No, we aren’t joking about that. This product category is truly massive and it is hard to say what will or will not be beneficial for you and your body’s chemistry. You may need to experiment and see what products and formulations assist you the most.
Some of the most universally popular essential oils and their uses include:

  • Tea tree oil: This is one powerful botanical product that is used by many people to treat conditions of the skin. It is quite powerful for cleaning wounds, clearing acne, and bringing relief to other skin-related issues.
  • Lavender oil: Lavender has a very soothing and calming smell that helps many people who are suffering from insomnia. It also has been found to assist with depression and other issues.
  • Peppermint oil: Peppermint is one of the most potent, plant-based treatments for stomach-related issues. Many people find immediate relief from just a few drops of this oil.
  • Lemon oil: Citrus plants in general are often thought to be very positive products to use for mood. If you are feeling down and could use some natural energy, consider smelling some of this.

Be safe, be smart, be well

Use aromatherapies in a safe and responsible way. Continue to research and seek out experts who can assist you to better understand the immense benefits of natural, plant-based aromatic essences. It’s your life, and you deserve to feel your best.

Editors' Recommendations