Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought essential oils because the labels assured you they would somehow boost your energy, improve your sleep, increase concentration, and/or change your whole life for the better? If you’re waving your arm in the heavily scented air, you’re not alone.
Dozens of essential oils exist, but some of the most common types include lavender, tea tree, frankincense, eucalyptus, and lemon. Each essential oil has a unique chemical makeup, and the distinct composition influences how the oil smells, how it’s absorbed, and what effect it may have on the body. Proponents believe that specific oils may be used to improve mood, enhance a sense of relaxation and calm, and even relieve pain. Essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for nearly thousands of years throughout the world in everything from cosmetics and perfumes and have been included in spiritual, hygienic, and ritualistic practices as well, not for nothing !
Experts believe the mechanism of aromatherapy lies in the concentrated scent’s ability to stimulate smell receptors in the nose. When these receptors are stimulated, they may send messages through the nervous system to the brain’s emotional center, otherwise known as the limbic system. Some researchers believe that inhaling the molecules of certain essential oils may stimulate the limbic system to calm or energise, or to help with sleep.
There are a variety of ways essential oil enthusiasts recommend using these potent liquids, but one of the most popular methods is aromatherapy, a form of complementary medicine that uses the sense of smell to target certain health concerns.