What is Aromatherapy?


Hey guys, for the last few weeks, we’ve talked about what self-care is, what it looks like, and got a first look at how to incorporate crystals in your self-care routine. This week we’re going to take a first look at aromatherapy– what it is and how to incorporate it into your self-care routine. According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, “aromatherapy is part of a larger field called phytotherapy (plant therapy).”

They go on to say that “true aromatherapy is the skilled use of genuine essential oils for therapeutic purposes.” For our purposes, though, I’m expanding that definition to include more than just essential oils. I will be covering essential oils quite a bit in future posts, though. As far as I’m concerned, pretty much anything that smells good is fair game when it comes to self-care.

Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years by numerous civilizations, so it’s not at all a surprise that it is still around today. There have even been some scientific studies into whether or not there are actual health benefits to aromatherapy. While there haven’t been enough studies to definitively prove all of the benefits aromatherapy is claimed to have, there is enough evidence to at least show that the potential is there and that further research is warranted. So far, the strongest evidence supports aromatherapy improving sleep along with providing relief depression and anxiety. There is also some evidence to support the benefit of aromatherapy in fighting bacteria, easing nausea, and easing certain types of pain.

How can we use it in self-care?

Aromatherapy can be used in self-care in many ways. Topically, it can be used for things like massages, bath soaks, moisturizers, and a lot more. Other methods of using it would be to inhale them. This is the easiest way, in my opinion, at least. You can do things like light candles, use room or fabric sprays, or diffuse essential oils to make your space smell good. While there are several benefits (scientifically proven or not), there are certain things to keep in mind to make sure you are using aromatherapy safely.

The first consideration is the possibility of an allergic reaction. If you plan to use any form of aromatherapy topically, please remember to do a patch test to check for skin allergies. If you are using essential oils, it is best to dilute them using a carrier oil. My personal favorites are coconut oil, olive oil, and Young Living’s V-6 vegetable oil complex. If you are using candles, sprays, diffusers, or anything like that, allergies can present as itchy or burning eyes, coughing, sneezing, or other symptoms similar to seasonal allergies. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that aromatherapy, like other forms of self-care, is that it is not a substitute for medications or medical care in general. These things should only ever be used to support general wellness and provide relief from stressors and symptoms.  If you have a medical issue, please consult a health care provider. That being said, aromatherapy is my personal favorite form of self-care, and my go-to’s are candles and essential oils.

Essential oils have a wide variety of uses. I almost always have essential oils going in my diffuser (this is the one I have in my living room, and this is the one I have in my bedroom). What goes in my diffuser depends on my mood and what kind of mood I want to be in. Mostly, I just like my apartment to smell nice, and it puts me in a good mood when I come home from class or running errands am greeted by a bright citrus or gentle floral scent.

Candles are another favorite of mine. Some scents are just…nice but aren’t available in the form of essential oils. That and, in my opinion, there’s something incredibly soothing about a warmly flickering candle or a crackling wood-wick. We’ll explore more ways to use aromatherapy for self-care in future posts. If you want to learn more about aromatherapy and essential oils, you can find more information here. You can also get an automatic 24% off all products by signing up here. As always, remember that self-care is a journey, not a destination. So until next week, take care of yourself, friends.

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Categories: aromatherapy, essential oils, Self Care SundayTags: , , , , ,

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