That smells good (Aromatherapy and stress)

For this post I’m going to be discussing something that I don’t know that much about, but that’s okay because the whole point of this blog is to learn and then share the knowledge anyway. The thing that I am going to be talking about in this post is aromatherapy.

Bumblebee on Lavender Blossom

By Martin Falbisoner (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Now, I used to think that aromatherapy is a type of therapy where you use smells to help people relax, so I was imagining a room filled with scented candles and stuff like that, but I was completely wrong. Aromatherapy is actually the practice of using aromatic plant oils, essential oils and other aromatic compounds to help better your physical and mental well-being. The smells from the oils are believed to help stimulate brain function. So the oils and compounds are what do most of the work and the good smells are just like an added bonus.

People have been using aromatic oils or essential oils for therapeutic, health, hygienic and even ritualistic reasons ever since ancient times. They’ve been using it in ancient China, India, Rome, Egypt, Greece and heaven only knows where else.

Wanderings in Bible lands- notes of travel in Italy, Greece, Asia-Minor, Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, Cush, and Palestine (1894) (14784481835)

By Miller, D[aniel] L[ong], 1841- [from old catalog] [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

But the big question is, can this be used to treat stress, anxiety and/or depression? Well, according to some articles on the internet, yes.

This article from info.achs.edu titled “Anxious or Feeling Down: Can Essential Oils Help?,”  written by Dorene Peterson talks about some aroma therapy compounds and how they help calm you down and in some cases even fight against depression. The stuff they talk about are:

  • Bergamot (aromatic orange)
  • Clary sage
  • Lavender

They even have real scientific facts and studies backing them up so this article carries some weight.

However, they do also mention that depression is a serious problem and that you should try getting professional help and aromatherapy should just be used as an add-on.

Quite frankly I agree with that, from what little I do know about aromatherapy (from friends and word of mouth) it’s meant more as a means to relax and de-stress, although I have heard that some people use it as a means of alternative medicine too.

Here is another article from healthline.com titled, “Aromatherapy for Depression,” Written by Brian Krans.

This article looks more into using aromatherapy as a way to treat depression (made obvious by the title) and also mentions the different forms of aromatherapy that are used:

  • Using a machine called a diffuser to spread the scent of essential oils throughout an area
  • Room sprays
  • Massage oils
  • Scented bath oils and salts
  • Skin and hair products

Just like the previous article they say that aromatherapy should be used as an add-on and not as a singular way to treat depression. They also mention to be careful and make sure that you are not allergic to any of the compounds they might use in aromatherapy.

Now obviously, I’ve never used aroma therapy before but I’m willing to try it out. I might try out the skin oils or something like that, I’m not sure. I’ll need to see what’s available nearby. Anyway I hope you liked this post. If you have any advice on aromatherapy let me know in the comments, I wouldn’t mind learning some more. For all the others who are like me and have never tried this before, let’s give it a go. Let me know if it helped. At the very least you should end up smelling nice if nothing else!

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