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Emotional Wellness

Aromatherapy Benefits: What You Need to Know

Essential oils are all the rage these days. Sure, they smell great, but is there any truth to the claims people make about their benefits? While you can’t believe everything you read on Facebook, it’s true that diffusing oils can be an effective self-care practice. Here, I’ll explain the major aromatherapy benefits and help you pick out some essentials (no pun intended). Who knew your olfaction (that’s your sense of smell) could make such a positive difference in your life?

Aromatherapy Benefits: Pain Relief and More

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Aromatherapy is no substitute for necessary medical care. Contrary to what you may have seen on social media, essential oils can’t cure a common cold or flu overnight. (They can, however, help to ease some of your symptoms while you’re healing.)

Aromatherapy for Cancer Related Symptoms – MD Anderson Cancer Center

So what is aromatherapy good for? It can lift your mood, help you to reduce stress and anxiety, relieve minor pain, and boost your energy levels. Essential oil enthusiasts use specific oils or blends for various purposes: peppermint to energize, lavender to calm, and bergamot to relax. Some users swear by eucalyptus and clary sage oil to provide relief from muscle soreness due to workouts or menstrual cramps. Some medical facilities have even begun diffusing oils to help patients feel more at ease during treatment.

In general, the recommended ways to use essential oils are by diffusing them or applying them, but it depends on the specific oil. Some oils aren’t safe to inhale, while others can cause skin irritation when applied topically. Furthermore, you should never ingest essential oils before clearing the idea with a medical professional who knows your personal health history. As a general rule, read and follow the directions on any oil you use and review your self-care plan with your primary care provider. In some cases, oils may not be safe for you to use, like if you’re asthmatic or have certain allergies.

In addition, you can use your essential oils for purposes other than aromatherapy. Does your basement, with its darkness and humidity, double as a spider motel? Dilute a small bottle of inexpensive peppermint essential oil by pouring it into a spray bottle of water, and spritz your baseboards. Peppermint repels spiders (and will make your basement smell amazingly clean and fresh to boot!).

The Best Aromatherapy Oils and Diffusers

In order to take advantage of all the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils, you’ll need a safe and effective way to diffuse (spread) them. An aromatherapy diffuser produces a gentle mist of water and essential oils for the user to inhale. It’s a lot like using a cool-mist humidifier during the drier months, except that with a diffuser, you’ll enjoy those sweet, relaxing smells too. 

Aroma diffuser with aromatic oils are needed to get the aromatherapy benefits.
An Aromatherapy Diffuser Produces A Gentle Mist Of Water And Essential Oils For The User To Inhale (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Diffusers come in many varieties, so choose one that works for your living space and personal preferences. You might like one that has a timer so that you can fall asleep while breathing in the calming scent of lavender. Or you could use one with a remote so that you can turn it on and off without getting out of bed. They’re available in a wide range of sizes, colors, and designs, so choose one that makes a great addition to your bedroom or home office.

With so many diffusers on the market, sometimes it’s hard to know where to get started. One brand I love for amazing self-care necessities is Goop, from actress and lifestyle guru Gwenyth Paltrow. If you’ve never tried Goop products before, now is a great time to treat yourself! To begin, pick up the sleek stone diffuser, which looks beautifully understated in any room. You can pair it with the Goop Bundle, which features four top-quality essential oils for all your aromatherapy needs. There’s Boost, to energize you, with its fresh blend of juniper, lime, grapefruit, and bergamot. For beachy vibes, try Pacific, with notes of woody amyris, bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, and basil. To relax, diffuse Quiet, with geranium, ylang ylang, clary sage, and amyris. And when you’re ready to call it a night, breathe in Dusk, with its blend of ho wood, frankincense, eucalyptus, and lavender. There’s a little bit of everything in these awesome blends!    

More Self-Care Rituals

While you’re enjoying your aromatherapy routine, you might engage in other favorite self-care rituals, like journaling or deep breathing. Try some of my favorite self-care ideas while you diffuse:

Woman with curly hair sitting on sofa in Lotus pose and meditating with closed eyes near smart air humidifier at home.
You Might Engage In Other Favorite Self-Care Rituals, Like Journaling Or Deep Breathing (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Mindfulness-based stress reduction can help you to work through your stress and sleep better at night. It also can help you to cope better with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, as well as serious chronic illnesses. If you’ve never tried it and aren’t sure where to begin, check out this primer. Spend a little time practicing it every day, and you’ll notice serious improvement in your mood. 

Gratitude Journaling 

The benefits of feeling gratitude are numerous and well documented. Taking the time to give thanks for your blessings can lead to improved physical, mental, and emotional health. One great way to hit pause on life and appreciate everything you have is to start a gratitude journal. The idea is simple: You write about the people and things that bring joy to your life. If you need a few journaling prompts to get you going, check out these ideas. You’ll find that journaling for mental health will improve your life across all dimensions of wellness. So, snuggle up with your journal and see where it takes you. You could even diffuse some rose oil while you stop and smell the roses!

Portrait of smiling young black woman writing in journal at home.
One Great Way To Hit Pause On Life And Appreciate Everything You Have Is To Start A Gratitude Journal (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Yoga Poses

There’s a reason so many yoga instructors diffuse essential oils in their studios (and it’s not to hide the smell of sweat!). Yoga and aromatherapy go perfectly together to help you center your mind. Try a few gentle yoga poses to help quiet your thoughts and stretch your tired muscles. Pranayama yoga techniques are especially useful when you’re focused on breathing deeply and returning to your mental home base. 

Bottom Line: The Nose Knows!

It’s so important to take good care of yourself every day. Simple rituals and habits like journaling sessions, yoga, and aromatherapy can make a huge difference on your outlook. Take advantage of all the benefits of essential oils, and you’ll feel happier and more relaxed in no time. 

Be well, and be sure to let me know how it’s going!

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