Truth or False? The Proven Benefits of Aromatherapy
Contrary to popular belief, aromatherapy is not a new and blooming trend. In fact, the practice of aromatherapy can be traced back to 3500 BC. The ancient Egyptians used essential oils as an ingredient in remedies to treat diseases and to keep the body smelling clean. They even applied them in their religious practices, the most prominent being the mummification process.
Man’s use of essential oils has gradually evolved over the centuries. Today, it is widely believed that aromatic can reduce anxiety, induce sleep, energise the body, ease pain, boost the immune system, speed up the healing process, improve cognitive performance, improve digestion, increase circulation and even cure disease.
While many swear by this natural method, research on the effectiveness of aromatherapy remains fairly limited.
In order to help us gain a greater understanding of how these oils may help us live both a happy and healthy life, we must first understand what they are and how they can be used.
There are thousands of aromatherapy products on the market. These range from oils, candles, reed diffusers and even beauty products. The key ingredient in each if these products is the essential oils. Unlike synthetic fragrance oils, essential oils are one hundred percent natural. It is claimed that we are able to reap the benefits of these oils by either consuming, inhaling, or applying them to the skin through lotions, massages or bath salts.
The precise way in which these oils work with the human body to promote physical and mental well-being is still lost to us. However, the current theory centres on the idea that the oils stimulate our smell receptors. Messages are sent from these receptors in your nose through the nervous system to the part of your brain that controls emotions, the limbic system.
As mentioned earlier, at the present time, scientific research surrounding the effectiveness of aromatherapy is fairly limited. However, the few studies that have been completed successfully can give us an indication of the truth behind this ancient practice.
Research conducted by Mie University School of Medicine concluded that smaller doses of antidepressant medication combined with citrus fragrance was as effective as a higher does of antidepressants when treating patients.