Aromatherapy benefits are well known and have been for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Egyptians and Chinese have all made use of aromatherapy to address any number of issues including sleep problems, pain, anxiety and stress. Using the extracted oils of plants and herbs can be a safe and effective alternative to traditional medicine or they can be used in conjunction with traditional medicine to make it more effective.
Before we can look more closely at the benefits of aromatherapy, though, we need to understand exactly how it works. In aromatherapy the scent of essential oils is inhaled either directly or by applying the oils to the skin or using them in a warm bath or shower. As the scent enters the nostrils, it works its way to the brain where it affects the limbic system, the area of the brain that helps control emotions and behavior.
There are many different natural sources that allow us to enjoy aromatherapy benefits. These can include herbs like rosemary and thyme, tree barks like cedar or pine, plants like eucalyptus and lavender and flowers such as jasmine and ylang ylang. Citrus fruits such as lemon, orange and grapefruit can also yield essential oils. Unlike some scents, these citrus oils are known to be stimulants and can help to improve alertness. Other scents, like lavender and clary sage, promote relaxation and stress relief.
While it is not a proven medical cure, there are quite a few benefits of aromatherapy for individuals who suffer from conditions including PMS, arthritis, depression, and skin disorders. More specifically, aromatherapy can ease muscle and joint pain, reduce anxiety, improve the quality of sleep and relieve respiratory and digestive issues. It has been most effective at reducing the effects of stress, since it targets the limbic system and this is where the "fight or flight" response associated with stress and anxiety emanates from.
Another of the most significant aromatherapy benefits is helping address sleep issues. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, rose and ylang ylang are proven to reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can help you to both fall asleep easier and remain asleep longer, allowing you to get better quality sleep. This can even work for individuals who have conditions like restless legs syndrome and hot flashes that keep them up at night.
Other benefits of aromatherapy include ridding the air of allergens like bacteria, mold and fungus, which can have a detrimental effect on the respiratory system. Citrus oils are some of the best essential oils for this purpose, and they can even work to reduce fatigue and build up immune system function in the process. Orange essential oil, along with ginger and turmeric, can also be used to relieve pain by soothing tight, achy joints and easing inflammation.
When applied directly to the skin, aromatherapy benefits can be much more direct. Used in this fashion, essential oils can help to reduce acne, dandruff, foot fungus, and itching and inflammation from insect bites and rashes. They can also help to promote wound healing, reducing overall healing time after injury dramatically.
As you can see, there are many positive results to be had from engaging in this ancient healing practice. Aromatherapy can be particularly helpful if you are suffering from sleep issues, but it can also be used for many other things as well. So if you're looking for a safe, soothing and completely natural alternative for healing, this might well be worth checking out.