Aromatherapy has been used to support overall wellness and can be used for a variety of purposes. It harnesses the power of essential oils that have been extracted from nature (whether from flowers or roots, seeds or leaves, and even fruits and twigs) and these are then formulated to work with your body to promote well-being.
Essential oils provide a benefit often not found anywhere else because they do come directly from parts of nature. They have been in use for thousands of years and while the practice is certainly not new, it’s only gained popularity in the western world over the last few decades. Aromatherapy, as we know it today, can be traced to French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse.
After a laboratory explosion burned his hand, he realized that lavender oil helped it heal. This is what kicked off his drive to analyze how the chemical properties found in essential oils could treat a wide variety of injuries – specifically those soldiers injured during the first World War. It was in 1928 he founded the science and it was in the 1950s that professional health care providers picked up the practice.
Aromatherapists may apply the oil directly to skin during a massage, or use a diffuser or spray to release it into the air. Additionally, you can inhale the oil directly, though, normally it should not be consumed.
50 Health & Wellness Uses for Aromatherapy
This may be one of the most commonly known uses for essential oils in aromatherapy. The compounds that are released by a variety of essential oils can help relax your body and soothe your mind helping reduce feelings of anxiety. This is one purpose people tend to purchase essential oils for, for use in their home. The most commonly used oils for stress relief include lavender, ylang ylang, lemon oil, bergamot, and peppermint.
It’s not going to replace any prescribed medication; however, it can work in tandem. Studies from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that aromatherapy is effective in helping to reduce the side effects of antidepressants and relieving the symptoms of depression (ref.). It’s certainly a helpful way to tackle depression in addition to antidepressants and counseling – try lavender, peppermint, jasmine, and chamomile.
At a certain age, the loss of memory becomes more obvious but no less frightening. A mind is a terrible thing to waste and lose, so it makes sense to harness the power of aromatherapy to beat it. Dementia is not curable yet but there is a variety of ways to slow down its progress. Aromatherapy is becoming more popular in its use as a supplemental treatment and the younger you get started the more benefit your memory will get. The most popular essential oil for this purpose is sage.
Who couldn’t use an energy boost? Coffee is great, but what if we told you that aromatherapy could provide you with an added boost without running out to grab another latte or reach for a cigarette or energy pill?
A healthy diet and regular exercise along with good sleeping habits are great for maintaining energy levels, but when you feel a dip – what do you do? Get some pep in your step with these essential oils: sage, black pepper, jasmine, cardamom, angelica, rosemary, clove, tea tree, and cinnamon. They also happen to be great for boosting circulation.
Don’t expect to heal like a superhero, but there are essential oils, which can increase how quickly your body heals. Essential oils, like rosehip, lavender, buckthorn, calendula, and everlasting, work by increasing blood flow and oxygen in the body, which means wounds, too, thus faster healing. These essential oils can also provide you with relief from eczema and psoriasis.
The first thing you do when you experience a headache is reach for the painkillers. That can get expensive and they start to be less efficient after time so instead, consider aromatherapy. Not only will it help you get rid of the headache you’re experiencing, but it might even help you relieve the stress and anxiety that triggered the headache in the first place! A few different essential oils can help you here including rosemary, peppermint, sandalwood, and eucalyptus. Additionally, these can be mixed in with a carrier oil and used for your temples, skin, neck, and even your scalp. Looking for the perfect carrier oil? Consider sesame, almond, jojoba, or avocado. They’re even great for massage oils.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep you can be left feeling fatigued – and it can also have an impact on other facets of your life. Aromatherapy, though, can help you ensure you get a good night’s sleep by helping you get your circadian rhythm back in order. Looking for the perfect essential oil to help lull you off to sleep? Try lavender, jasmine, sandalwood, chamomile, sweet marjoram, neroli, ylang ylang, and benzoin.
Stronger Immune System
Preventative medicine is always easier than reactive medicine and if you want to keep your immune system, going strong aromatherapy could be the way to go. Their effects can help your body fight off a variety of infections and the best essential oils for this include eucalyptus, oregano, cinnamon, frankincense, peppermint, and lemon.
While over the counter and prescribed painkillers provide relief from pain they also tend to come with a raft of side effects. Aromatherapy, however, is useful for relieving all different types of pain. The most popular essential oils for relieving pain include lavender, peppermint, juniper, chamomile, rosemary, clary sage, and eucalyptus.
Though the studies on how aromatherapy can help digestion haven’t been widely undertaken, it certainly seems as though it may be helpful. From relieving constipation to helping with bloating, indigestion, and even boosting the metabolism – essential oils are great. Citrus oils are the most efficient when it comes to digestion, however, chamomile, ginger, lavender, dill, clary sage, and fennel have also proven to be helpful.
Acne isn’t just an annoyance; it can have a serious effect on self-confidence especially if it persists into your adult years. During your teen years, there is an expectation that you will experience acne, but you reach a certain point where you expect it to go away and when it doesn’t it can be a crushing blow to self-esteem. Tea tree is the most effective oil to use in aromatherapy for it.
There may be a variety of different essential oils used in aromatherapy for the purposes of relieving skin conditions, however, calendula is one of the most popular and most efficient. Whether you choose to drop it in a bath or use it for aromatherapy massage in an oil.
If you’ve found yourself struggling to study or focus on a project, it’s time to fire up the diffuser and get the peppermint oil out. It improves mental alertness and will give you a much-needed boost. Peppermint oil can even be mixed in water and drank.
The same again for peppermint oil in water – great for relieving indigestion. Remember that this holiday season.
Not only are there essential oils to keep bugs away (like tea tree), there are also essential oils that aromatherapy harnesses to remove the sting and heal bug bites quicker. One of the most popular options is frankincense, which is also commonly used for inflammation and immunity.
Oregano packs an anti-bacterial punch and might be just what you were looking for to keep your home flu-free this winter. It can be taken orally, topically, or just allowed to diffuse throughout the home. One thing – if you do choose to take it orally have something handy to wash it down because it isn’t pleasant.
Lemon oil is the answer when it comes to giving your brain a boost and improving your concentration. It has uplifting properties, but it has another beneficial boost – it keeps fleas away from your home and your pets. So, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Is there anything worse than trying to get your body back on track after a long flight? It’s frustrating, but as it turns out aromatherapy can help – and the essential oil to harness is grapefruit. It can help you battle fatigue.
Grapefruit essential oil comes in handy for another use, too, as it has antibacterial properties. That means it’s a great choice for using in your home diffuser and even in household cleaners. Make sure your own to avoid the chemicals in off the shelf options and keep your home safe, clean, and smelling great.
Whether you are constantly being dragged down by allergies or a little prone to the cold – you can clear congestion and improve your breathing through aromatherapy. Looking for the ideal essential oil? It’s eucalyptus. Not only will it help you clear your sinuses, but it will even relieve some of the pain from your aching muscles. It’s perfect in a bath, vaporizer, or diffuser. It should always be diluted.
Plagued by brain fog? Aromatherapy has an answer for that, too. Rosemary, eucalyptus, basil, and peppermint are great for giving your reaction times and mental alertness the boost they need.
There’s nothing worse than being the person that attracts every bug and gets bites in spots you didn’t realize bugs could fine. You can mix essential oils with a carrier oil as a topical solution or just pop it in your diffuser, either way – citronella, eucalyptus, and lemongrass are the holy trinity of bug repellents.
Indoor Air Quality
Your home has more allergens and pollutants in it than the outdoors, so your indoor air quality should be important to you. Cinnamon contains anti-microbial properties, making it the perfect diffuser oil to help clean your air.
Stress is one thing, anxiety is another issue entirely. However, aromatherapy can prove beneficial for anxiety, too, particularly when using lavender essential oils.
Yoga already offers a variety of health benefits, but it’s even better when combined with the assistance of aromatherapy. You can mix citrus and clove together to clean your yoga mats down but to help aid relaxation and yoga performance inhale sandalwood or lavender (or a combination of the two).
Cellulite can be difficult to deal with, it’s stubborn, and it affects pretty much everyone. However, using coconut oil as your carrier and mixed with grapefruit essential oil provides the perfect massage substance for the dimpled areas.
It will make sense when you hear it, but peppermint essential oil is the ideal way to give your breath a natural freshness.
Do you have dandruff or even just a seriously itchy scalp? Try massaging basil, lavender, or cedarwood essential oil on your scalp – ideally, put it in your shampoo for the best results.
Lemon, frankincense, and myrrh are the answer to your weak and breaking nails – simply mix them all together with a bit of vitamin E and massage them directly into your cuticles.
Forget spending a fortune at the dentist to get your teeth professionally whitened – just mix coconut oil with lemon oil and strawberries and rub across your teeth and let it sit for two minutes before rinsing.
Your face and hands get the majority of the sun and as a result, tend to show age spots sooner than anywhere else does. You don’t have to live with them, though, you can use essential oils (particularly frankincense) to battle them.
Whether it’s travel sickness or just a general feeling of nausea – inhaling peppermint oil is an excellent way to battle it. You can also apply it to your upper chest and neck, too. If you don’t want to smell minty fresh all day you may find that lavender and ginger are also helpful.
Stretch marks are a normal part of life – they appear after a growth spurt and no pregnant woman walks away without the battle scars to show for it. Don’t worry, though, there is an answer in aromatherapy. Grapefruit, frankincense, and myrrh – combine with coconut oil and rub on your stretch marks.
Dry and Cracked Feet
Are your feet in constant pain because they are so dry and starting to crack? When you spend your day on them it’s difficult to get relief, but you can. All you need is coconut oil and lavender. Combine the two and apply to your feet each night before bed. Just slip socks on and off to sleep you go. The lavender may even help you get a better night’s sleep, too.
Coughs and Congestion
There’s nothing worse than a stubborn cough that just won’t go away, but you can beat it with eucalyptus oil. Use in a diffuser, add 1 or 2 drops to a steaming cup of water or a bowl, or in a bath to help keep your airways open.
Aloe Vera plus lavender essential oil equals the ideal burn treatment.
Whether your asthma is acting up or you have bronchitis on the way – an aromatherapy vapor rub is exactly what you need for a bit of relief. Try combined coconut oil with peppermint and eucalyptus oils and then smear it across your neck and chest.
Looking for an effective way to treat bruises? As it turns out – a hot compress of essential oils might be the answer you were looking for. You’ll need hot water as well as frankincense and lavender – then just apply it to your bruised area.
Reduce Teeth Grinding
This nasty habit is more dangerous than it sounds – not only does it result in a rough night’s sleep, sore jaws, and a headache it’s also steadily wearing your teeth down. Beat it by massaging lavender essential oils behind your ears as well as on the bottom of your feet before bed.
Add drops of rosemary, sage, and basil to a warm towel and leave it on your stomach to relieve the symptoms of PMS.
Are you constantly battling food cravings and no matter what you try nothing helps? Cinnamon and peppermint oil can!
Relieve Arthritis Pain
All you need is an unscented lotion and wintergreen, lemongrass, and cypress to add to it before massaging affected areas.
Yes, it really can help anything -chamomile or lavender oil combined with coconut oil is the best way to reduce swelling from sunburn as well as relieve pain.
If you have blistered skin then there’s an answer for you, too. Use unscented oil and tea tree oil combined and you can apply it to blisters as much as five times throughout the day.
Pregnancy and morning sickness go hand in hand and it’s difficult to beat it. While plain crackers and ginger ale are great, they only work when you can keep them down. In the meantime, try essential oils. Simply add a drop or two of ginger, wild orange or lemon oil to a hankie and keep it handy to inhale as needed.
Reducing Back Pain
There is nothing worse than sore muscles – not only does it ruin your day, but it can also make it difficult to get to sleep at night. Beat the pain by making your own muscle rub! You’ll need coconut oil to start and the oils you can add to it are cypress, ginger, and peppermint – throw in cayenne pepper for good measure and apply it to the affected muscles. It’s perfect for your back and neck, but you can use it on your legs, too.
Treating Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
Even when you know what you’re looking for these nasties can still get you. Just add peppermint oil to an unscented oil and apply it to the area that has been poisoned.
A quick spritz of rosewater won’t just give your day a boost – it also helps keep your skin’s pH balance right.
Rosemary can be used to help stimulate hair growth, which is especially helpful for anyone who is dealing with Alopecia areata.
Are you plagued by fatigue, whether it’s due to a lack of sleep or you’re just constantly run down? Patchouli oil might just be the answer to all of your problems. It also helps with relieving stress and it has an earthy, woody smell – so a quick dab behind your ears could keep you on course all day and you won’t even need to wear perfume. Fatigue is also helped by rosemary
Basil, peppermint, eucalyptus and geranium.
How To Use Essential Oils Topically
Never use carrier oils topically without blending them with a carrier oil
Blend Dilution Formula
- Carrier oils: Jojoba, coconut, olive, avocado, grapeseed, apricot kernel, argan, rosehip, blackseed
- Massage oil
- Aroma spray
Essential oil content
- No more than 1% to 2% of the total mixture
- 1% Dilution = 6 drops of essential oil for each 1 ounce of carrier oil or other product
- 2% Dilution = 12 drops of essential oil for each 1 ounce of carrier oil or other product
- Add or divide as needed for smaller or larger portion mixtures
How To Inhale Essential Oils
- Aromatherapy diffuser
- Aromatherapy candles
- In a hot bath
- A few drops on a handkerchief or tissue
- A few drops on pillowcases
- 1 or 2 drops in a steaming cup or bowl of hot water
Use Only 100% Therapeutic Grade Oils
It’s incredibly important that you ensure the essential oils you are buying are of a high quality and contain 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oil rather than those that just contain the aroma. The cheaper oils don’t contain any of the medicinal value that is in pure essential oils.
You may want to consult with your doctor before embarking on any specific treatment course and remember – these should be used in conjunction with traditional treatments not instead of any medications your doctor has prescribed.
Create Your Favorite Blends
Of course, you can choose to use just one essential oil at a time or create your own unique blend to get the best results while providing a refreshing and pleasant aroma in your home. It isn’t recommended that you mix your own essential oils without aromatherapy training – but if you stick to the combinations advised by aromatherapists and the right number of drops then you should be fine.
Don’t be tempted to create your own new and wonderful blends without training under your belt, though.