Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils extracted from plants. Used as an alternative therapy for thousands of years, the term ‘aromatherapy’ was first officially coined in the early 20th century by a French chemist looking to treat a burn injury. Typically extracted from different parts of plants and distilled, essential oils are highly concentrated oils that can be inhaled directly or indirectly or applied to the skin for myriad benefits.
Essential oils are an incredibly complex mixture of aromatic components and each oil has its own chemistry which is able to impact us in a different way. Whether they’re formulated for use on the skin, body or in the home, inhaling essential oils can have a big impact on our emotions, as our sense of smell plays an important role in the physiological effects of mood, stress and cognitive function.
Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose. As we breathe in an essential oil, some constituents are absorbed through the nose via the olfactory bulb which communicates with the limbic system, commonly referred to as the ‘emotional brain’. The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls emotion, memory, arousal and stress levels amongst other things. The components of the aromatic molecules are able to make changes within this part of the brain and it’s for this reason that smelling essential oils can often trigger a change in the way we feel.
There is a common misconception that essential oils just smell nice, but the reality is that upon inhalation they’re able to do so much, including balance hormone levels, alleviate emotional tension and provide all round support to achieve healthy limbic system function. And while studies on aromatherapy aren’t extensive yet, there are several which show the benefits of many essential oils and why they’re such a key part of our physical and emotional wellbeing, including the use of lavender to reduce anxiety and bergamot to help improve mood and reduce cortisol levels.
Annee’s essential oil favourites
To ease stress
Rose, Frankincense, Cape Chamomile
Try: de Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm
To help alleviate insomnia (depending on the underlying cause)
Jasmine, Lavender, Vetiver
Try: de Mamiel Sleep Series Settle
To improve focus
Try: de Mamiel Altitude Oil
To assist in productivity Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit Try: de Mamiel Spring Facial Oil