A Beginner's Guide to Aromatherapy
When you hear the word “aromatherapy,” what comes to mind? Maybe it’s a spa filled with the fresh scent of eucalyptus, or it’s your home diffuser, spreading a light lavender mist that envelops you in a sense of calm.
The soothing sensations you may be recalling are no coincidence, and that’s why the practice of aromatherapy has stood the test of time.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is an age-old herbology practice that uses naturally fragranced essential oils to change your mood and center the body and mind. Aromatic oils were used all over the world, starting more than 2,000 years ago, to help people relax, and were even thought to help the body heal itself.
In ancient Greece, the physician Hippocrates touted aromatherapy as the key to maintaining good health, and in China, India and Egypt, these fragrant oils were an important part of medicinal practices.
While people have been clued into the centering effects of aromatherapy for centuries, modern research has shown further evidence that aromatherapy helps the body and mind by decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, too. We also know now that scent is an incredible mood lifter and is even tied closely to memory, another reason why it’s an effective tool.
So with all of this knowledge under your belt, here’s how you can incorporate aromatherapy into your self-care routine.
Which scent is right for me?
Aromatherapy is an amazing way to create more intention in your at-home self-care practice, and the best way to start is by choosing the right scents for you. Citrus scents are zesty and invigorating, and using these can make you feel more productive.
Lemon is known to aid in focus by helping to lower stress, while orange is both energizing and can help to reduce anxiety. These dual benefits make them amazing tools to help you find balance and could be put to good use for when you’re working from home.
Lemongrass is a fresh, citrusy scent with a ton of helpful applications, too. When used in aromatherapy practices, it’s known to help with anxiety and keep you feeling uplifted. Because it’s a stress reliever, it’s also thought to help with stress-induced high blood pressure and is especially relaxing when used for massages.
Lavender is an incredibly popular scent, and dare we say the most mainstream of the bunch. This soothing floral is commonly used as a sleep aid and is great at helping you to relax. This is why you’ll find lavender in a lot of nighttime products like creams, sachets, and pillow sprays.
Bergamot and vanilla scents are also great to help you unwind by creating a warm and cozy sensation.
Peppermint and ginger both have reputations for helping soothe an upset stomach when ingested.
Ylang ylang is a floral that originally comes from the Philippines and has a myriad of soothing benefits. This essential oil does it all — it soothes stress, calms anxiety and tension, helps with sleeplessness, and is also a bit of a saucy aphrodisiac. This aromatic oil would be great for massage, and you’ve probably spotted it in skincare products before. While these all have unique benefits, the beauty of aromatic oils is that they can be mixed and matched to create sensations that are tailored just to your needs.
How to practice aromatherapy at home
An easy place to start incorporating aromatherapy is in your bathroom. Next time you make a grocery store run, grab a bunch or bundle of eucalyptus. Using either a rubber band or a piece of twine, tie 4 to 5 branches together and secure them to your shower head. The heat from the hot water will release the oils in the eucalyptus leaves and fill your bathroom with a calming, soothing, scented steam.
Another way to up your relaxation game is to put a few drops of aromatherapy oils into your bath. We love using soothing scents like lavender for this, which can also help you wind down as you get ready for bed. The same principles apply here, and the steam from your hot bath will fill the room and your mind with a sense of calm.
Look for aromatic scents in your skincare products as a way to add more intention to your self-care routine. You’ll find a balanced mix of worry-reducing lemongrass, lavender (which has been shown to reduce heart rate), and soothing ylang ylang in our Rejuvenating Face Oil, Revitalizing Body Lotion, and Exfoliating Face Scrub.
Whether these are part of your morning or nighttime routine, they can help you feel more centered, mindful, and help to balance your mood.
An essential oils diffuser is another low-lift way to use aromatherapy to change your mood and your mindset. We love the idea of setting up a diffuser in your home workspace and filling it with an invigorating scent like orange to help you focus and power through fatigue.
So go ahead, switch on that diffuser and release a little more intention into your routine.