So, how do you actually undergo aromatherapy? You have a few options: JEWELRY: By wearing an aromatherapy necklace or bracelet, you can dab a small piece of absorbent material connected to the accessory that you lift to your nose and sniff throughout the day.
DIFFUSER: These small appliances sit right HEALTH & BEAUTY HEALTH
All About Aromatherapy By Dylan Roche
Think about some of your favorite smells. Maybe it’s lavender. Or lemon. Or cinnamon. Whatever it is, it might be healthier for you than you think—because believe it or not, it’s possible to smell your way to better health. That’s the idea behind aromatherapy. And with National Sense of Smell Day coming up—observed annually on the last Saturday in April, specifically on April 24th in 2021—it’s worth remembering that smell is much more than just a pleasant sensation. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy explains that aromatherapy has been around for millennia, going as far back as Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome. In contemporary times, aromatherapy is moving from a fringe holistic practice into the mainstream and, although the research isn’t conclusive, there is some science to support it. Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that when a person inhales, scent molecules go from the person’s olfactory nerves, which control your sense of smell, to the brain, where they affect the amygdala, the gray matter inside your brain that controls your emotions. In the case of aromatherapy, what the person smells are essential oils—fragrant plant extracts that are created by steaming or pressing certain plant parts like leaves or flowers. Common types of essential oils include those made from jasmine, cinnamon, lemongrass, oregano, chamomile, and bergamot. By treating your amygdala to the scent molecules of these essential oils, you can alleviate certain mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as the physical symptoms of nausea, low appetite, and headaches. 122
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on your countertop or tabletop and release essential oil into the air via steam vapor throughout the day. Diffusers aren’t ideal for households with more than one person, as everyone reacts to aromatherapy differently.
AROMA STICKS: These absorbent sticks can be soaked in a small amount of essential oil and then left out to scent the air.
BODY OIL: Mix a small amount of essential oil with a carrier oil or lotion to massage it onto the skin. You’ll then be able to smell the scent on your hands, forearms, or neck throughout the day.
It’s important to use discretion in how often you’re doing aromatherapy—the Cleveland Clinic discourages using essential oils too much or else your body gets used to them and they lose their effectiveness. And while some people respond very well to aromatherapy, others do not. Older adults, for example, may not benefit as much as younger people because the sense of smell declines with age. So go ahead—give your mood a boost and have a scent-sational National Sense of Smell Day on April 24.