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Aromatherapy: Smell Success

Do you want an inexpensive, stress-reducing tool that not only restores your physical body but your emotional well-being as well? Try aromatherapy.



Aromatherapy utilizes plant extracts to promote your health and well-being and this practice has even around for thousands of years. The Greek, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, and many other cultures have included plant aromas into their ointments, oils, balms, and resins.¹


But what can aromatherapy help us with and how does it work?


Below are four ways — along with recommended fragrances — this practice can benefit your overall well-being.



1.) Help Fight Infections


There has been much more published evidence on the positive effects of aromatherapy for infections. This also includes research on infections that were acquired from hospitals and pathogens that are immune to drugs.²


Several studies have also explored potentially using essential oils in hand soap. It was discovered that a combination of 4% tea tree oil nasal ointment and 5% body wash was more effective at removing MRSA and reducing E.coli than standard combination of 2% mupirocin nasal ointment.³


Hospitals have started to implement the aromatherapy and this a case demonstrates how easy it would be to incorporate this practice into patient care. An elderly woman who had MRSA for 9 months had infections in multiple locations and had issues with her oropharynx, which is crucial for swallowing. Her standard procedure included several rounds of medication, but they started adding one drop of tea tree oil to her toothpaste and two drops of tea tree oil into her denture bath.


After a week of treatment, her oropharynx was no longer infected.⁴


Best aromas for fighting infections:

1. Bergamot

2. Chamomile

3. Cinnamon

4. Eucalyptus

5. Lavender

6. Lemongrass

7. Peppermint

8. Tea tree



2.) Reduce Pain and inflammation


There was a case where a middle age women with acute leukemia and diabetes had abrasions on her skin. These were extremely humiliating to her so they administered a cream that contained lavender, germanium, and rosewood. It was applied daily and the abrasions significantly decreased after one week. The soreness continued to diminish and by the end of chemotherapy, all areas had been healed.⁵


Staff at Christie Hospital in Manchester, UK, even utilize aromatherapy to reduce side effects from cancer treatments.⁶


Best aromas for treating pain and inflammation:

1. Black pepper

2. Chamomile

3. Clove

4. Cypress

5. Eucalyptus

6. Ginger

7. Juniper

8. Peppermint

9. Rosemary

10. Sandalwood

11. Yarrow



3.) Ease Insomnia


One study investigated how aromatherapy would affect those who were diagnosed with acute leukemia and frequently received poor quality sleep. The researchers had the participants select one of the three scents (lavender, peppermint, and chamomile) and each patient randomly received either the chose fragrance or a placebo. The results from this study indicates that the scent of lavender was beneficial for improving insomnia and other common symptoms of acute leukemia.⁷


Best aromas for insomnia


1. Chamomile

2. Jasmine

3. Lavender

4. Peppermint

5. Sweet Marjoram

6. Sage

7. Valerian

8. Ylang ylang



4.) Overall Stress Management and Well-Being


Researchers in Japan have recently began investigating the amount of blood cells and measuring the participants’ levels of anxiety and depression before and after aromatherapy.⁸ Cells like red blood cells, white blood cells, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and many more aid your body when it needs to recover.


The results indicated a significant increase in peripheral blood lymphocytes and decrease that CD4+/CD8+ lymphocyte ratio. This suggests that aromatherapy could be beneficial when treating illnesses that requires either an increase in peripheral blood lymphocytes or a reduction in CD8+ lymphocytes.⁹

Best aromas for stress management and well-being:


1. Bergamot

2. Geranium

3. Jasmine

4. Lavender

5. Lemon

6. Sage

7. Thyme

8. Ylang ylang


It wasn’t until recently that aromatherapy has become popular within the clinical world. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done. However, most studies have indicated significant benefits from aromatherapy with no significant side effects.


Aromatherapy can alleviate some conditions, but remember that it’s a complementary practice so it’s not mean to replace an approved treatment plan.


Different oils have different effects so be mindful when making your selection.




Endnotes

  1. Clark, J. (n.d.). Aromatherapy. Retrieved June 20, 2020, from https://www.alliance-aromatherapists.org/aromatherapy

  2. Buckle, J. (2015). Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice. [eBook edition]. Elsevier Publication. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zODTBQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=aromatherapy&ots=ypAX0jSAOK&sig=ZItberoByMRDJzXeaqdQ1ZV4720#v=onepage&q=insomnia&f=false

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Ibid.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Blackburn, L., Achor, S., Allen, B., Bauchmire, N., Dunnington, D, et al. Oncology Nursing Forum; Pittsburgh. 44(4), (Jul 2017): E185-E193. DOI:10.1188/17.ONF.E185-E193.

  8. Hiroko, K., Satoko ,W., Takaaki, N., Ichiro, S., Masakazu K., et al. (2005). Immunological and Psychological Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage. Advance Access Publication. 2(2), 179–184. doi:10.1093/ecam/neh087

  9. Ibid.