Scents can have a powerful effect on the human psyche. They can evoke memories that transport you to another place and time or make you feel closer to a loved one. The right aroma can even wake you up in the morning or help you go to sleep at night.
You may not be aware of just how many ways the right scent can improve your well-being, here is 7 ways aromatherapy can improve your mental health.
1. Aromatherapy Can Reduce Stress
Ever come home at the end of a stressful day, light a candle and feel the day’s worries start to melt away? That’s not just a psychosomatic response. The aroma is acting on your brain, activating your limbic system and according to some studies causing a release of serotonin. Scents like lavender, Bergamot and Ylang Ylang are among those credited with strong stress-reducing properties.
2. The Right Scent Might Help Ease Your Depression
While treatment for depression often involves therapy and other medical remedies, aromatherapy can certainly be part of a holistic approach to mental health. The Mayo Clinic confirms that research has shown a potential link between scent-based treatments and a reduction in depressive symptoms. Jasmine, sandalwood, and chamomile are a few of the recommended aromas, however, you should experiment for yourself and discover which fragrances give you the strongest sense of well-being.
3. Certain Fragrances Can Conquer Insomnia
If you’ve ever struggled with insomnia, you know that sometimes you’re willing to try anything just to get to sleep. The good news is, you may not have to go to extremes. Before you resort to sleeping pills, consider adding aromatherapy involving scents like peppermint, cedarwood, and Bergamot to your evening routine.
4. Aromatherapy May Boost Your Energy
You know how waking up to the smell of fresh coffee or breakfast cooking can really energize your day? Well, that same feeling can also be obtained through the use of aromatherapy. Citrus scents like orange and grapefruit can be especially helpful on a low-energy day. Rosemary and pine are also aromas that are known to invigorate. Try out a candle or essential oil in a scent like Valencia orange next time you need an energy boost.
5. You Can Use Fragrance to Calm Anxiety
Humans have known for centuries that certain aromas are helpful for anxiety, and the science backs it up. A study conducted in 2012 showed that the right scent can cause a physiological response, both lowering blood pressure and regulating the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Patchouli, frankincense, chamomile, and Valerian are all among scents that may effectively treat anxiety.
6. Easing Nausea
Nausea may not seem like a mental health concern, but it most definitely is. Emerging research in digestive health has recently uncovered the existence of the gut-brain connection. In studying disorders like IBS, researchers have discovered that mental health is inherently connected to digestive health.
When you have an upset stomach, taking or eating something to ease your nausea may not be an option. In these situations, aromatherapy can be an excellent and very effective option. Peppermint and ginger have long been known for their stomach-calming properties. Light a candle with one of these aromas or diffuse some essential oil to experience their powerful anti-nausea abilities. You can find good essential oil diffusers anywhere which will disperse the oil well.
7. Aromatherapy Might Cure Your Headache
A headache can make it difficult to go about your day, or even to think sometimes. Head pain interferes with your daily life, creating stress and unpleasant emotions. If you’ve ever had a bad headache that won’t go away, you know that head pain can certainly be considered a mental health issue.
Waiting for traditional medication to take effect often feels like forever. Aromatherapy adherents know, however, that there’s a faster way. Next time your head is pounding, try breathing in the fragrance of rosemary, eucalyptus or peppermint. A candle or some potpourri will work for this, but for the fastest and most effective relief try dabbing a drop of essential oil behind each ear.
Fragrance is More Powerful Than You Know
This list gives a few examples of aromatherapy’s benefits for mental health, but it is far from exhaustive. Fragrance may also be helpful in treating a wide variety of mental health ailments, including those associated with menstruation and menopause.
In addition, exposure to scents you enjoy often just makes you feel happier. Even without the potential health benefits, that enjoyment alone would make aromatherapy worthwhile.
Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for Aromatique. She often produces content for a variety of lifestyle blogs.