7 Amazing Benefits of Aromatherapy You Probably Didn't Know

Aromatherapy and essential oils have grown more and more popular since reaching mainstream in 2016. Since then, it’s projected to have a continuous growth up to the year 2025. But what is the reason behind the growth of this booming industry?

Here’s the secret.

aromatherapy productsMassage aromatherapy using essential oils has grown more and more popular. Photo Credit: Medgadget

The Benefits of Aromatherapy

Just to be clear, we will be focusing on aromatherapy massage in this article. It’s a type of aromatherapy where the oil blend used for the massage contains an essential oil (or oils) and a carrier oil. Although, note that there are some benefits that you can get from both the inhaled version of aromatherapy and massage therapy.

Anyway, people have heard of and experienced the benefits that aromatherapy provides, which then led to its popularity. But the next question that probably popped in your head is,

“How beneficial is aromatherapy? What’s in it for me?”

And that’s exactly what we will answer for you.

We did a side-by-side comparison with two of the world's biggest essential oil brands.

Brands Comparison

Here are the benefits of aromatherapy you probably didn’t know until now.

Essential oils used in aromatherapy come from actual medicinal plants, which explains its medical capabilities. In return, you get to take advantage of these benefits:

1. Better sleep quality

When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep?

Can't remember? Well that says a lot.

We all know how important sleep is, but there are times when it's not really your choice to stay up late. Who doesn’t want sleep? Unfortunately, some of us could barely get 7-8 hours of sleep, and it’s affecting your health.

If there’s a particular group of people in the world that’s almost always sleep deprived, they’re the healthcare professionals. In fact, the Taichung Veterans General Hospital even supported a research study conducted on nurses and their quality of life during and after work hours. 

a woman sleeping peacefullyBecause of the relaxing effects of aromatherapy, it has been widely used to help improve sleep quality and battle insomnia. Photo Credit: iStock

The study focused on the effects of aromatherapy massage on the sleep quality of the selected nurses with rotating night shifts. They focused on night shift nurses since those who work graveyard shifts have been found to have worse health problems.

The researchers even mentioned that “thus, it is necessary to improve sleep problems of nurses who work with rotating shifts to prevent sleep disorders and increase overall life quality.”

So what happened after the research?

The study showed that aromatherapy massage provided the nurses with improved sleep quality. It was so effective that they recommended aromatherapy to be a part of programs that support the health and well being of employees.

The soothing effects of aromatherapy will help you recover faster from fatigue and promote better sleep. So if you have trouble sleeping, or if you just want to improve the quality of your sleep, then aromatherapy massage is something you should try. 

Planning on having aromatherapy at home? The most common essential oils for better sleep quality include lavender, ylang ylang, and bergamot. We also have an entire collection called Dream Time collection, where you can blend together six of the best essential oils for better sleep. 

2. Respiratory system support

The respiratory system is comprised of your nose, mouth, throat, and lungs. In a medical terms, it’s made up of your airways (nose, pharynx, larynx, bronchi, bronchioles, and trachea), lungs, and muscles responsible for breathing called the diaphragm.

If you’re wondering if aromatherapy can cover each part of the respiratory system, the answer is yes, it can. Well, it would only make sense since your respiratory system is one of the biggest reasons why you appreciate the aroma of the essential oils, right? Aromatherapy can help solve your problems with allergies, sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory ailments.

You see, during an allergy attack or any respiratory problem you experience, parts of your respiratory system become inflamed and irritated. The inflammation may be caused by a lot of things like pollen and bacteria.

Essential oils give you a fighting chance against the inflammation because they have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. For this reason, the oils have the ability relax and soothe your inflamed muscles and kill bacteria in the process.

Massaging your chest, throat, temples, and other aching areas can reduce pain and burning sensation. Aside from the soothing effects of the massage, the aroma of some particular essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus can decongest your airways and help you breathe better.

We’re not saying you should replace your most trusted medicines though. The effectiveness of aromatherapy will still depend on the severity of your condition. However, you can still use aromatherapy to support your medications, relax your mind and body, and also to help you recover faster.

The most commonly used essential oils for respiratory support include eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, and peppermint essential oil. Peppermint essential oil is one of the mild essential oils of the mint family. It may be mild, but it can still pack a punch against respiratory issues.  

3. Pain relief or management

More and more people are using essential oils instead of over-the-counter medicines because some of the meds can have a lot of side effects. Even worse, the more you use them, the less they work because your body develops an immunity to the drug. As a result, you will need to take higher doses of the pain reliever before it kicks in. Unfortunately, the dose can only go so far before it damages your liver and kidneys, which calls for even more medicines and bills.

On the brighter side of the spectrum, essential oils have been found to have pain-relieving capabilities – minus the potential overdose and damage to your internal organs. It can help manage – if not relieve – different types of pain like chronic, muscle, joint, and bone pain.

Chronic pain is considered one of the worst types of pain. It can be paralyzing and frustrating and can cause mental and emotional distress. Luckily, the soothing effects of massage aromatherapy can help you tackle both the physical and mental pain that you experience.

Muscle, joint, and bone pain is fairly common, and you usually just let your body heal itself and wait for the pain to go away. However, in the event that it keeps up longer than a few days, massage aromatherapy can definitely help you with that.

Back pain is the most common type of muscle or joint pain in America because most of us have desk jobs. It can limit your movement and affect your work. So as soon as so get home, massage the aching area with an essential oil mixed with a carrier oil to relieve the pain.

Sleep is also an important part in the healing process of pain. Since massage aromatherapy can improve sleep, your body will be able to heal better.

The most effective essential oils for pain management include basil, peppermint, lavender, bergamot, and rosemary essential oil. If you're still just figuring out essential oil blends, you can use one for now. We recommend rosemary essential oil because it's one of the best when it come to various health issues. 

4. Helps with depression symptoms

Depression is one of the most common yet misunderstood mental illnesses that take away lives every day. It affects what you think of yourself, how you feel, and your overall motivation to do anything. It can make you feel sadness and emptiness, a feeling of hopelessness, and a lack of interest in things you usually love.

It may sound a bit of an attitude problem for some, which explains why it’s misunderstood. However, it’s actually more than that. Depression can cause significant neurobiological consequences that affect the structure and function of a person’s brain.

People with depression have been found to have lower production of dopamine and serotonin, which are also called as the feel-good hormones.

Luckily, the scent of the essential oils can activate certain areas of our brains – particularly the amygdala and hippocampus. This activation causes your body to release different hormones. 

Massage aromatherapy can help a person fight the symptoms of depression because the aroma of the essential oils activates your brain through your scent receptors. For this reason, your body will be triggered to produce more dopamine and serotonin, and you already know what happens next!

It sounds easy. However, it will take a while before the effects of massage aromatherapy can be felt. People with depression also have low sensitivity to smell. However, sometimes the loss of sense of smell can also develop into depression. With that in mind, there may be slow progress, depending on how the person receives the treatment.

Just know that if you have depression – or if you know someone with depression – the world cares, and there are a lot of options you can do to fight it. You can find mood-boosting essential oils here at Aroma Foundry!

The most common essential oils that help with depression symptoms include basil, bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, patchouli, peppermint, rosemary, and ylang ylang essential oil. 

Learn more about the essential oils that can help with depression

5. Increased relaxation

a relaxed man lying on a couchAromatherapy is mostly popular because of its calming effects. Photo Credit: Dreamstime.com

Just like what we’ve mentioned before, the smell receptors in your nose sense the aroma of the essential oils. They then send signals to your brain that cause it to release chemicals which gives you the sensation of relaxation.

When you use essential oils for massage aromatherapy, the massage itself helps relax your tense muscles. The aroma then increases the relaxation that you experience. It’s also called holistic aromatherapy treatment, where the combined scent of the oils and its absorption by your skin relieves stress from your body.

Increased relaxation can have a lot of benefits to your health. You may have heard that stress is the real killer, right? That’s very much true. Stress can have detrimental effects on your immune system, making you vulnerable to illnesses.

Massage aromatherapy – or any type of aromatherapy for that matter – can help boost your body’s immune system. With its antioxidant capabilities, aromatherapy can detoxify your body and help your immune system fight free radicals.

In addition, the best thing about massage aromatherapy is that you can do it yourself. Just make sure that you do a patch test before putting essential oils on your skin, and we also always recommend mixing the oil with a carrier oil.

You can start with your feet first and work your way to your head. Focus on your stress areas, like the feet, legs, wrists, and temples. Focusing on stress areas can help upgrade the relaxation effects of your massage.

The most commonly used essential oils for relaxation include lavender, eucalyptus, ylang ylang, peppermint, cedarwood, and lemongrass essential oil.

Learn more about the essential oils that can help you relax

6. Helps manage the effects of cancer and cancer treatments

If there’s anything that can make anyone feel distressed, it’s finding out they have cancer.

As much as we want, essential oils or massage aromatherapy can’t cure cancer. However, it can help alleviate the stress that cancer patients experience and help manage the effects of the treatments.

Little did people know, one of the factors that can determine if a person will recover from cancer is the patient’s mental health. Your body can get even more sick if you don’t have the will to get better – not just with cancer but also with other illnesses. Depression can weaken your immune system, which significantly affects your recovery from your ailments.

Putting massage aromatherapy into the picture to help with the mood of cancer patients can make them feel a little less sick. In fact, a study conducted on hospice patients with terminal cancer and the effects of aromatherapy on pain management, anxiety, and depression, showed positive results.

The study showed that hand massage with essential oils could improve how the patients handled pain, and also reduced the symptoms of depression.

Another study focused on fatigue caused by cancer and cancer treatments, and how aromatherapy affected the patients. This study also had positive results. The patients had improved Cancer Fatigue Scale (CFS) scores, with no negative effects found. Moreover, the patients even wanted to continue the aromatherapy treatment.

Overall, the purpose of the essential oils with regards to cancer is to improve the wellbeing of the patients These people had it worse than more than half of the human race, we may as well find some way for them to feel a little less bad about it, right?

The essential oils used for managing the effects of cancer and cancer treatments include citrus oils, lemongrass, peppermint, and lavender essential oil. Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular oils in the industry. You may also find that lavender is easier to get because it's pretty much everywhere, so be careful where you purchase them. 

Learn more about the essential oils that can help with cancer treatment

7. Improves productivity

As much as aromatherapy can improve your mood, it can also improve your productivity at work. A Japanese-funded research focused on the effects of fragrances on the productivity of employees, and the study showed positive results.

They found that certain scents can have effects on the typing errors for employees that work with computers. To be specific, they used lemon, jasmine, and lavender. Lemon essential oil garnered 54% fewer errors in typing, jasmine with 33%, and lavender with 20%.

Further explanation by the experts from the University of Maryland Medical Center also mentioned that the scents have positive effects on a person. Mainly, the essential oils can have favorable effects on your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

The calming effects of the essential oils also contribute to the productivity boost that you get. Since you’re calmer and less stressed, better and more ideas flow smoothly in your head, motivating you to work better.

 

At the same time, you can also use essential oils that boost energy and focus. You can mix two or more essential oils together and still get the effects of each one. All you have to do is massage your neck or hands with essential oils diluted with a carrier oil for a few minutes, and you can immediately feel its effects.

The essential oils that help improve productivity include peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, and lavender.

How to use essential oils in aromatherapy massage

Now that you know the benefits of aromatherapy massage and its impact on your health and performance, the next thing you might want to know is how to use them.

a woman having a massageAromatherapy massage is one of the most popular treatments for stress relief. Photo Credit: Purple Turtle Wellbeing

For starters, you need to know what essential oil or oils you will be using. The oil you choose depends on what you want to achieve. There is no determinate list that says what essential oil you should use for a particular type of condition. However, certain oils will have specific effects on your body, which is what you need to know first. You can refer to the list of benefits you’ve read above to choose.

Next, since essential oils have high concentration, you’ll have to choose a carrier oil to dilute it with. Take note that you don’t randomly choose a carrier oil, each one has its own share of benefits. Be sure to research more about carriers too, before mixing anything. But since you’re here, some of the most commonly used carrier oils include coconut, olive, jojoba, sweet almond, argan, and avocado oil.

Some aromatherapy practitioners blend two or more essential oils for added effects. We suggest that you read more about each type of essential oil so that you will be able to choose effectively. Some aromatherapists may have their own mixes or blends, the most common oils used in blends include lavender and rosemary, but don’t hesitate to ask them about it. This will also let you see if they’re legit or not. A knowledgeable aromatherapist only uses quality oils, so you’d want to know if they know their stuff.

If you plan on doing it on your own, then simply massage the area you wish to feel the effects of the oils most. You can do this before you sleep so you will not have to worry about oily and sticky skin throughout the day.

Precautions

The most important precaution you should know about receiving aromatherapy massage mostly involves the effects of the essential oils on your skin. This is why we always tell you to do a patch test before anything. The test will tell you if your skin is compatible with the oil you want to use.

Most of the precautions in aromatherapy massage are for pregnant women since women are more sensitive to a lot of things during this time. It’s essential that you know your sensitivity to certain aromas, as some may trigger unwanted allergic reactions. It’s wise if you smell the oil first. If you feel nauseous after smelling a particular oil, then stay away from it.

In general, we don’t recommend aromatherapy for pregnant women because oils can have harmful effects on the baby. Nonetheless, not all essential oils are bad for pregnancy, but some of the oils you need to stay away from are peppermint, star anise, fennel, lemon, lemongrass, citron, wintergreen, garlic, and onion.

On the other hand, essential oils safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding include lavender, frankincense, ylang ylang, eucalyptus, bergamot, tea tree, cypress, and spearmint. Still, we recommend that you check with your doctor first before using any essential oil on your body.

Furthermore, we never recommend ingesting essential oils to our customers – pregnant or not. There may be claims saying that essential oils can help with digestive problems when ingested, but we don’t advise that you do it. Mainly, because it’s impossible to test if your gut microbiome will be compatible with an oil aside from actually taking it orally. It’s Russian roulette, really.

If you’re lucky, you may have improved digestive health. The antibacterial capabilities of essential oils can help kill the harmful bacteria in your stomach, but at the same time, your gut has diverse microbiota, which is necessary for healthy digestion. The antibacterial abilities of the oil may also affect the good bacteria and cause digestive problems.

Do understand that we don’t want you to rely on luck because it’s also putting your health at risk. We want you to enjoy the benefits of our essential oils without putting your health on the line.

Summary

Aromatherapy massage can have a substantial effect in improving your day-to-day life. As long as you follow simple precautions, you will be able to experience all the benefits we mentioned in this article.

If you’re wondering where you can get the essential oils we recommended, just check out our store for all the natural essential oils we have available for you.

Resources

  1. The Effects of Aromatherapy Massage on Sleep Quality. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5518528/
  2. he Effects of Aromatherapy Massage on Sleep Quality. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5518528/
  3. Aromatherapy Market Analysis. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/aromatherapy-market
  4. Antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender essential oil. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26247152
  5. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of essential oils of Eucalyptus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14611892
  6. How Essential Oils Work for Depression. https://bebrainfit.com/essential-oils-depression/#how-essential-oils-work-for-depression
  7. Neurobiology of depression: an integrated view of key findings. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2228409/
  8. Combined Modality Treatment of Aromatherapy, Footsoak, and Reflexology Relieves Fatigue in Patients with Cancer. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jpm.2004.7.791
  9. Effects of Aroma Hand Massage on Pain, State Anxiety and Depression in Hospice Patients with Terminal Cancer. https://synapse.koreamed.org/DOIx.php?id=10.4040/jkan.2008.38.4.493
  10. An evaluation of the use of massage and essential oils on the wellbeing of cancer patients. https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/ijpn.1995.1.2.67
  11. Productivity Hack Of The Week: Use Aromatherapy To Improve Your Work. https://www.fastcompany.com/3036242/productivity-hack-of-the-week-use-aromatherapy-to-improve-/li>
View all resources
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