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What is aromatherapy?

A little background to aromatherapy - what it is, how it works and how it can help you.

Physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing

Aromatherapy is a treatment designed to help maintain physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing by the correct application of pure essential oils.


The word 'aroma' means a fragrance or sweet smell and the word therapy simply means a treatment designed to bring about a positive change in an individual.Since an aromatherapy treatment is concerned with creating balance and equilibrium within a person, its primary uses are to calm, uplift, detoxify, de-stress and invigorate – in others words, to help the body to help itself to regain health or wellbeing. Although many people assume that aromatherapy is simply a fragrant massage, the real effects of clinical aromatherapy treatments can be deeper and more therapeutic than this.

Aromatherapy essential oils

Plant oils have been used as therapy and in cosmetics for thousands of years with records going back to ancient Egypt.


Essential oils are made from essences that are present in the flowers, leaves, roots, peel, resin and bark of some plants. Essences release a unique fragrance when plants are crushed. If essences are removed from plants in a natural way, essential oils are produced. Some examples of essential oils include lavender and rosemary.

Essential oils can be absorbed by your body through your skin or they can have an effect on you through your sense of smell. Some of the ways essential oils can be used are provided below:

  • Oils can be blended in carrier oil and massaged into your skin

  • You can add a few drops of oil to warm bath water

  • Oils can be added to water and then you can soak a cloth in the water to apply compresses to your skin

  • You can directly inhale some oils (if you have asthma you may be advised not to do this).

  • Oils can be added to an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporiser

  • You can spray oils on to your furniture, bed linen or tissues

When you smell essential oils, it stimulates your olfactory system – the part of your brain that is connected to smell. Some research suggests that certain essential oils may have an effect on your mood, causing you to feel relaxed or stimulated. In addition, the gentle massage often used to apply oils to your skin is likely to have a relaxing effect.


Read more: The Benefits of Aromatherapy