If you are looking for a natural way to relieve stress, consider aromatherapy. People have been relying on the benefits of soothing scents since ancient times. Your sense of smell has a direct link to how you feel; just think about how a particular scent takes you back in time, such as a the smell of cookies baking in your childhood home. Aromatherapy practitioners say certain scents can ease tension and boost your sense of well-being.
About Essential Oils
Aromatherapy uses essentials oils to affect brain chemistry. These oils come from the seeds, flowers, roots and other parts of medicinal plants.
How the Oils are Used
Essential oils can be released into the air by spraying or heating them or using an open diffuser. They can also be added to bath water. Some massage therapists work the oils into the skin.
How Aromatherapy Works
Some research shows that aromatherapy can prompt the brain to release endorphins and serotonin, which are chemical neurotransmitters that reduce your sense of pain and stress. Practitioners also believe the essential oils trigger changes in blood pressure, pulse rate and other functions.
When scientists have looked to measure the effectiveness of aromatherapy in treating stress, the results have been mixed. Some have found certain scents do ease stress. For example, some studies have found that aromatherapy can help cancer patients improve their mood and lower anxiety and pain. However, others have found inconclusive results.
As the traditional practice of aromatherapy gains popularity, more research is under way into how best to use this alternative way to ease symptoms of stress.
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“The Human Brain – Relieve Stress.” The Franklin Institute – Home – 215.448.1200 . N.p., n.d. Web. 31 July 2012. <http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/relieve.html>.
“Aromatherapy.” University of Maryland Medical Center | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 July 2012. <http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/aromatherapy-000347.htm>.
“Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.” Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 July 2012. <http://www.cancer.umn.edu/cancerinfo/NCI/CDR458089.html>