It’s no surprise that our senses have a significant influence on our daily lives. If it weren’t for them, it would be quite difficult for us to navigate. If we’re not using our eyesight when we’re discerning our surroundings, we use our sense of smell or hearing.
While our sense of smell isn’t as sensitive as other types of mammals, it’s still used for most of our daily lives. Whether cooking, trying out new perfumes, knowing if food has expired, or telling if there’s a gas leak, our sense of smell has given us the right amount of safety and security. But other than just being used for navigating our environment, our senses are also used to entertain ourselves.
Our sense of smell is also closely related to our memory. Most of the time, we associate a lot of our experiences with scents. Want to remember that one time that you went to the beach? Then you might enjoy the smell of a zesty lemon drink that you’ve had a while you were there.
How Does Aromatherapy Help Us?
Other times, our breathing and sense of smell can also be used to treat certain medical conditions or to help relax our mind. For thousands of years, people have been using our sense of smell and breathing for meditation, crafting ideas, and discovering new introspective insights. One particular activity has been causing a lot of buzz lately, and there is an ongoing debate on its effectiveness: aromatherapy.
If you’re not familiar with aromatherapy, it’s a form of treatment that involves the use of an essential oil geared for therapeutic use, which is often extracted from plants and herbs. Most individuals claim that they have a tasty variety of health benefits since they are made of natural organic ingredients.
Do these claims hold? Well, here’s what we know:
There have been claims that aromatherapy can help with psychological conditions, such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- An improved sleeping cycle
- A general improvement in the quality of life for those that have long-term health conditions
Some studies suggest that aromatherapy does help when it comes to physiological conditions:
- Reduces pain in the knees which is usually caused by arthritis
- Helps mitigate memory loss, which generally happens to people with dementia
- Reduces the formation of kidney stones
How Does It Work?
These essential oils are usually distilled from different parts of plants. There are several ways of applying, but most of the type is through massages, air purifying devices, lotions, and air humidifiers. Some oils have to be ingested, but most professionals have called this into question since research is scarce.
It should be worth noting that aromatherapy on miniature air purifiers is not meant to replace ventilation shafts and air purification systems specifically designed for your home. You might want to invest in air vent cleaning or a more efficient air purification system if you are looking to improve your living space’s air quality.
As mentioned before, our sense of smell is linked to our memory and, ultimately, our emotions. Aromatherapy is known for stimulating these receptors that are related to sending messages to our nervous system, which can help control our feelings.
However, users should also be aware that when these types of oils are applied to your skin, there is a possibility that it can cause allergic reactions, irritation, and sensitivity. Some sources suggest that it might affect pregnancy. As such, it’s always recommended to see a professional medical practitioner before making any final decisions.
Does the FDA Regulate It?
Many essential oils are proven to be safe when they are used with the proper instructions. Still, essential oils that are used in therapy are not regulated by the FDA and should be used with caution.
If you are consumer, it is wise to do the following steps if you’re in doubt:
- Ask for advice from a licensed expert on the field.
- Assess if the oil will be beneficial to you. Doing some background research on the different components will shed light on contradictions.
While aromatherapy does provide the right amount of benefits to the human body, studies of it are limited. Sure, it can be used for your everyday relief, as a way of calming yourself, or as an oil for massages, but there’s no guarantee that it will have the same effects as most medicine types.
If you’re looking for more effective ways of soothing pain and other health complications, you should look for medication or seek professional advice from your physician.