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What are the Benefits of Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy harnesses the power of plant extracts to improve body, mind, and spirit wellness. It can reduce anxiety, enhance sleep, and alleviate pain through the olfactory system's influence on the brain. Essential oils like lavender soothe, while peppermint energizes. Intrigued by how these scents can transform your daily routine? Discover the aromatic journey to well-being with our visual guide. What scent will you explore first?
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Aromatherapy is the science of using essential oils in a way that promotes an improved sense of well being. The benefits of aromatherapy include aiding relaxation, relieving stress, and boosting energy levels. Aromatherapy can also be used to treat migraine headaches, indigestion, arthritis, menstrual cramps, and other minor physical ailments.

People who are new to aromatherapy often confuse essential oils with fragrance oils, but these two products serve entirely different purposes. Fragrance oils are synthetic scents that have been created in a laboratory, while essential oils are made from natural plant extracts. Both have a pleasing smell, but only essential oils offer the benefits of aromatherapy. Essential oils are also significantly more expensive than fragrance oils, since they are highly concentrated and must be harvested with great care.

Grapeseed oil, which can be used as a carrier oil to dilute essential oil.
Grapeseed oil, which can be used as a carrier oil to dilute essential oil.

Although it is true that some people take essential oils internally to achieve the maximum benefits of aromatherapy, this is a practice that should never be done without the supervision of a trained aromatherapist. Essential oils may be all-natural products, but this does not mean that they are completely harmless. Many oils used in aromatherapy can have dangerous side effects if not taken correctly.

Scented lotion and an aromatherapy candle.
Scented lotion and an aromatherapy candle.

The most common way for people to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy at home is with an aromatherapy massage. However, it is important to remember that essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin. If you wish to experience the benefits of aromatherapy through massage, you’ll need to dilute the essential oil with a special carrier oil before applying it to your skin. Grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, and apricot kernel oil are the most common aromatherapy carrier oils.

Planting lavender may deter stray cats.
Planting lavender may deter stray cats.

You can also enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy by purchasing scented candles, soaps, or body lotions. If you have some experience with soap making or candle making, you can also create your own homemade aromatherapy products. Just remember that whenever an essential oil is being dispersed through a scented product, you’re not achieving the maximum therapeutic benefits that would come from a more direct application approach.

Aromatherapy has been used to treat menstrual cramps.
Aromatherapy has been used to treat menstrual cramps.

While aromatherapy is becoming increasingly popular among those who are interested in alternative medicine, the benefits of aromatherapy aren’t for everyone. Certain essential oils can be dangerous for pregnant women and children. People with epilepsy, heart disease, asthma, or other chronic medical conditions should also be cautious when experimenting with the benefits of aromatherapy. If you have questions about whether aromatherapy is safe for you, consult your healthcare provider.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the TheHealthBoard team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

Learn more...
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the TheHealthBoard team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments


For those who want to make their love life more satisfying adding some aromatherapy to your time with your partner can be a great idea. Aromatherapy offers a wide range of oils that can be used to scent a base massage oil.

Some of the best oils for couple massages are jasmine, and ylang ylang, which are both considered to be aphrodisiacs in many cultures. If you want to relax from a tense day you and your partner could try patchouli oil to help you calm down.

Ginger oil and juniper berry oil are famed for their ability to renew people’s vigor and self-assurance. Having an oil that makes you feel more confident certainly couldn't hurt.


If you want to start out trying aromatherapy at home you can get some immediate benefits from just adding essential oils into your daily beauty regime.

I have found that taking a hot bath with a mix of lavender, chamomile, ylang-ylang, neroli, sandalwood and marjoram essential oils can really help you sleep if you suffer from insomnia or restlessness at night.

If you want something that will make your hair healthier adding a few drops of tea tree oil can really purify your scalp, while something like sage oil can work as a clarifier for your hair.

Doing research into essential oils can lead you to some amazing uses for aromatherapy.


Is anyone else familiar with the television show "Pushing Daisies"? One of their story lines showed one of the characters buying aromatherapy products from a salesman so that she could bake them into pies, which she gave to relatives.

True to life, one character actually "overdosed" on them- all that happened was that she felt sick and had some hallucinations, rather than any permanent effects, but I liked that this show was able to somewhat realistically portray what would happen if you used these products irresponsibly, and it did it in a way that still fit the story lines and had humor as well.


@orangey03 - Sandalwood is great. Did you know it can also be used to relieve coughs that just won’t go away? I used it to relieve my bronchitis. It helped with the sore throat as well, because the less I had to cough, the less my throat got irritated.

I used twelve drops of sandalwood oil per ounce of vegetable oil to dilute it. I rubbed it on my chest and neck. As an added bonus, the scent helped calm my anxiety as I lay there thinking about how much work I was missing due to my cough.


My favorite aromatherapy involves sandalwood. I became very interested in it after smelling the relaxing scent in a diffuser at a friend’s house.

My friend informed me that sandalwood trees take at least 50 years to mature. They are cut down and left for the ants to consume everything but the roots and the fragrant hardwood. This is how sandalwood essential oils are obtained.

I have heard that it is good for treating bladder infections, but I use it to calm my nerves. Actual research has shown that it relaxes the brain waves, and I can definitely benefit from that.


Since I have a chronic kidney condition, I do not want to risk exposure to essential oils directly. I do benefit from indirect aromatherapy through scented household items, though. I can notice a change in my state of mind from them.

I burn scented vanilla candles when I need to calm down and experience a sense of domesticity. The aroma reminds me of baking. I use orange scented soap in the shower to help me wake up in the morning. I place cedar shavings in my bedroom to help me sleep. I plug in a tropical scented air freshener in the summer and a harvest scented one in the fall.


I have several bottles of essential oils and like to use aromatherapy blends. I like to keep a small spray bottle of water by my bed and I have a few drops of Lavender, Ylang Ylang, and Cedarwood mixed in with the water.

This makes a wonderful spritzer to freshen up your sheets and pillow between washings or anytime. Those three oils are also known to be very calming and relaxing and may help you relax before going to sleep at night as well.


I use an aromatherapy diffuser in my house all the time. I work at home and am in my office most of the day. I keep a diffuser in my office and every day will add a few drops of essential oils to the water and diffuse them in to the air.

A lot of times I will use straight lemon if I want a very clean, lemon smell. If I want something that is a little bit more relaxing I will use some lavender.

If I am having trouble sleeping I will move the diffuser to the bedroom and use some lavender or sandalwood to help me sleep at night.


Not only do pure essential oils smell good, but there are significant health benefits that can come from using them.

One that I use all the time is peppermint oil. I keep a small bottle of this in my car because I often get very sleepy when I am driving long distances.

I just open up the bottle and put a few drops around my nose and on my temples. The peppermint aromatherapy instantly revives me and helps keep me alert for several more miles. If I feel myself getting sleepy again, I just repeat the process over again.


@speechie - I am thinking of trying the same thing! I get relaxed just thinking of taking a nice warm bath and filling the bathtub with an amazing scent. I love scents and I always have candles burning (safely) in my house.

I have looked at one of the common bath and body stores in the mall and then checked some of the products online. The ones I looked at had received high reviews for smelling great and being slightly relaxing.

So I would suggest going into the store and seeing how your body reacts to the different aromatherapy bath products, and choose the one that makes you feel a little relaxed or makes you think of relaxed. For example, when I smell anything that slightly reminds me of the beach, I think of relaxed.


I see that there are aromatherapists for this but I was just looking at trying some simple aromatherapy bath products that I am always seeing and smell so incredible!

Has anyone tried aromatherapy for you bath products? I am not looking necessarily for a for a big change in my stress level, just something that is slightly relaxing!


This article was very interesting! I always thought aromatherapy was a loose term used to market certain scents. Like when you see a candle marketed as having a 'relaxing' scent.

I am also glad that the article talked about how certain scents can affect seizures. I work at a school for children with such severe disabilities they cannot be integrated into regular school. These children are medically fragile, and we have had a few students with seizure disorders.

With these students it is commonly remembered that certain noises (individual to the student) will cause a seizure, but it is commonly forgot that scents can do this also!

But for my other students with disabilities this article has inspired me to look for more scents to have them enjoy, but to proceed with a specialist!


In my opinion aromatherapy benefits are so varied and amazing I could write pages about them. The ironic thing is that I used to think it was all a lot of mumbo jumbo, something that 'alternative' people indulged in.

Then, about three years ago, a good friend started selling aromatherapy kits from home. She would organize a party, with demonstrations and samples of oils and related products.

Because I wanted to support her I went along, and was quickly hooked. Since then I have trained as a massage therapist, specialising in promoting the health benefits of aromatherapy treatments.

My favorite product is lemongrass essential oil, which is guaranteed to ease stubborn muacle pain, as well as acting as a mood lifter. I have many clients who really appreciate this particular benefit combination.


I had no idea that there was a difference in the kinds of oils that I’ve been using in aromatherapy. I don’t take it internally as some do, but I use it around the house.

I thought that every kind was used the same way, whether synthetic or not. Maybe that’s why my aromatherapy treatments haven’t been giving me the results that I had heard they would produce.

I’m using the wrong kinds of oils! I guess I better hunt down some essential oils instead of the smell-good variety. Maybe it’ll work better then.

Anything to help my migraines and help me relax is worth a little effort.


I will have to agree that the practice of ingesting essential oils is a scary practice if done without proper supervision.

Some people get confused when they hear that something is ‘all natural’ and just assume that that means it’s safe to eat or drink, whichever the case may be.

They tend to forget about the nausea inducing berries on the holly tree and the way that snake venom can kill – both are completely natural and straight out of nature. At the same time, both can really harm you.

That is why it is so important not to go off halfcocked taking essential oils, even if they are straight from Mother Nature. That doesn’t mean that you can’t overdose and really hurt yourself as well.

I've heard that aromatherapy benefits can be huge, but you need to consult a professional before trying it.


I found this article after a friend recommended I try an aromatherapy treatment. I'm grateful for the tips and information, as I had no idea there were so many illnesses or conditions that make this risky.

Luckily I am in good health, but I'll know if I have gone to a good therapist if he or she asks about my medical and health background before beginning any treatment.


@starrynight - That was nice of your friend to give you that oil. Aromatherapy is so awesome!

However, I want to chime in here and say that this article is totally right that you shouldn't try to give someone a massage with just essential oil. A friend of mine had a boyfriend do this to her and she broke out in an awful rash! It kind of ruined their romantic evening.


A good friend of mine is really into aromatherapy. Awhile ago when I was going through a stressful time she gave me an essential oil for stress relief. I believe it was made of lavender and a few other things.

Let me tell you, it really worked! I was pretty skeptical that just smelling something would make feel calmer but it totally did. Also, health benefits aside, the oil smelled delightful!

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    • Grapeseed oil, which can be used as a carrier oil to dilute essential oil.
      By: Anson
      Grapeseed oil, which can be used as a carrier oil to dilute essential oil.
    • Scented lotion and an aromatherapy candle.
      By: matka_Wariatka
      Scented lotion and an aromatherapy candle.
    • Planting lavender may deter stray cats.
      By: Kimberly Reinick
      Planting lavender may deter stray cats.
    • Aromatherapy has been used to treat menstrual cramps.
      By: Ana Blazic Pavlovic
      Aromatherapy has been used to treat menstrual cramps.
    • Lemon essential oil is known for its ability to focus thoughts and center the mind.
      By: viperagp
      Lemon essential oil is known for its ability to focus thoughts and center the mind.
    • Aromatherapy has many benefits, including calming the nerves and appealing the senses.
      By: Günter Menzl
      Aromatherapy has many benefits, including calming the nerves and appealing the senses.
    • Mint oil adds a refreshing, clean scent that may help you feel energized.
      By: Galina Semenko
      Mint oil adds a refreshing, clean scent that may help you feel energized.