More often than not, aromatherapy is thought to be no more than just a means to make our homes smell like a day spa. Through the years, however, Western medicine has started to explore the many great benefits of aromatherapy for patients with degenerative diseases, particularly in stress reduction among cancer and autoimmune patients.
Huffington Post blogger Dr. Julie Chen, for one, counts aromatherapy as one of the complementary treatment modalities she recommends to her patients. Chen explains how it works: "When we are exposed to an aroma, the molecules are exposed to our olfactory epithelium, our nasal receptors. The transmission of this signal from the exposure of the fragrance molecule to our brain leads to interpretation of the scent in our brain centers, which involve memory, sensory perception, general processing center, and to a gland in our brain that mediates chemical secretion into our blood and other parts of our brain, just to name a few effects.
"With such intricacy of neuro-processing involved in our body's interpretation of a fragrance, it's no wonder that many patients eventually become staunch supporters of using aromatherapy to help them with a variety of daily health concerns," she said in her piece on the popular blogging site.
One of the best and easiest ways to use aromatherapy scents of course is bathing with it. Here are our recommendations from Home Spa on how you can use its shower spray scents in improving your physical and emotional state, as well as to facilitate healing, should you be suffering from any medical condition.
Home Spa Lavender
According to an article by the University of Maryland Medical Center, a number of studies have shown that lavender aromatherapy oil boosts the mood and can treat insomnia by relaxing the nervous system. It also benefits people with autoimmune diseases like alopecia, stressed persons, and those who have just undergone surgery. The article also notes that lavender is used in "inhalation therapy" for treating headaches, nervous disorders, and physical stress. Another study, noted the University, found the effectiveness of lavender vapors for pain control among patients up for breast biopsy surgery.
Home Spa Tangerine
The sweet, orangy scent of tangerine works well in reducing anxiety and stress, according to the Fibromyalgia Treatment website. The scent of tangerine also comes in handy apparently when you're stressing out about a dental appointment. A study done by the University Clinic of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria has proven that orange scents and lavender scents can reduce anxiety and boost the mood of patients waiting for their turn at their dentist's clinic. Tangerine aromatherapy oils are also one of the safest essential oils that pregnant women can use, according to the book Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green.
Home Spa Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus has long been known as an agent for pain relief. Its soothing scent cools down fatigued and sore muscles, penetrating deep into them. According to an article penned by American Herb Association Kathi Keville on HowStuffWorks, aromatherapists also use eucalyptus vapors for "clearing the air" literally and figuratively. Its scent is believed to resolve interpersonal disagreements and in calming the senses. Eucalyptus vapors also help in decongesting cloggy nose in the event of a flu. Keville suggests adding three to four drops of eucalyptus oil in your batch to relieve sinus problems and lung congestions.
Home Spa Pink Grapefruit
Just like its citrus sibling tangerine, pink grapefruit soothes stress and anxiety well. Interestingly, the scent of pink grapefruit has been found to stimulate lipolysis (i.e. fat burning) in a study done by Niigata University researchers. This means your body could metabolize fats just by smelling pink grapefruit scent, or other citrus scents for that matter.