February 23, 2023
You don’t have to be a full-blown essential oil devotee to get the most out of aromatherapy in your everyday life. In fact many products from skincare, to bodycare and wellness products add essential oils into their formulations for their therapeutic benefits. The thing about essential oils though is that why they seem harmless, they can actually be extremely allergenic, so it’s always best to leave it to the expert formulators (that’s where their research, development and money goes after all). If you’re essential-oil curious, here’s how to get a dose in everyday life, with some tried-and-tested products we love.
What is aromatherapy?
First a little refresher for the uninitiated: Aromatherapy is essential oils and aromatic plant oils to aid wellbeing. It’s a centuries-old practice that has spanned many cultures, however the modern version is trained back to France. The theory is that the smells provoke different reactions in the body - both emotional and physiological - and aromatherapists mix different blends for different people depending on the ailments.
Smell, as we know, affects the body’s limbic system which is responsible for arousal, memory and emotions, so it makes sense that some essential oils will help with certain feelings. In everyday life we most commonly see them used for calm, sleep, energy and focus. Here’s what you need to know, and how you can make them a part of your everyday.
Aromatherapy for calm:
The last few years have given us a lot to stress about, so if many days you feel like you’re holding you breath, this might be for you. There are a couple oils that play in this space, and the most well-known is lavender. It’s also been the most widely studied for its calming and soothing effects, and it’s also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties too. One you might not know is actually the citrus oil, bergamot. In a 2015 study bergamot orange was shown to reduce anxiety in rats, and while yes these are human, it’s still impressive. There’s also Vetiver, a native Indian that is common in Ayurvedic medicine. A 2001 study found this “green” smelling scent to be effective in treating ADHD in children thanks to its calming benefits. If you’re feeling out-of-sorts, or just looking for some zen in your life these may be for you.
Try: Badger Balm Lavender and Orange Lip Balm, $7.95; Infinite She Yuzu + Vetiver Hydrating Body Lotion, $44.95; Willelaine Sleep Aromatherapy Roll On, $12; Willelaine Meditate Room and Linen Mist, $17
Aromatherapy for energy:
This is where citrus oils do their best work. Orange, tangerine and lemon are the big players here boosting energy because their uplifting zesty aromas,are like an extra shot of coffee – they bring the pep. Lemon oil is thought to be a stimulant, and some believe it improves cognitive function because of the limonene content while eucalyptus oil, basil oil and peppermint oil can also help when you’re low on energy.
Try: Al.live Body Australia Lemongrass and Eucalyptus Clay Body Scrub, $24 ; Badger Balm Tangerine Breeze Lip Balm$7.95; Al.live Body Australia Dishwashing Liquid and Hand Wash Kitchen Duo, $52
Aromatherapy for focus:
We’ve all been there with the brain fog, but there’s a way to help clear it with essential oils – if you know which ones to choose. Studies have found that Rosemary is one of the stars here because it contains certain chemical compounds that can change the performance of your memory. It does this by increasing a neurotransmitter that looks after learning, memory and cognition. Peppermint also plays a part here, and can enhance concentration and alertness. You know how a peppermint gives you a little spicy awake burst? Similar effect so if you’re about to tackle your taxes, some peppermint oil could be in your future.
Try: Wild Emery Focus Shower Steamer, $8; Badger Balm Focus Balm, $16.95; WIld Emery Black Mint Natural Soap,$14