Many people use essential oils for a variety of purposes, such as aromatherapy for relaxation, alertness, and even healing. Materials from Life Science Publishers provide details about which oils produce a range of effects. Skeptics may wonder if aromatherapy actually is useful for anything other than some minor adjustments to one’s emotional state. Sure, a pleasant scent wafting through the room may help someone feel more content or invigorated, but does aromatherapy really have any positive effects on physical and mental health?
Lavender’s Calming Effects
Most research on the subject verifies that certain essential oils are indeed useful for creating positive changes in emotions. Studies have shown, for example, that the scent of lavender is calming for nursing home patients with dementia who become agitated. Studies also indicate that this specific scent can improve the general quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This is not a case in which any pleasant scent is found soothing since lavender specifically has these beneficial effects compared with other fragrances that have been tried.
Lavender for Reducing Pain
Interestingly, lavender oil also appears to have other beneficial effects. Aromatherapy with lavender has been shown to reduce pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis and with other types of chronic pain. Lavender oil may be especially appropriate as a complementary therapy. A person with knee osteoarthritis, for instance, may feel better when combining conventional medical treatment with lavender oil aromatherapy.
The scent is not claimed to actually heal arthritis damage, but rather to have a positive effect on the nervous system so discomfort is minimized. This could allow the patient to take lower doses of pain relief medication than had been the case previously.
Studies about healing properties of the myriad of essential oils available are scant. Nevertheless, the research that has been conducted, along with anecdotal reports from naturopaths, massage therapists, and individual users, supports the use of aromatherapy. A person who would like to try essential oil aromatherapy for improvement of specific symptoms and mood will want to learn which scents are considered most favorable for that particular need.