Aromatherapy: Must Have or Have Not?
Aromatherapy is over 6,000 years old, but was discovered for commercial use in 1910 by French Chemist Rene-Maurice.
Oh wait, you’re not here for the history/ science lesson? My bad.
Well, aromatherapy has been around for a hella long time, was officially commercialized by this French dude and we don’t know much about it’s scientific effects. . . and that’s all you really need to know.
Okay, we all have that one friend or hippie mom that won’t stop raving about aromatherapy and the miracle it provides them on a daily basis. And of course, they push and push you to try it because it “will change your life!”
I’m not saying don’t listen to your friend but don’t listen to her! She is not a professional and there can be really bad side effects to using aromatherapy without guidance. So, if you do want to try it, pretend like your back in high school and do your research! That’s right, I’m giving you homework now.
Back in the day, aromatherapy was used to replace modern medicine and many French and German doctors still believe in its effects to this day. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t just take some medication your friend recommended without doing some research first, right? Please say no.
Anyway, if you decide that you are way too stressed to function (or have some other reason to try it) don’t expect aromatherapy by itself to be a life changer. You can’t just grab a bottle, quickly smell eucalyptus oil, and expect your life to suddenly become stress free. Even though we know next to nothing about aromatherapy, all the professionals suggest that other stress-relieving methods like baths, meditation, and oils should be used.
Let’s be honest, aromatherapy is only meant to compliment. Our little nose receptors are directly connected to our brains which is why when you smell apple pie you immediately think of your grandma or something. Our sense of smell is there to enhance our relaxation which is why aromatherapy is not a fix-all, and the false expectations often give it a bad wrap. The truth is that aromatherapy probably works better for some people because they use it to aid their existing methods of stress-relief.
What’s great about aromatherapy is that different scents can help alleviate different problems. So, you can target your issue with a specific scent accompanied with your favorite method of relaxation.
For an essential oil guide, click here.
What’s great about all these different scents is that you have so many to choose from. Now you can drag someone to the aromatherapy aisle and smell oils for hours! And if they nag you about it, just tell them that you need to live your best self and that involves catering to your nose. I mean, it’s not your fault you have a picky nose.
And that’s another perk of these beautiful aromatics: you can pick whichever smell you enjoy the most. You can even combine them; the possibilities are endless! Although there are guidelines for what each scent can be used for, there’s no set scent for a specific ailment. So, if you hate the smell of eucalyptus but still need to chillax, then pick one that works! You don’t need to be bogged down by what people tell you to do (unless it’s a professional; I beg you to listen to them).
So! If you’ve decided that you’d like to use oils to aid in your R&R and you’ve found which scent just gets your mind to chill the hell out, then you have the green light to TEST IT. Don’t you jump right in or you’ll do what I did and give yourself a very painful rash.
What you’re supposed to do, and what I thought I was too good for, is get a very small amount of oil (I’m talking like a drop) and test it on clean, even, unbroken skin. If it burns or itches or irritates you in anyway, wash it off girl, cause oil was not meant for you. If you feel easy and breezy, don’t immediately pour half the bottle in your bath and hop on in. Not only is that way too much oil for one bathtub (three-six drops will have you feeling like you’re in a spa) but you need to wait at least 24 hours before you reapply or use a larger dosage.
I know, you’re thinking, “Blah, blah, blah. What does this betch know? She’s not even a professional!” Well, I’ve done my research and experienced the pain first hand. I got eucalyptus oil and dropped like ten drops in my bath. Without thinking, I sank in for ultimate relaxation only to find my legs burning. I felt like I was getting nibbled by a thousand tiny, but vicious fish. Seeing that there were no fish in my bathtub, I knew I was having an allergic reaction. It totally ruined my bath and I had to drain my water without even using it.
The reason you need to wait a day is because some people develop reactions later than others and if you get a really bad delayed reaction, you can put yourself in the hospital, honey. And that will definitely put a damper on your relaxing meditation.
If you do develop a reaction to oils, don’t worry! You can still use candles and sprays and all sorts of aromatherapy to get you relaxing. Your options are limitless and completely customizable for what you like. And hey, if you try it and think aromatherapy is absolute crap, that’s fine too! Feeling good is completely up to you and no one’s here to tell you the proper way to chill.
Cover image via ThoughtCo