Given the times we are living in, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious and lethargic, but something as simple as the idiosyncratic whiff of a lit candle can soothe the atmosphere quickly. Thankfully, aromatherapy is one of the few stress-relieving rituals we can practice in the comfort of our homes.
What Is Aromatherapy?
The therapeutic application of medicinal aromatic/essential oil extracts for holistic healing is called aromatherapy. How does it help? The essential oils used in this practice trigger messages to be sent to your brain’s limbic system, which controls your emotions, memory and how you learn. “When we use aromatherapy, we stimulate the limbic system to communicate our needs with the brain,” explains Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, dermatologist and founder Isaac Luxe.
The Connection Between Mind And Skin
Did you know our mind and skin are connected through vascular and endocrine systems? This is why aromatherapy also sequentially affects our skin. Dr Jaishree Sharad, cosmetic dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, explains, “If you are mentally calm, then automatically the skin is rested and heals better. Whereas if mentally and emotionally stressed, your cortisol levels rise which leads to acne, hair fall and even psoriasis and eczema.”
Dr Prerna Kohli, clinical psychologist and founder, MindTribe, adds, “Psychological factors can impact one’s skin in about 25-33 per cent of cases. For some, breathing in essential oils can aid in stress management and even boost mood.” She continues, “Psychological conditions such as anxiety, stress, depression, or having low self-esteem are seen to cause chronic ailments such as acne and rosacea. These are indications that we need to work on stress management, and aromatherapy can aid in doing so.”
Scents For Every Mood
Try these scents in essential oil diffusers or candles.
– Lavender for stress: “When mixed with frankincense, lavender promotes a calming and peaceful mood. Its soothing nature makes it a cult favourite,” recommends Dr Simal Soin, dermatologist and founder, Aayna Clinic.
– Jasmine for happiness: “It’s mellow fragrance has a way of elevating your dopamine high. When diffused, it will enhance your already positive mood,” says Dr Mittal Gupta.
– Bergamot for anxiety: The light and airy aroma of bergamot calms the nerves and uplifts a dull mood.
– Basil for motivation: A calmer oil, basil has a mild whiff which can increase alertness and help you focus on the task at hand.
Experts recommend caution as some of the products may cause irritation or burns, and even hyperpigmentation. They must be diluted using carrier oils before usage. Beware of inhaling products that may contain titanium dioxide as breathing in this compound is highly toxic (non-toxic only when applied topically).