Aromatherapy — Does it Really Work?

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Oil Burner for Aromatherapy

Oil Burner for Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is merely the inhaling of molecules of essential oils. When those molecules enter your body they can cause chemical reactions and responses, all physiological. There is probably a placebo effect at work as well — we all know if you make an effort to help yourself that effort in and of itself it therapeutic no matter what you actually do. But just as herbs can heal, so essential oils can aid healing and improve mood.

Digging through one of my closets I found an inexpensive diffuser I purchased years ago. The lid is missing so it won’t work. Sigh. But I have my simple oil burner that simply uses a tea light, a tiny flame to heat up the oils so they can enter the air of my home. In the winter I usually keep a pot of water simmering on the stove during the day. I place orange or lemon slices, sometimes just the peels, and cinnamon and nutmeg. When we all have snotty noses I add a few drops of eucalyptus oil every couple of hours. You can simple place a few drops of any essential oil or blend on a cotton ball and place it near where you are working, resting, or throughout your house (on a pretty saucer helps, too). I have, on occasion, put a few drops of essential oils on a tissue and placed it in a baggie so I can carry it in my purse. Just open that bag, inhale and there you go.

Years ago when I was still fighting hard to heal my Lyme disease and co-infections I purchased a lot of essential oils. I was inspired by a book whose topic was treating illness when antibiotics don’t work. That was where I was. Sick for years and no effective treatment. I wanted my body to find a way to heal itself. I wanted to help my body to find pain relief without treating symptoms with pharmaceuticals. I honestly do not know if it helped much at all. I didn’t have an expensive diffuser that was recommended which claimed that it would literally change the chemistry of the air in a room. I do what I can and I still use my essential oils on a fairly regular basis.

The other night my kids all just went super-moody on me and one another. Everyone was out of sorts. Constant bickering, arguing — I was ready to pull out my hair. I looked at my 19 year old and said we need to do something, fast. I put on some soothing music, loud. Then my son asked me which essential oils are good for mood. Quick online search and we had an idea of what would be good. Going through my collection I found several of them. We decided which would smell the nicest together — that is actually important since some of these oils are very, very strong. We put bergamot and clove oils in my oil burner saucer and lit the candle. Within a few minutes of all of these actions the house was quiet and calm. I think the music did the most but the essential oils may have affected the mood of everyone enough that when I turned the music off the household stayed calm.

Most people know that lavender is calming. What most people don’t know is that it doesn’t smell very good. So I always combine it with another oil. I won’t list what oils do what because a simple online search can provide that information, and my books are all packed away. But if you are struggling with health issues, depression, or even pain or chronic illness, aromatherapy can really help. I encourage you to do a little research and start with something simple. Remember: never put essential oils directly on your skin. If you want to massage them into your skin use a carrier oil. I have grapeseed and almond oils for that purpose, or you can add it to your shampoo or an unscented lotion. Take the time to understand and learn about aromatherapy before attempting to apply it to your life and home.

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2 responses »

  1. Thanks for a brief, but very helpful introduction to aromatherapy. I never knew much about and just that hint that you should never put essential oils on your skin is probably something I would never find on line. I love to have “scents” in my house and like you, I have a few oil burners given as gifts years ago, but packed away in the basement. I also know that music does in fact calm the savage beast as I listen to a very eclectic selection of music (NO RAP). I gave Dave 6 classical music CDs as I sometimes catch it on the car radio when he starts the car. Needless to say, it is lovely and I keep replaying Handel as I work in the kitchen.

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    • I love Handel, too! Glad I could give a little bit of info. There is so much real, meaty information available online that I didn’t want to try to write a tome on the intricacies of aromatherapy, the science, what to use when. It really shouldn’t be rocket science; if it was I wouldn’t use it. Hope you dig out an oil burner and some essential oils and find something that works for you.

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