Aromatherapy has been used as a form of therapeutic medicine for thousands of years and dates back to ancient Chinese, Indian, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian cultures. In the U.S., aromatherapy gained popularity in the 1980s, and you can find many oils, lotions, and candles that have aromatherapy properties in shops and spas still today.
What is Aromatherapy?
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils derived from natural plants to promote healing and wellness. Although essential oils should typically never be consumed by mouth, they are effective when massaged into skin or inhaled through the nose. The oils used in aromatherapy are concentrated liquids extracted from plants’ roots, seeds, blossoms, and leaves.
These are some of the potential health benefits of aromatherapy:
- Reduce swelling
- Treat fungal infections
- Enhance relaxation
- Stress relief
- Fight depression
- Boost memory
- Eliminate headaches
- Reduce pain
- Boost immune system
- Improve digestion
- Promote restful sleep
Aromatherapy and Your Brain
The science behind aromatherapy involves much more than just scents that smell pleasant. Essential oils have the potential to affect your mind and your emotions because your sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 times more acute than the other senses and sensitive to around 10,000 chemical compounds.
Many of us take our sense of smell for granted; however, scents travel faster to your brain than sights or sounds do. One study conducted at Mie University School of Medicine found that patients with depression required fewer antidepressant medications after being exposed to citrus fragrance treatments. And another study found that orange oil decreased the anxiety level of dental patients.
Aromatherapy and Memory
Another important benefit of aromatherapy is improved memory, something that is a big concern of older adults who are at risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Aromatherapy is often used as a supplemental treatment for people suffering from these conditions, and also for healthy people who simply want to retain information better in their daily lives.
To learn more about the effects of aromatherapy on memory, take a look at the following published medical studies:
- Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease
- Aromatherapy and the use of scents in psychotherapy
- Evaluating the anxiety-reducing effects of aromatherapy using cognitive and memory tests
One of the most recommended essential oils for memory enhancement is sage oil. Other memory-boosting oils to use include rosemary, basil, peppermint, and cyprus.
Where to Find Aromatherapy NYC
If you’re looking to try aromatherapy New York City has some wonderful spas that specialize in this practice. Aura Wellness Spa offers 60-minute and 90-minute aromatherapy massages that incorporate highly effective, naturally extracted herbal and floral plant essential oils into massage oils and lotions.
The healing properties of these oils are released during massage and can promote memory retention and many other health benefits. Aside from doing puzzles and other mentally stimulating activities, it’s difficult to improve your memory, so aromatherapy is definitely worth a try if this is a health concern you have.