Until the recent surge in popularity of essential oil diffusers, essential oils had mostly been relegated to use in baths and massage oil. Many people purchase diffusers because they are simply looking for a pleasant, more natural scent than the many chemical fragrance products. Luckily, there can also be positive side effects of diffusing essential oils and there is actually a lot of research behind it. There is actually more scientific evidence for the power of inhaling essential oils than there is for use on the skin!
Some of the most studied places for the use of essential oil inhalation are hospitals, nursing homes and school settings. Scent has in recent years been banned in many public places due to allergies. This has made it difficult for people to gain the benefits of scent for treatment of stress, pain, and anxiety when in public. The aromatherapy world has not taken this sitting down and has come up with plastic personal essential oil inhalers, similar to the old Vicks inhalers. Producers in China thought they could do better than those old, disposable inhalers and we now have beautiful re-useable aluminum and glass essential oil inhalers. They are also constantly coming out with new diffusers in all shapes, colours and sizes.
Now that we have a way of getting essential oils to our noses, why do we need them? When we smell a scent, odour molecules enter the nose, traveling up to receptor sites. One of those is the limbic system or the emotional part of the brain. The limbic system is also connected to the parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress and hormone balance. It's this connection between smells and the nervous system that explains why essential oils have such a psychological and physiological effect.
Essential oils have been studied for their effects on PMS, eating disorders, pain, fear, exercise, Alzheimer's, labour and more. Most studies include brain wave activity as well as nervous system, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, mental health and perception proving the effects of essential oil inhalation.
by Joann Rosso
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