Health & Wellness Articles

Aromatherapy for the Whole Family

Soothe, Energize, or Relax

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In the 1920's, French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse accidentally lit his arm on fire in his laboratory. The nearest cold liquid was a vat of lavender oil, into which he thrust his arm in an act of desperation. To his surprise, the pain subsided within a few minutes and the burn healed quickly without a scar. Gattefosse spent the rest of his life researching the healing properties of essential oils, and the science of aromatherapy was born.

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants and aromatic plant compounds to affect someone's mood or health. Besides affecting the limbic system, or the emotion centers of the brain, essential oils are also thought to have antiseptic and immune-system-enhancing properties, and can be a complement to conventional medicine. There are many methods of using aromatherapy to enhance health and wellness, including massage, baths, steam inhalation, and room diffusion.

In France, where it was discovered, aromatherapy has been incorporated into conventional medicine to treat infections and disease. In the U.S., it is widely used for its ability to affect a person's emotional state. Although aromatherapy was discovered with an act of direct skin application, in most cases, essential oils are too strong to be applied directly to the skin without first being diluted in a carrier oil, such as jojoba, or almond oil.

Here are some ways you can use aromatherapy to create a healthier home.

In the Bath
Try this bath before bed to help you or your kids sleep more soundly. Dilute five drops of lavender oil in one tablespoon of carrier oil, such as almond or coconut oil. Add to the bathwater, using caution to avoid slipping. Lavender helps promote relaxation and sleep.

Inhalation
Into a basin of steaming water, add a few drops of an essential oil, like marjoram. Lean your head over the bowl and cover with a towel, and inhale the steam for 10 minutes. Marjoram can help to clear congestion.

In the Car
Sprinkle a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball, and stash it under the driver's seat. Peppermint helps increase alertness.

Around the House
Help to disinfect the air in your home by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to an aromatherapy diffuser.

For your Pets
Calm rambunctious or nervous pets by sprinkling a drop or two of lavender oil on their bedding.

Although aromatherapy can complement traditional medicine, it should never be used as a substitute. Always check with your doctor or pediatrician before using any home remedies on yourself or your child.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • LVINCENT72
    Essential oils seem to have superpowers--they can help with almost anything! Thanks for sharing, this is great information.

    Lily | http://www.rockym
    ountainoils.com - 5/28/2014 9:56:33 AM
  • Good info - 2/17/2013 11:20:03 AM
  • My husband has been having trouble sleeping lately. I'm going to try some lavender oil in the bedroom to see if that might help. Good article! - 1/30/2012 4:54:36 PM
  • Merryliza: Try Roman Chamomile (not to be confused with German Chamomile) for insomnia - you can rub a drop into the temples or place 1 or 2 drops on your pillow. Also steer clear anything labeled "Fragrance Oil" - authentic oils will be marked with "100% Pure Essential Oil" or something similar on the label. - 9/4/2011 11:31:06 PM
  • I enjoyed this article. I like the idea of peppermint in the car. Good ideas for me to use around our home. - 4/6/2011 10:02:46 AM
  • Thank you for this article! I love aromatherapy. I took the level 1 training workshop for Wisdom of the Earth essential oils, because I love it so much.

    A word of caution though....becaref
    ul of the grade. A bad grade of oils can be poisonous to pets. Bad grade of some can cause break outs or allergic reactions in some.

    Also keep in mind, pets generally have smaller lungs then we do. Something that might be pleasent to us, might be overwhelming to a cat or a gerbil or such.

    I only trust medicinal grade. In the workshop, we tried dozens of oils, on our skin, straight up, no carrier oils. And I didn't break out, even though I have excema. I didn't have any allergy problems even though I am allergic to pollen. - 1/12/2011 10:41:36 AM
  • Be careful with the essential oils you use - if someone is allergic to the plant, the oil may cause problems for them instead of the typical effect. - 8/7/2010 5:46:49 AM
  • Another great oil is Rosemary for headaches. I suffer with migraines and it helps to calm the nerves and open the sinuses. - 7/22/2010 4:31:19 PM
  • I have used the lavendar for many years. For some people, sage or sweetgrass burned as incense also have a peaceful effect on the body, and help when performing yoga or during prayer rites. - 2/28/2010 7:19:41 PM
  • Thanks for the comments. I have been wanting to try some lavender. Did not know of effect on pets. - 1/31/2010 12:47:10 PM
  • Thanks for the comments. I have been wanting to try some lavender. Did not know of effect on pets. - 1/31/2010 12:47:09 PM
  • RAMICAT
    I buy my oils from younglivingoils.o
    rg. they are very high grade (you can even ingest them!) so they are a little pricier, but the purest and most effective I have found. - 1/24/2010 10:40:30 AM
  • I'm alergic to Lavender, is there an alternative that helps a person sleep? - 11/1/2009 8:41:45 PM
  • All essense oils can cause rashes etc in pure form. Rather than using carrier oils, I use alcohol. I put tea tree in a spray bottle about 1 part to 9 parts alcohol as a foot treatment after showers - cures nail/foot fungus (my nails use to be gross, not now), and prevents. I put the same spray on my hands through out the day as I work a hospital and there is some evidence that this will kill MRSA.

    When I was studying, I would scent code different subjects as I studied them. Take a sniff and then study. Before a test I would dab various scents up and down my arms. Sometimes just a whiff would bring back the memory tracks. I know it sounds not possible, but I did graduate with a 3.97 - so it is worth a try.

    For a headache, a little mint oil in olive oil rubbed at the temples followed by a hot shower is great. (don't however forget to drink a glass of water, I read once that the most common cause of headaches is dehydration.) - 9/6/2009 11:31:53 PM
  • Tea tree oil is dangerous around cats and small dogs.
    - 4/27/2009 2:11:23 PM

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