Lavender - I like the smell of that


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I like the smell of that…or not!


“Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. The inhaled aroma from these "essential" oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function.”

This quick definition suggests that brain stimulation can be affected by various scents, which in fact we all know to be true. Even something as simple as the smell of a greasy French fry stand can stimulate the salivary glands and make us think we are hungry. But what if a client doesn’t like the scent? Will it still have the same affect? For example, one of the most common scents for relaxation is Lavender essential oil. If a client does not enjoy the scent of lavender will it produce a negative stress effect and therefore the preferred outcome of relaxation will in fact not happen? This can provide a general skepticism or doubt to the effects of aromatherapy. There is also a lack of industry standards, which most likely correlates to the overall disbelief in the effects of this type of therapy.

Shopping for essentials oils is like shopping for groceries. Just because the label says something doesn’t mean it’s 100% correct. Think about how they have recently changed Aspartame to Amino Sweet because of all the negative uproar. If someone has purchased an oil from, let’s say a Health food store that says 100% on the label, yet it is not truly 100% or it is a sub quality oil (chemical constituents are not correct), of course they are going to get less than stellar results if any at all. This may lead to society’s disbelief in the benefits of aromatherapy. Add onto the fact they are receiving next to no education except for maybe Google, and hence the distrust begins. Quality oils that are paid with education and the science to back it up is crucial.

In conclusion, this article is merely food for thought and like anything else you purchase, do your research and educate yourself because an informed decision is a smart decision.

Joanne Baker, RMT

Thanks to colleagues for your assistance in writing this article.

The material contained on this page is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute for medical advice or opinions.  If you suspect you have a disease or health-related condition of any kind, you should contact your health care professional immediately.



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A few of our favorite essential oils and lotions featured this week.