The Sweet Smell of De-Stress

Aromatherapy, whether it is the smell of freshly brewed coffee or a dozen roses, certain scents can transport us and create a strong mood shift.  What is actually happening is that our brain’s olfactory system is triggered, which is responsible for our sense of smell.  This system is linked to the limbic system, which controls functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, memory, stress levels and hormone balance. 

Aromatherapy taps into this response, using aromatic plant extracts, or essential oils, to improve physical, mental, and emotional health.  This is why you will often see aromatherapy as an add on during a professional massage.  It is a dynamic duo that can dramatically enhance the physical and emotional effects of a professional massage.

Essential Information About Essential Oils

Essential oils are extracted from various parts of plants, including the flowers, leaves, bark, and roots. These oils contain the concentrated essence of the plant, which is why they are so potent, offering a range of health benefits. Aromatherapy benefits include the reduction of stress, lowering anxiety and easing depression.  Certain scents can also boost feelings of relaxation, soothe sore joints, and improve sleep. 

The History of Aromatherapy

The use of aromatic plants and oils for therapeutic purposes has a long history, dating back to ancient civilizations. The Egyptians believed that certain oils had healing properties. The Greeks and Romans also recognized the therapeutic benefits of essential oils and used them in baths, massages, and other wellness rituals. In India, Ayurvedic medicine incorporates massage and the use of aromatic oils to balance the body’s energy systems. Traditional Chinese medicine also uses massage and essential oils to promote healing and relaxation.

Back in the early 20th Century, a French chemist named René-Maurice Gattefossé was the first person to use the word “aromatherapy.” He was working in his family’s perfumery business when he burned his hand, then dipped it into a vat of lavender oil. Surprisingly, the oil helped to heal his burns quickly and without scarring. This experience led him to dive deeper into the therapeutic properties of essential oils.

The Benefits of Lavender Oil

For over 2,500 years, lavender has been one of the most popular essential oils. It is used primarily for its calming properties, relieving tension, and anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that inhaling lavender oil reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery.

Lavender also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can promote healthier, radiant skin.  In addition to offering it as an add on aromatherapy treatment for massages, we use lavender oil as part of our seaweed gel wrap treatment, plus include it in our body, foot and hand scrubs.

Why Eucalyptus Oil is One of the Top Essential Oils

The scent of eucalyptus can help reduce mental fatigue, improve clarity and concentration. Eucalyptus essential oils are used in massage to help sooth sore muscles due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Stop and Smell the Roses

There are real benefits to smelling roses.  A study in Scientific Reports stated that the scent of rose can help with brain retention.  Spray it on your pillow or through a diffuser at night and it can give you a brain boost overnight.  The Greenhouse Day Spa uses Rose essential oil to help relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and deepen body/mind relaxation.

Putting the “Calm” in Chamomile

Chamomile is known for its calming properties.  It is used in aromatherapy to help relieve anxiety, combat insomnia, and soothe the nerves.  This might be due to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in chamomile tea. This antioxidant binds to specific receptors in your brain that may decrease anxiety and assist with a better night’s sleep.

Come experience the dramatic benefits of aromatherapy when coupled with a massage session.  We cannot wait to help even more Houstonians unwind and escape from city stress.