Healing with fragrances: Essential oils that can help you sleep, relieve pain | Health - Hindustan Times
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Healing with fragrances: Essential oils that can help you sleep, relieve pain

By, New Delhi
Dec 04, 2023 05:19 PM IST

Fragrances play a significant role in boosting one’s physical and mental well-being. Here are essential oils that can aid in sleep and help relieve pain.

Our sense of smell is intricately connected with our memory and subconscious mind. No wonder, the scents associated with our childhood leave such a deep impact on us and trigger a sense of nostalgia and comfort. Be it the scent of soil after the first drops of rain hit the ground, the smell of a book, incense or fragrance of flowers, all can affect emotions and mood differently. Essential oils are an integral part of Ayurveda and can help balance doshas. In today's times when stress and never-ending to-do lists dominate our life, fragrances can play a significant role in improving one's physical and mental well-being. Aromatherapy or treating an illness with aroma or scent is fast gaining popularity as it can offer various benefits from improving quality of sleep to even pain relief.

In today's times when stress and never-ending to-do lists dominate our life, fragrances can play a significant role in improving one's physical and mental well-being.(Freepik)
In today's times when stress and never-ending to-do lists dominate our life, fragrances can play a significant role in improving one's physical and mental well-being.(Freepik)

"Aromatherapy can offer notable benefits in pain relief and recovery from illness. The use of essential oils, derived from various plants, has been employed for centuries to enhance well-being and address various health concerns," says Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Kendraa.

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"In a generation where mental health is concerning, prioritizing one’s mental health is the need of the hour. Fragrances play a significant role in catering to one’s physical and mental well-being. Fragrance helps create a deep experience that connects an individual with memories and emotions, contributing to a sense of happiness. From the earthy scent of rain-soaked soil to the captivating aroma of a new book, fragrances possess a unique ability to transport us to specific moments, sparking joy and nostalgia," Kiran Ranga, Managing Director, Ripple Fragrances, Master Perfume Creator.

"Aromatherapy, a recently popularized practice, as the name suggests revolves around the use of different fragrances to heal oneself. Through the sense of smell, aromatherapy uses essential oils and fragrances to influence one’s mood, relaxation, and mental clarity in order to enhance overall well-being. Aromatherapy diffusers provide a simple yet effective means of dispersing the therapeutic wonders of essential oils, aiding in pain relief and illness. With natural antibacterial and antiviral properties, essential oils reduce airborne pathogens, while specific fragrances are believed to alleviate pain and contribute to overall well-being," adds Ranga.

Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar shares different benefits of aromatherapy:

1. Pain relief

One primary benefit of aromatherapy is its potential to alleviate pain. Certain essential oils, such as lavender and peppermint, possess analgesic properties that can help soothe discomfort. When used in massage or diffused in the air, these oils may contribute to a sense of relaxation and relief from pain.

2. Improves quality of sleep

Moreover, aromatherapy has been associated with improved sleep, which is crucial for the body's recovery processes. Essential oils like chamomile and bergamot are renowned for their calming effects, promoting a restful sleep environment. Quality sleep is paramount for the body's ability to heal and regenerate, making aromatherapy a valuable tool in the recovery process from illness.

3. Mental health and wellness

In addition to its impact on physical well-being, aromatherapy has been linked to positive effects on mental health. Essential oils like citrus scents can uplift mood and reduce stress and anxiety levels. As individuals recover from illness, managing stress is vital, as excessive stress can hinder the body's healing mechanisms. Aromatherapy provides a natural and holistic approach to addressing both physical and mental aspects of recovery.

4. Therapeutic benefits

Furthermore, aromatherapy can complement traditional medical treatments. While it's not a substitute for medical care, the incorporation of aromatherapy into a holistic wellness plan can enhance the overall healing experience. Patients recovering from surgery or managing chronic conditions may find relief in aromatherapy's supportive role.

5. Customised for individual preference

It's essential to note that individual responses to aromatherapy can vary. What works well for one person might not have the same effect on another. Therefore, it's advisable to explore different essential oils and methods of application to discover what resonates best with one's body and preferences.

6. Tips for usage

In the realm of pain relief, aromatherapy can be particularly beneficial for conditions like headaches and muscle soreness. Peppermint oil, for example, has a cooling effect and is commonly used to alleviate tension headaches. Applying a diluted form of peppermint oil to the temples or inhaling its aroma may provide relief from headache symptoms.

Kiran Ranga shares popular essential oils that are used in aromatherapy for relieving stress and pain.

1. Lavender diffuser oil

The lavender diffuser oil is a popular choice for cultivating a serene and tranquil ambiance within homes. The mild and delightful fragrance of lavender essential oil not only diminishes stress but also fosters relaxation, contributing to an overall sense of well-being. Furthermore, this oil is frequently selected to enhance the quality of sleep, making it particularly favoured for bedrooms and spaces designated for unwinding.

In addition to its calming properties, lavender essential oil is renowned for its potential to alleviate mild discomfort and pain. When diffused, the oil aids in creating a harmonious environment that assists in relieving tension and headaches. The captivating fragrance of lavender also plays a role in boosting mood and elevating spirits. Moreover, lavender essential oil is acknowledged for its capacity to diminish feelings of anxiety. Inhaling the soothing fragrance can positively influence the nervous system, easing nervous tension and fostering a heightened sense of tranquillity.

2. Lemongrass diffuser oil

Lemongrass oil is well-known for its refreshing and uplifting properties, making it a popular choice for aromatherapy. The citrusy, bright aroma of lemongrass is often considered invigorating, helping to elevate mood and promote a sense of clarity.

This essential oil is frequently used to combat feelings of stress and anxiety, offering a natural way to relax and unwind. The crisp and lemony scent can create a positive and energizing ambiance in your space, making it an excellent choice for diffusing during mental fatigue or tension.

In addition to its mood-boosting benefits, lemongrass oil is believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. When diffused, it may contribute to a cleaner and fresher environment, potentially helping to ward off airborne microbes.

Lemongrass essential oil can also be blended with a carrier oil and applied topically. When diluted properly, it may be massaged onto the skin to promote relaxation and alleviate muscle aches and pains. The versatility of lemongrass oil makes it a wonderful option for both emotional well-being.

"For muscle soreness or discomfort, essential oils such as eucalyptus and rosemary can be incorporated into massage oils or bath blends. These oils have anti-inflammatory properties that may contribute to easing muscle tension and promoting a sense of relaxation. Athletes and individuals engaged in physical activities can consider aromatherapy as part of their recovery routine. Aromatherapy offers a multifaceted approach to pain relief and recovery from illness. From its potential to alleviate physical discomfort to its positive impact on mental well-being, essential oils have proven their worth in enhancing overall health. As with any wellness practice, it's essential to consult with healthcare professionals, especially for those with existing medical conditions. Integrating aromatherapy into a comprehensive health and recovery plan can be a holistic and enjoyable way to support the body's natural healing processes," adds Akshar.

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