In 1910, French chemist Dr. René-Maurice Gattefossé burnt his hand while working at his family-owned cosmetics firm. Out of instinct, he plunged his hand into the nearest liquid. It was lavender essential oil. Gattefossé was later amazed at how quickly his burn healed and with very minimal scarring.
Thus began his fascination with the effects of essential oils, eventually leading to the concept of aromatherapy.
What is Aromatherapy?
Gattefossé may be credited with the modern fascination with essential oils, however, the practice of using smell to heal and uplift has a far longer history. The ancient Egyptians revered scent in many forms, such as a cosmetic, medicinal, and as part of their religious practice.
Aromatherapy, to give it a more formal definition, is the use of plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, for improving our psychological or physical well-being.
Typically aromatherapists use essential oils in two ways: inhalation or topically. For example, essential oils can be diluted by water and diffused into the air, or a few drops can be gently rubbed into acupressure points on the body.
The Benefits of Aromatherapy
There is not enough scientific research to determine conclusively the effectiveness of essential oils and aromatherapy on human health.
Some studies have shown that aromatherapy could have health benefits, including:
- Relief from anxiety and depression
- Improved sleep
- Reduce pain for people with osteoarthritis of the knee
- Improve the quality of life for people with dementia
- Reduce pain for people with kidney stones
A 2013 paper, Lavender and the Nervous System, reviewed studies on the effectiveness of lavender on several medical conditions. One area where lavender had an impact was on sleep. Lavender had “a significant beneficial influence on quality and duration of sleep and improved general mental and physical health” for people with anxiety.
Aromatherapy, Meditation, and Music
In addition to the above medical benefits, aromatherapy can improve your meditative practice.
We have talked about the power of music to help us relax before. We have also talked about the power of music and meditation when combined - delivering benefits that impact your entire life. Today, we want to talk about pairing aromatherapy with music and meditation.
Meditation, like aromatherapy, strives for the betterment of your mind, body, and soul. It allows you to cultivate new, positive ways of being. With regular work and patience, it can have a transformative effect and lead to a new understanding of life.
Inhaling essential oils while focusing on breathing helps bring clarity, a sense of calm, and inner peace. Not only can it help improve your focus and concentration, it can even help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Here’s how you can add essential oils to your meditation…
- Use a diffuser, including an essential oil diffuser, atmosphere mist, or aromatherapy candle
- Apply the oils to your clothing, a handkerchief, or your meditation pillows
- Rub oil into your hands and deeply breathe in the oil (dilute it with a carrier oil)
The Ideal Aromatic Meditation Music
Our Aromatherapy channel is a soothing spa-like wellness and relaxation channel, suited for massage therapists and meditation. Light your favourite aromatherapy candle for meditation, turn on this channel, and focus on your breath.
We have over 500 channels, many of which are focused purely on health and wellness. They are perfect for the spa, yoga, reiki, and relaxation. Visit our Channel Guide to explore all of them.
Listen to many peaceful wellness music channels on Calm Radio. Download the Calm app for all mobile platforms, desktop apps and Join Calm Radio to unlock 500+ streams of relaxing music and calming music for meditation, sleep and work. Enjoy insightful articles on faith and training and listen to instrumental Christian music here.