This April at CONTENT we are celebrating the emotive, the evocative, the sentimental and the solace inducing power of AROMA. With an emphasis on the flowers, fragrances and formulas at the forefront of contemporary aromatherapy – this month we present to you a tantalizing treat for the senses as we delve into the inspiring world of natural scent.
THE HISTORY: A look into history shows that ancient civilisations well understood the aromatic use of essential oils for their health enhancing properties. As long as 6,000 years ago, Egyptians first discovered the therapeutic effects of massaging with essential oils and were famous for their skin care formulas and cosmetics. Fragrances, resins, balsams and herbal oils were also used in embalming and other religious ceremonies.
The use of aromatherapy spread from Egypt to Israel, Greece, Rome and the entire Mediterranean world, but was lost during the so- called “Dark Ages”. India was the only place in the world where this tradition was never lost. Nowadays Aromatherapy gains more and more recognition. Not only because of the studies that prove their effectiveness but also because people simply love it.
HOW IT WORKS: The inhalation of essential oils stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell - the olfactory system; a signal is sent to the limbic system of the brain which controls emotions and retrieves learned memories. In return the brain releases chemicals to make the person feel relaxed, calm or even stimulated. If the aromatherapy includes massage, then the physical benefits further relax the person.
THE STUDIES: Aromatherapy has long been known to assist in the improvement of an individuals mood, mental state or health, with numerous studies conducted revealing the highly beneficial nature of incorporating aromatherapy into the treatment of symptoms such as anxiety, stress, insomnia and even depression. A study conducted to test the effect of aromatherapy on the salivary cortisol and pulse rate of children undergoing dental treatment using orange essential oil revealed that utilising a citrus fragrance is beneficial in the treatment of anxiety symptoms, even amongst children. Additionally, the characteristics of citrus based oils such as the aurantium L. flower, are known to furthermore include antimicrobial and antioxidant activities . An additional study researching the use of aromatherapy on dementia patients experiencing disturbed sleep patterns revealed that the use of lavender augustofolia essential oil diffused nightly was perceived as an effective care modality significantly reducing insomnia and anxiety..
Whilst the traditional uses of aromatherapy in treating ailments and infirmities continues to be utilised as a valid addition to medical based intervention, natural fragrance is increasingly becoming utlised within the worlds of food and beverages (ie formula theme)– with cocktail mixologists and chocolatiers infusing their artful creations with enhancing and enriching essential oils and aromatic blends enabling a multi-sensory experience that inspires, transports and tantalizes. Stay tuned throughout Aroma April as we reveal to you the pioneers at the forefront of modern aromatherapy and our favourite aroma themed products!