Aromatherapy for the Sceptics

We are bombarded these days with information. Often it’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction. As a scientist, I base my knowledge and that of our company, Indochine Natural, on evidence-based research.

What is Aromatherapy?

In simple terms, the use of plant-derived essential oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being. These are usually distilled from plants using traditional stills (see photo).

Does Aromatherapy Work?

There are many published scientific studies in this area. For example, one study examined the effect of Lemongrass aroma on anxiety (J. Altern Complement Med. 2015 Dec; 21(12): 766-73). The results showed a reduction in anxiety and subjective tension immediately after treatment administration. Another scientific study examined Bergamot essential oil (Forsch Komplementmed. 2015; 22(1): 43-9). The test subjects inhaled Bergamot vapour for 15 minutes. Profiles of the Mood States, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and a Fatigue Self-Check List was completed. High-frequency heart rate values, an indicator of parasympathetic nervous system activity, were calculated during the 15 min of the experiment and the subsequent 10 min of rest. The results showed scores for negative emotions and fatigue were improved. These results demonstrate that Bergamot essential oil inhaled vapour exerts very positive psychological and physiological effects in a short time.

Another pilot study verified the use of Ylang Ylang essential oil in self-esteem perception (Rev. Esc. Enferm. USP. 2014 Jun; 48(3): 492-9). The results showed significant improvements in self-esteem.

A scientific study with Sweet Orange essential oil (J. Altern. Complement Med. 2012 Aug; 18(8): 798-804.) showed that the oil reduced anxiety. This provides scientific support to its use as a tranquillizer by aromatherapists.

There are many more scientific studies available. The above is just a small selection.

When to Use Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy can be used to calm your mood, ease anxiety, and to spark energy and activity. The effects depend on the blend of essential oils used.

There are various ways to use Aromatherapy. Mix a calming essential oil blend in a carrier oil and apply to your temples or chest. This is ideal for a calming blend after a hard day. To start a busy day, in the morning try an energising blend. My favourite is to use the blend on a face towel in the shower. Never use essential oils undiluted on the skin, or ingest the oil.

Or, you could use an essential oil diffuser in your home or office.

When formulating Indochine Natural products, I apply Aromatherapy principles. Check out our product range of face washes and body washes. We also carry a range of essential oils.

A WORD OF WARNING: Many unscrupulous or inexperienced retailers are selling essential oils that have been udulterated. Only buy from someone who is qualified, and insist on seeing the Certificate of Analysis for the oils they sell you. At our Penang production facility we source essential oils from around the world. I personally select and check all oils. I insist that all oils are supplied with a Certificate of Analysis. Also required is a full Chromatographic profile and allergens analysis for each oil.

Dr. Mike Thair

Co-founder & Chief Formulator
Indochine Natural Sdn Bhd

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