Aromatherapy refers to the therapeutic use of essential oils to help ease or treat a wide range of physical and emotional conditions. Studies have shown that smell is one of the most powerful senses, as even a slight whiff of a scent can trigger a memory. There is actually a direct link in the brain between memory and smell. Perhaps it’s the ability to conjure up a memory that people desire or the benefits they experience both physically and emotionally, but aromatherapy is one of the fastest-growing categories today. In fact, according to Grand View Research, the global essential oil market is expected to reach 13.94 billion by 2024.
Because of the therapeutic benefits associated with essential oils, it’s only fitting that spas take advantage of the power of scent. “Many of us are trying to establish balance among all aspects of life—family, job, finances, health, relationships,” says Kerri Nau, educator and business development at Aromatherapy Associates. “Spas give us an opportunity, and more importantly, permission to unplug from it all and focus on ourselves. The way aromatherapy fits into this experience is by treating our physical bodies and emotional minds. Our individual needs change on a daily basis, so incorporating aromatherapy, which is a form of holistic healing, into spas allows us the flexibility to treat our guest's present needs.”
In addition to playing an important part in a client’s relaxation or sensory journey, aromatherapy-based treatments can also aid in treating physical issues, such as assisting with pain management and detoxifying the lymphatic system along with skincare, according to Nick Irani, director of operations and brand development at Subtle Energies.
Aromatherapy is also a key element of the overall spa experience. According to Nick James, founder of Body Bliss, it can touch every aspect of a person’s being, impacting their physical, mental, and emotional states. When inhaled, many essential oils provide healing—from elevating the mood and reducing stress to clearing the mind and easing sinus congestion, aromatherapy is an all-natural way to treat these conditions. “Aromatherapy offers the possibility to tailor personalized experiences to a degree that is completely unique,” says James. “Dozens of wonderful aromas can be combined in almost limitless ways to target particular wellness outcomes, to tantalize the senses, and to speak to the deepest parts of our being.” Find out which essential oils are best in helping to treat common conditions:
Relaxation and calming the mind: Chamomile, lavender, rose, vetiver, ylang ylang
Energy improvement: Citrus, clary sage, coriander seed, ginger, lemon, orange, peppermint, sandalwood
Stress Relief: Bergamot, lavender, petitgrain, rose
Mental clarity and memory improvement: Cinnamon, frankincense, lavender, lemon, peppermint
Sinus congestion relief: Eucalyptus, oregano, peppermint, tea tree, turmeric
Headache relief: Eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint