How essential oils are used for wellness and well-being
Posted on December 30 2020
History of aromatherapy
The art of aromatherapy had been practiced since the earliest times. Strong evidence was found to link aromatherapy to ancient traditions. Though aromatic oils had been used to treat and cure various ailments and conditions for who knows how long, the formal study on their properties only started in 1928.
In its simplest form, aromatherapy is the use of essential plant oils for therapeutic purposes. They are normally employed to relieve a person from stress and a variety of stress-related conditions. And also for promoting an individual's general well being and in invigorating the body and the psyche.
Aromatherapy works by inducing the olfactory nerve cells with aromatic oils, which then carries out the message to the limbic system in the brain. Limbic system is the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling memory and emotions.
Aromatherapy is concerned in both the workings of the physical and emotional aspects of the person under treatment. Physically, aromatherapy helps in relieving specic conditions through the stimulation of the nervous, immune and circulatory system. In emotions however, they may evoke pleasant memories.
Yet, the medical circles do not agree if aromatherapy in itself is instrumental to the complete healing of a certain condition. But the idea of recovery through aromatherapy is widely accepted.
Essential oils are derived from the distillation of the elements of a plant like the leaves, roots, owers, stems and bark. They hold the true essence of the plants from which they originally came in high concentration. Though termed as oil, essential oils normally do not have the real properties of oil. Some essential oils are yellow like that of the lemongrass and orange and many are clear.
These oils are used in a variety of methods: through inhalation, by adding them in the bathwater and by the application of the diluted oil on the body.
The use of oil in aromatherapy is only restricted to those with unadulterated qualities. The purest of the essential oils alone have the therapeutic values.
The following is a list of the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy. Some of which are used as carrier oils (also known as vegetable oils or base oils):
- Almond, Sweet
- Apricot Kernel
- Cocoa Butter
- Evening Primrose
- Macadamia Nut
- Rose Hip
- Shea Butter
Essential oils are created from various natural flowers, herbs, seeds, bark, leaves originating from a plant or a tree. They are extracted with the help of a distillation process where the oil is separated from water-based compounds. Hence, these oils are highly concentrated in tiny bottles - typically around 5ml to 15ml.
To create such a highly concentrated oil, it usually takes an ample amount of raw ingredients. For example, a 15ml Lavender essential oil typically uses 3 pounds of lavender flowers. This means each and every drop from these essential oil bottles are infused with high-quality, long-term healing properties.
Below are listed essential oils that are not advisable to use in aromatherapy, especially if not supervised by a professional aromatherapy practitioner.
- Almond, Bitter - Arnica
- Birch, Sweet
- Boldo Leaf
- Broom, Spanish - Calamus
- Deer Tongue
Essential oil aromatherapy has known to be used for its deep healing effects, mood regulation as well as its many other health benefits. The aroma of these essential oils is popular among many fast-paced busy city dwellers. If you’re juggling with multiple tasks every day and need a breather, using essential oils in your daily routine could help you improve happiness, boost your productivity and help you relax & rejuvenate.
If bought from a reliable seller, essential oils can be used on a daily basis that would help improve the quality of your life. With many benefits such as being pocket-friendly, easy to carry, easy to use, as well as having almost zero allergies - you know that it can be your companion through thick and thin.
Aromatherapists put into practice the workings of aromatherapy in a spectrum of work environments including:
- private practice
- natural health clinics
- beauty therapy clinics
- health clubs
- hospices and nursing homes
In spite of the lack of formal research on aromatherapy therapists and European physicians are often prescribing certain aromatic oils for a range of complaints including colds and u, insomnia, sinusitis, migraines, digestive problems and muscle pains. It must be understood though that aromatic oils must never be taken orally and should be tested to determine the degree of skin's sensitivity to some oils.
How To Use Essential Oils?
1. Aromatherapy – The healing and vibrant aroma of essential oils can evoke a sense of calm and peace. To use aromatherapy in your daily routine, just mix water with the essential oil and fill up a spray bottle. Spray the liquid on chairs, desks, office cubicle, bedrooms and even your car seat. This can create a zen atmosphere every time you want to feel better, calmer and focused.
2. Diffuser – Bring a sense of tranquillity, peace and calmness when you use essential oil blend in a diffuser. Add a couple of drops in a diffuser and let the strong scent take over the room - whether it’s home or office. Check with your office management if you’re allowed to have an aroma diffuser at your workplace. Perhaps, a common room or the reception area can use a good diffuser to involuntarily remind people to calm their senses and become more focused on their daily tasks.
3. Topical – This involves applying the essential oil directly on your skin. All you need is a good quality essential oil roller. Perhaps, the roller that’s easy to roll on all your stress points such as temples, wrists, back of the ears, bottom of the feet. Instantly heals you, reduces headache, stress, anxiety and provides total relaxation - whenever and wherever. It is recommended to use the oil every 2-3 hours to reap maximum benefits throughout the day.
4. Internal – As long as oils are safe, natural and edible, they can be consumed by adding them in smoothies and teas. Ensure you check with the source and the manufacturer before consuming in order to avoid any possible side-effects.
5. Aromatherapy massage – When massage is combined with essential oil, it brings about a wholesome holistic experience. This brings about benefits such as physical and mental wellbeing and reducing cramps while also taking care of any sadness and depression.
Benefits of using essential oils
Efficiency in your daily tasks
Essential oils are natural plant extracts with powerful antioxidant and cleansing properties that have been used for many years. When essential oils are used, the diffused molecules are released into the air and its properties are inhaled. When this happens, these molecules interact with the body’s olfactory nerves and the limbic system. This limbic system is connected to parts of the brain which can aid blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, emotions as well as learning and concentration. This set of essential brain and physiological functioning is vital in daily tasks at home and at the office.
"Smell is the strongest of the senses and the only one that's directly connected to the brain. The smell receptors in the nose communicate with the same parts of the brain where memories are stored, where emotions are governed. It also impacts certain reactions in the body. This is why the inhalation of an aroma can instantly stimulate appetite, evoke a strong feeling, or remind us of a person or a place." - Puneet Nanda, Ayurvedic instructor
Infact, the effects of essential reach the brain in just 22 seconds and it takes 20 minutes to have a positive impact in every cell in the body.
Employees' appreciation especially during the Covid-pandemic
A Pan-Asia coalition of human resources and business leaders called Progressive Alliance Towards Healthy Workplaces (PATHw) recently conducted an Asia-wide virtual roundtable called "Reimagining Healthier Workplaces in Asia". This was done to promote healthier workplaces and employee behaviours.
The virtual roundtable addresses issues such as those that affect employees at workplaces.
Covid-19 has shown us how society and their livelihood is severely impacted primarily due to the economic slowdown. Hence, leadership and management of companies need to take extra step towards a healthier and stronger workforce. Employees need extra care and appreciation during this time in order to retain the talents and keep the cashflow intact.
"With 1 in every 3 Malaysian adults struggling with mental health issues, and mental health conditions in the workplace costing the Malaysian economy an estimated RM14·46 billion in 2018, it’s important to realise that employees’ mental health care should remain the prime focus for employers to support their workforce, especially during this pandemic. Employers who continue to remain proactive, flexible, and considerate with regards to mental health are sure to emerge with a stronger and more dynamic workforce." - Source
Companies such as UOB and AIA are taking steps towards creating a healthier workplace. This helps employees which in turn benefits the businesses with skyrocketed results and revenue generation.
At the Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace Summit 2018, AIA Bhd.’s Chief Executive Officer Anusha Thavarajah said:
“We launched Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality as the first step towards creating awareness and promoting workplace wellness to help Malaysia’s workforce live healthier, longer, and better lives" - Source
"In Malaysia, 53 per cent employees suffer from work-related stress, with a further 12 per cent experiencing high levels of anxiety or depression.
Global research by Gallup shows that the level of employee engagement is a crucial metric in driving business outcomes. Specifically, companies with greater employee engagement had 147 per cent higher earnings compared to those with lower employee engagement. That’s a huge difference! This means the more engaged your employees, the better your chance of business success. By taking measures to safeguard your employees’ health, you are not only supporting their well-being – you are helping your business." - Source
“The mindset in a large number of Malaysian corporations is to drive profits, instead of bettering or retaining employees. It appears to be a very cost conscious society and every dollar spent comes with a goal to increase turnover, but the real turnover results in the staff,” explained Healthpro Solutions managing director Wong Yu Jin. - Source
Other useful resource: Why-employee-health-and-well-being-matters
The right type of essential oil can help with overall employees' happiness!
1. Respiratory Support Roller ™
- Creates a spa-like experience with a complete muscle relaxation
- Apply on your chest, wrist, neck
- Remedy for sore throat, cough, cold, sinuses
- Ingredients: High-quality essential oils - peppermint, lemon, R.C and avocado carrier oils
2. Good Sleep Roller ™
- Unwind and relax for a peaceful sleep
- Apply on your head, wrist, neck
- Remedy for insomnia, stress, confused state of mind
- Ingredients: High-quality essential oils - lavender, frankincense, avocado carrier oil
- Reduce pain, inflammation and muscle soreness
- Apply on shoulders, neck, back muscles
- Provides a soothing and cooling sensation
- Ingredients: High-quality essential oils - peppermint, Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Clove, copaiba, coconut oils
Essential Oils for Employee Well-being
"Thank you Effortless for the hard-work in preparing gifts for the Linde Team! They are extremely surprise and happy the same time:D PS : The ladies loveeee the ion massager 😍 these gifts came in the right time as an early Xmas gift for the team!!" - Linde Engineering Malaysia
Boost happiness and productivity in your workplace
“In Japan, the Takasago Corporation carried out research into how smells affect the accuracy of typists. It found 54% made fewer errors when they could smell lemon, 33% fewer with jasmine and 20% fewer with lavender.
A registered nurse Tonya McBride from Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, ran a wellness experiment in the Emergency Department with some alarming findings. After diffusing essential oils for 30 days the 41% of staff who experienced work-related stress ‘very often’ in the past week, dropped to just 3%.” - Source
According to a leading research publication by the National Institute of Health,
“The positive effect of fragrances is mainly related to human behaviour. The findings of the previously reported studies suggest that the olfactory system plays a major role in central nervous system functions. They reviewed the physiological effect of olfactory stimuli in humans. They also reviewed the evidence for the effectiveness of aromatherapy in the treatment of high blood pressure.
It was reported the perceptional change of fragrance of essential oils such as ylang-ylang, orange, geranium, cypress, bergamot, spearmint and juniper in relation to type of work (mental work, physical work and hearing environmental sounds).
The data confirmed that essential oil inhalation affected a different subjective sensitivity of fragrance depending on the type of work.
- In their study, inhalation of cypress after physical work produced a much more favourable impression than before work.
- For mental work, inhalation of juniper appeared to create a favourable impression after work.
- They stated that orange odour reduced anxiety and increased positive mood and calmness in women.
- They investigated the effects of inhaling aromas (rose, jasmine and lavender) of preference on physical exercise in college students.
- The results revealed that the inhalation of preferred aromas suppressed the muscle sympathetic vasoconstrictor activity.
- In regards to sympathetic activity of aroma, essential oils from pepper, estragon, fennel or grapefruit increased relative sympathetic activity when compared with an odourless solvent (triethyl citrate).
- On the other hand, essential oils of rose or patchouli decreased relative sympathetic activity by 40%.
In addition to essential oil aromas, the individual odour components also affect the autonomic nervous system responses. In general, human behaviours are closely linked to attention processes, which range from sleep to wakefulness.
The aroma of essential oils such as peppermint, jasmine, ylang-ylang and individual essential oil components significantly influenced basic forms of attention behaviour. They studied the influence of enantiomers of limonene and carvone (chiral fragrances) on the human autonomic nervous system and on self-evaluation. The author found that prolonged inhalation of fragrances affects autonomic nervous system parameters and states of brain. Further, the chirality of odour components appears to be a major factor in relation to the biological activity of fragrances.
They reviewed the effect of lavender oils on psychophysiological properties. The essential oils obtained from various species of Lavandula have been used in cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries for centuries.
They also suggested that lavender aroma significantly reduced the stress and enhanced the arousal states of brain. They evaluated the olfactory effect of lavender and rosemary essential oils on cognitive performance and mood.
They studied the effects of lavender (relaxing odour) and neroli (stimulating odour) on mood. Relaxing odour decreased heart rate. They reported that lavender reduced the pain intensity and pain unpleasantness after treatment.
They investigated whether exposure to aromas (jasmine and lavender) during recess periods affects work performance. In their study, it was reported that aromatherapy (lavender, rosemary, lemon and chamomile) massage produced beneficial effects on anxiety and self-esteem in Korean elderly women.
They provided the evidence for the impact of the aromas of plant essential oils (ylang-ylang aroma, peppermint aroma) on aspects of cognition and mood.
Peppermint significantly enhanced memory and alertness. On the other hand, ylang-ylang lengthened processing speed and increased calmness.”
Reduce various health ailments
Day to day activities results in so many unknown mental and emotional impacts. These can be managed through natural methods such as essential oils as opposed to pilling western medicines. Sometimes, all it requires is a simple rolling of natural essential oil. Daily routine becomes much more manageable with a reduction in stress, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, aches, pains and skin conditions.
Essential oils can be beneficial for your immune, respiratory and digestive systems. Furthermore, these oils help with draining toxic waste from all parts of the body by improving the lymph circulation.
Lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree and chamomile can promote immune stimulation. Eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary also have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
The respiratory system (nose, throat and lungs) are sensitive to infection. Especially, during the Covid-season, it has become very important to take good care of one’s respiratory system. Essential oils have excellent antiseptic properties and are effective treatments for respiratory problems. Bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, cold and flu and other respiratory conditions can be improved with frankincense and peppermint.
With this year’s pandemic outburst and many people’s lives being endangered, it has come to everyone’s realisation that life is short. And taking care of personal hygiene while ensuring our immunity is strong has also become a priority. So, as we step into the brand new year of 2021, let’s strive towards a more healthy, clean and stronger society. Are you ready to take 100% ownership of your health?