There is nothing like soaking in a hot bathtub, with soothing smell of aromatherapy candles lined all around you. You could spend hours enjoying it and feeling all the stress going away. Scientists now say that one hour is the limit. Longer than that and aromatic oils will do more damage than good.
Aromatherapy for stress, lowering heart rate and blood pressure
The benefits of aromatherapy or therapy using essential oils have been extensively researched and accepted. A new study published recently in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology confirms that the essential oils and aromatherapy are beneficial for stress relief. Taiwanese scientists also found that the benefits also extend to the heart rate and blood pressure. What they found that is new is that these benefits exist for the exposure that is one hour or less. Longer than that, exposure to the essential oils actually speeds up the heart rate and increases blood pressure. While scientists do not want to draw hasty conclusions, their findings lead to the belief that long exposure to the essential oil, like that of the spa workers and hairdressers, may lead to the increased risk of heart disease in healthy people.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are extracted oils of a range of aromatic plants. They have been used for millennia as part of healing and relaxation. Essential oils can be used during massage, through skin, or as sprays, through inhalation. While scientists do not know exactly how essential oils produce relaxing effect, they believe that the particular smells affect brain waves. Essential oils also have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Essential oils are considered volatile organic compounds , recognized environmental pollutants and their effect is particularly dangerous for asthma sufferers.
Essential oils for stress relief
The most popular essential oils for relieving stress are lavender, chamomile, ylang-ylang, peppermint and basil. Whether you are using a scented candle or a drop of oil on a cotton ball in your drawer, the wonderful, soothing smell will make you feel instantly relaxed. But, spraying the whole room with it is evidently not a good idea. Like so many other things, essential oils have proven their benefits in small doses, but in larger doses they become just another air pollutant.