If you’re like many savvy business owners, you likely are already aware that aromatherapy is a trend that shows no signs of stopping any time soon. The rise in essential oil use and scenting products overall has extended beyond the typical domain within the health and beauty aisle, with a growing number of household and personal care products now available that claim to have therapeutic benefits. Businesses, too, have evolved to keep pace with consumer demand, with many now also using scent in increasingly varied ways, including to enhance productivity in the workplace or to subtly influence purchasing behaviours.
However, is this billion-dollar industry a bubble with little or no basis in reality, or is there indeed something behind the current aromatherapy boom? Let’s turn to what science tells us about the power of scent, and why we seem to benefit so much from the use of certain essential oils and their alluring aromas. We’ll also look at how these findings may back why AromaTech’s oils and scenting machines have been particularly helpful in the business environment for companies both large and small.
While people around the world have used aromatherapy in a variety of ways for millennia, going back perhaps to ancient Ayurvedic practices in India, up until recently, modern science and mainstream medicine have essentially ignored the practical benefits that scents appear to have. Yet a growing body of evidence appears to show that, when used safely and appropriately, essential oils are potentially helpful to relieve stress, stabilize mood, improve sleep and much more.
As most of these studies have been clinical trials to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of using scents in the hospital or other medical settings, much of the findings have revolved around the use of aromatherapy to improve one’s health and physical well-being. Here’s an overview of some of these new studies and what they reveal:
- Aromatherapy as an Aid for Recovery or Healing: A handful of more recent studies conducted on cancer patients appear to show that when used to complement more standard forms of treatment, aromatherapy helps to reduce nausea and discomfort, which could indicate its usefulness as a supportive tool for recovery from chronic illness.
- The Anti-Oxidant Powers of Basil and Rosemary: Studies conducted at the University of California-Davis appear to show that certain oils, including basil and rosemary, release anti-oxidants during aromatherapy that may help to protect the body against disease-causing free radicals.
- The Calming Benefits of Lavender: Another recent study has found that when diffused, lavender helps to reduce anxiety and support the overall health of the nervous system. This promising finding opens up the possibility of using lavender to help treat neurological conditions
There have been a smaller number of studies conducted on the other purported benefits of aromatherapy, including those related to enhancing focus or productivity in the workplace. Of particular interest to business owners may be this study conducted by the Takasago Corporation in Japan that found that employees who worked with computers made 54 percent fewer errors when they were in an environment scented with lemon and had similarly increased performance when exposed to the aromas of jasmine or lavender. Citrus scents such as lemon have long been known to be powerful mood enhancers that also enhance concentration, but only recently has research emerged that appears to support this idea.