Aromatherapy is a type of therapy that has been tested and tried many a time. There are so many things that scents can do to the mind, it’s no wonder that it’s become a popular type of “alternative” therapy for those who are looking for relief from physical and mental pain and stress.
Even people who don’t deal with chronic illnesses use aromatherapy to help them chill out and relax at the end of the day. But why does aromatherapy work, and can it be used to help with fibromyalgia?
How Does Aromatherapy Work?
As the name would suggest, aromatherapy is when you use certain smells in order to help your mind and body get relief from certain ailments, whether they are physical or mental.
It can be used in a number of different ways, and there are almost 200 different scents that are used and associated with aromatherapy and its uses. But how is it supposed to work? What in the world can a smell do in order to help our bodies relax and to help us fight off different illnesses?
The whole thing is actually incredibly interesting, when you look at it. Think about it. When you smell a citrus fruit, it catches your attention, correct? That specific smell triggers memories, and because it’s a particularly distinct smell, you will find that it really draws you to it.
The sweet smell of the orange is appealing to most people, which is why you will find it as a scent for different types of body sprays and lotions. But what happens when we smell that citrusy smell?
Is there something more going on, deeper inside the body and mind? Yes, and that’s where aromatherapy ends up coming into the picture.
Basically, that scent stimulates your sense of smell, and the scent ends up starting a journey. A significant percentage of that scent ends up going right into your brain through the air that you breathe in.
This is usually quite safe (but it’s also why “huffing” certain drugs gives us a reaction as well). The smell goes into the limbic system, which is where your brain determines your particular mood in that moment.
Your mood is affected by a variety of different chemicals and hormones, which are released in this specific system of the brain – and the scent is what helps that to activate and release some of those hormones.
Aromatherapy and Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Now that we have a bit of a better idea how aromatherapy works, how does this end up connecting with the pain and symptoms that we feel from our fibromyalgia.
Circulation is improved, which has a number of huge implications for those who suffer from fibromyalgia. If you’ve ever struggled with the circulation in your body, you likely know that the lack of blood flow can result in inflammation, pain, and immobility.
By increasing the circulation in your body, you can actually reduce all of those things, which increase your range of motion and help you to just feel better.
There are a variety of different things that aromatherapy can do for those who are trying to cope with the mental health issues that are related to fibromyalgia. Anxiety is a huge one – aromatherapy can help you to relax and get re-centered, so that in the long run, you will be able to cope with the other symptoms that may end up coming your way as a result of the disorder.
Depression can also be lifted, somewhat; you may be able to deal with your mood disorders more easily, and you may be able to prevent panic attacks and other issues that may come along, all by using aromatherapy.
Energy is something that many people with fibromyalgia wish that they had more of, because fatigue is an incredibly common problem for fibro sufferers. You may not be able to sleep through the night very well – but aromatherapy can help you to do better with that.
If you feel fatigued through the day, aromatherapy can give you renewed energy and allow you to feel like you are able to do what you need to do. Aromatherapy has been proven to play a huge role in helping fibro sufferers to be able to continue to take care of themselves and live the life they were living before the disorder started to take over their life.
You want to make sure that you aren’t feeling as much pain as you would otherwise, don’t you? Your pain tolerance is out of control as a part of your fibromyalgia, but aromatherapy can actually end up helping you to prevent that problem from getting even worse.
As you likely know, your pain tolerance isn’t very high with fibromyalgia. Aromatherapy can actually help your mind to feel a little more in control and your pain receptors won’t be as sensitive, especially if you are going through aromatherapy on a regular basis and allowing it to help and “reprogram” the way that your mind is thinking about the pains and aches.
There are studies going on currently that are looking to see if there are any benefits related to fibro pain and aromatherapy.
It will be interesting to see what these particular studies tell us, and if that will end up making a difference in how fibromyalgia is treated (especially in relation to fibromyalgia) in the future.
Aromatherapy can be a really helpful part of fibromyalgia treatment, and because of that, you may want to consider utilizing it as part of your overall treatment plan. That being said, you do have to be careful about certain issues that may come up.
For example, many people with fibromyalgia may also be sensitive to smells (which is a huge mystery), so aromatherapy may be a bad option for you because it would exacerbate other symptoms that you’re dealing with.
As with everything, your specialist will be able to give you the best advice about what you’re doing with your treatment.