Most practitioners place aromatherapy somewhere on a spectrum between ‘feelgood’ and ‘medicine’. They believe there are two mechanisms at work: one that’s pharmacological, the other psychological. Following the pharmacological route, molecules from the aromatic product enter the body and alter physiological processes, just like any other chemicals would do. The psychological impact is more about the connection between our sense of smell and our mood, emotions and behaviour.
Advocates might use peppermint for digestive disorders; rosemary for muscular pains and mental stimulation; lavender for headaches, insomnia, burns, aches and pains; or tea tree for respiratory problems and antifungal use. Aromatherapists believe essential oils can enhance wellbeing and also treat some minor health issues such as colds, muscle aches and dry skin.