Aromatherapy has become increasingly popular as a modality to improve general health and reduce stress. It has been proven that the sense of smell is a receptor that can influence the brain and body tremendously. There are many ways to take advantage of aromatherapy, but aromatherapy candles have emerged as one of the easiest ways to receive the benefit of essential oils.
Aromatherapy candles are special candles that are scented by the essential oils of plants, flowers and trees. These oils are extracted in a variety of ways, including steam distillation, cold pressing and solvent extraction.
Essential oils are concentrated, volatile substances that each have a host of health benefits, such as being anti-inflammatory, regulating the female menstrual cycle and cleansing the body internally. There are also numerous mental and emotional health benefits, such as stress reduction, treatment of depression and reduction in migraine headaches.
Aromatherapy, including the use of aromatherapy candles, is part of the resurgence of homeopathic modalities available to treat mental and bodily health. While the effective use of essential oils requires some knowledge and skill, the average person can use aromatherapy candles with very little specialized knowledge and reap many benefits.
Aromatherapy Candle History
Candles have been in existence in some form or another for thousands of years. However, originally, they were made from tallow-the fat of cows and sheep. The tallow candles let off an unpleasant smell, which the ancient Egyptians combated by adding essential oils to the candles. The Egyptians already used the oils and plant essences in healing and burial rites, but also discovered that when released into the air through candles, there were additional mood altering benefits as well.
Tallow candles were also used by the ancient Romans and many other societies. It was not until after the fifteenth century that beeswax candles were introduced, which was a cleaner burning and less offensive source of light. However, beeswax was relatively expensive and only the higher classes could afford beeswax candles with regularity. The majority of the population continued to use tallow candles for quite some time.
Around 1800, Spermaceti was discovered, which is a wax derived from the oil of sperm whales. Spermaceti was mixed with the previously undesirable tallow and resulted in a harder, longer lasting and less smoky candle-which was a vast improvement. In 1825, wicks were introduced, which allowed candles to burn even longer.
Paraffin wax was discovered 25 years later, which is a byproduct of crude oil. The Paraffin is processed, bleached and deodorized for commercial use. It can be molded into any form and is long burning, which is why it is still largely used today.
History of Candle Making
Benefits of Aromatherapy Candles
Aromatherapy candles are recommended by holistic practitioners, as well as mainstream doctors and therapists as a means to promote emotional and mental balance. Some of the benefits of using aromatherapy candles are:
Which Scent to Choose?
Essential oils have the ability to promote healing in a number of ways. However, there are specific oils which are more effective in treating mental and emotional issues through smell alone. Below are the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy candles and their specific benefits. Some essential oils have more than one benefit, so will appear under multiple categories.
Relaxation/Stress ReliefChamomile is known for its soothing, stress relieving ability. Chamomile helps to slow the brain and promotes sleep.
Cinnamon is a common, yet familiar scent and very relaxing.
Frankincense is a very calming scent and can significantly reduce stress.
Lemongrass can lift mental and physical exhaustion and can be used as an aid to recover rom jetlag.
Lavender is a calming scent that can help eliminate the symptoms of stress.
Melissa is a natural sedative and can be used as a sleep aid.
Neroli can reverse insomnia and has been used to relax colicky babies and help them sleep.
Sandalwood is an effective stress reliever.
Tangerine is also a stress reducer and mood enhancer.
Mood EnhancingBergamot essential oil is known to provide a powerful uplifting affect.
Lemon is a powerful mood enhancer, as are Lime and Orange.
Lemongrass helps to foster cheer.
Neroli helps one to be even tempered and less quick to anger.
Rose lifts the spirits and conjures feeling of contentedness.
Rosewood promotes feelings of pleasure and happiness.
Vanilla is equally soothing, uplifting and relaxing.
Anxiety and Depression Bergamot essential oil is an uplifting citrus scent that eases depression and unnatural fear.
Chamomile is a natural relaxant and can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Frankincense can help combat anxiety and panic attacks.
Melissa is often used as a natural antidepressant.
Neroli helps to calm anxiousness and promotes an even mood.
Orange helps to lift depression and promotes happiness.
Peppermint is beneficial for combating depression and general anxiety.
Petitgrain works to ward off panic attacks.
Rose has antidepressant properties.
Aphrodisiac/ impotence and frigidityClove oil has a spicy, stimulating scent and is known to help correct sexual dysfunction.
Orange can help reverse impotence and female frigidity.
Vanilla is a heady scent and a natural aphrodisiac.
Ylang Ylang possesses a hypnotic scent that stimulates arousal. Mental Clarity and Focus
Clove oil lifts mental fatigue and provides a clear, sharp focus.
Cinnamon is also excellent for clearing the mind and promoting mental clarity.
Frankincense opens up the senses and the mind and promotes creative thought.
Helichrysum cleanses the body’s meridian pathways and helps to balance the chakras.
Myrrh promotes relaxation and aids in reaching a meditative state.
Nutmeg lifts brain fog and promotes clear thought.
Patchouli promotes clarity of thought and increased concentration.
Sandalwood calms irrational fears.
Spearmint clears the brain and provides a boost of energy.
Lemon helps one to think clearer and aids in concentration.
Peppermint helps headaches to subside.
Rosemary removes feelings of fatigue.
Types of Aromatherapy Candles