Aromatherapy candles: what do they do? Do they work? (shorter version)

This is a shortened version of the full blog. To view the full version please click here

dreamstimemaximum_11599620

True aromatherapy candles are made with pure essential oils, which have therapeutic benefits. Visit our shop (sale now on!), where you can buy one of our scented candle relaxation or sleep packages. Our candles are made with 100% natural wax (soy and rapeseed) and fragranced with the pure essential oils of lavender, bergamot and geranium. The perfect remedy for tension and stress! Our candle does not contain any paraffin wax or synthetic fragrance. Plus all packages come with a free relaxation or sleep guide!

Aromatherapy candles – what are they?
We’ve all heard of scented candles, but how are these different from aromatherapy candles? Scented candles are often fragranced with synthetic fragrances and come in a multitude of fragrances, from strawberry to coffee or even cookie-scented! By contrast, aromatherapy candles are scented with essential oils, each of which has unique healing properties. Essential oils form the basis of aromatherapy itself, which aims to maintain or improve our spiritual, physical or psychological wellbeing (IFPA, 2015).

However, some candles may be called aromatherapy candles and still use synthetic fragrances, so watch out for this. Synthetic fragrances have been linked to adverse health effects (Ali, WEBMD, 2014).

Fragrance and wax
Many candles are made using paraffin wax (a crude oil derivative), which is non-renewable and has been shown to release harmful fumes when burnt. It’s better to try and find an aromatherapy candle that is made using natural waxes, such as soy or rapeseed. These are renewable and do not emit any harmful fumes.
Descriptions may say candles contain essential oils, but they may also contain artificial fragrances, so look out for this. In the same way, they may contain a wax like soy, but also contain paraffin wax.

Aromatherapy candles: what do they do?
We’ve already touched on the concept of aromatherapy and how it aims to maintain or improve our wellbeing (physically, psychologically or spiritually). Aromatherapy candles aim to harness the power of essential oils and allow us to benefit from these as they are released into the air around us.

Exactly what the particular aromatherapy candle does depends upon the blend of oils it uses. So for example, a candle which contains a calming blend, such as Lavender and Bergamot, will help us to relax and may be helpful to burn in the evening time.
We will go on to discuss whether aromatherapy candles work, and thus discuss some of the research into what effects particular essential oils have been shown to exhibit when inhaled.

Aromatherapy candles: how do they work?
To understand how aromatherapy candles can work, it is important to firstly understand how aromatherapy itself works.

Essential oils can have their effect on the body via two routes; inhalation and absorption through the skin (Rhind, 2012). With aromatherapy candles, it is through inhalation that we can derive benefit from the essential oils.

Absorption through the skin is normally achieved through massage, whereby essential oils are combined with a carrier oil and applied over the whole or particular sections of the body. Essential oils should not be applied directly to the body because they are so concentrated (Rhind, 2012).

The second way essential oils can enter the body is through inhalation. Because essential oils are ‘volatile’ they form vapours easily (e.g. when an aromatherapy candles burns) and it is these vapours that we breathe in. These oils can enter the bloodstream through our respiratory pathways and have a direct physiological effect upon us (Rhind, 2012).

dreamstimemaximum_14048449

Our sense of smell
Our sense of smell is a sophisticated system, not yet fully understood. Odour molecules pass to the olfactory organ in our nose, which uses tiny hair-like receptors. Fibres reach out from the olfactory organ to form the olfactory nerve. The olfactory nerve is the first cranial nerve and is described as an extension of our brain’s limbic system. The limbic system controls our expression of feelings and emotions; we do not have conscious control over this part of the brain. Within the limbic systemwe find the amygdala and hippocampus, both of which have been implicated in the process of memory. This may well explain why smells can evoke strong memories for us, almost instantly. For example, a particular scent can take us back to our childhood, remind us of a holiday or of a particular person.

Nerve cells also link to a part of our brain called the thalamus. Senses are combined here and messages pass to our frontal cortex, where we can recognise a smell. All this happens in a split second.

Aromatherapy candles: do they work?
There’s lots of research which looks at the effects of inhaling essential oils – but what does this show? We’ve given a few examples below:

• Lavender – can help reduce stress and anxiety, induce calmness and improve sleep
• Orange– improve mood, induce calmness and reduce anxiety
• Geranium – reduces anxiety (Morris et al., 2005)

A 2008 study found that the aroma of lavender essential oil helped to reduce the stress levels of students working on an arithmetic test, as measured by a reduction in a stress hormone.

It has been found that inhalation of lavender can help to induce a more positive mood, lower anxiety and increased calmness in individuals waiting for dental treatment. The same effect was also found for orange essential oil (Lehrner et al., 2005)

A study in 1995 concluded that aromatherapy candles can be used for aromatherapy because the biologically active fragrance compounds are unchanged by the burning process and can be inhaled.

Key points
• Aromatherapy candles use the power of essential oils to maintain or improve our psychological, physical or spiritual wellbeing.
• They work via inhalation; this can have an effect on both our mind and body.
• Research has shown that inhalation of specific essential oils can have significant effects, such as making us feel calmer, less anxious, more positive in mood, and even improve our sleep.
• Aromatherapy candles offer a convenient and accessible means of enjoying the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.

candle and box square

Don’t forget to visit our shop (sale now on!), where you can buy one of our scented candle relaxation or sleep packages. Our candles are made with 100% natural wax (soy and rapeseed) and fragranced with the pure essential oils of lavender, bergamot and geranium. The perfect remedy for tension and stress! Our candle does not contain any paraffin wax or synthetic fragrance. Plus all packages come with a free relaxation or sleep guide!

You may also be interested in:
Zuna shop
Natural aromatherapy candles
Essential oils vs synthetic fragrance in candles
Soy candles vs paraffin

© 2015 Zuna Naturals Ltd.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *