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The Effects of Aromatherapy

The main reason to use aromatherapy oils is for the effects they have on the human body (seek specific advice if thinking of using essential oils with animals). These effects can be through the action of the different chemical constituents that form the oil or simply through the way we associate that smell in our mind (bringing back memories, feeling more attractive and more).

There are a range of different properties essential oils may have and these often have traditional names to describe the properties. Some of the more common ones are:-

  • Antiseptic: Oils that reduce infections (by killing bacteria and or other microbes.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Reduce the body's inflammatory response. Rose and Chamomile are classics.
  • Fungicidal: Kill fungal spores (e.g. tea tree)
  • Immune System Stimulating and Healing agents : promoting healing of cuts, scars, stretch marks etc.
  • Deodorants:
  • Insect repellents:

  • Hypertensive: Reduce blood pressure
  • Hypertensive: Increase blood pressure
  • Rubefaciants: Increase blood supply to the areas (e.g. for stiff joints)
  • Depurative: Cleansing effect (e.g. for gout)
  • Lymphatic Stimulants: increase lymph flow e.g. for water retention

  • Expectorants: Thin mucous allowing it to flow. E.g. for blocked noses etc.
  • Antispasmodics: Reduce the need to cough from muscle spasm.
  • Antiseptics: Oils that reduce infections (by killing bacteria and or other microbes.

  • Antispasmodics: Reduce spasm and cramping.
  • Carminatives: Reduce the sensation of sickness.
  • Cholagogues: Increase bile flow
  • Hepatics: Support liver health
  • Aperitifs: Increase appetite.

  • Antispasmodics: Reduce spasm and cramping.
  • Emmenagogues: May help regulate female hormonal cycle.
  • Galacatagoues: Increase breast milk flow.
  • Aphrodisiacs: Increased sexual energy
  • Anaphrodisiacs: Suppress and reduce sexual energy/desire.
  • Adrenal stimulants: Support your stress response.
  • Urinary Antiseptics: Specific action for bladder and urinary infections

  • Bactericidal and Antiviral Agents: Supporting your immune system
  • Febrifuge: Reduce fevers

  • Sedatives: Calm down mood
  • Stimulants: Uplifting
  • Tonics: Supportive and nourishing


    As well as these different classic properties essentials oils can have on the body they can also have an effect on the mid.
    Aromatherapy oils are said to act pharmacologically, i.e. like a drug absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin, and also the way your sense of smell affects mood (e.g. The smell of Christmas pudding can bring back festive memories). Most clinical trials of aromatherapy massage have focussed on the psychological outcomes of the treatment. There is good evidence from randomised trials to indicate that massage reduces anxiety scores in the short term, where settings as varied as intensive care, psychiatric institutions, hospices and occupational health have been used. Practitioners and patients report that massage improves self-image in terminal illness.
    Aromatherapy can be considered to play a part on the holistic healing effect. The psychological benefits from the application of essential oils (often during a massage treatment) includes, relaxing an apprehensive mind, uplifting depression and despair, relieving panic or anger and, importantly, giving the feeling of touch.

    The Extra Benefits of Massage and Aromatherapy

    As well as the effects of essential oils, massage can support by:
  • Increase the circulation of both blood and lymph which helps in the elimination of toxins from the body
  • Release muscle tension
  • Tone under-worked or weak muscles
  • Relieve cramp.
  • Induce deep relaxation, relieving both mental and physical fatigue
  • Release chronic neck, shoulder tension and back ache
  • Improve circulation to the muscles, reducing inflammation and pain
  • Relieve neuralgic, arthritic and rheumatic conditions
  • Help with fractures, sprains; breaks and dislocation heal more readily
  • Promote correct posture and improves mobility
  • Improve, directly and indirectly, the function of every internal organ
  • Improve digestion, assimilation and elimination
  • Increase the ability of the kidneys to function efficiently
  • Help to release suppressed feelings, which can be shared in a safe, confident setting.
  • Find out more about aromatherapy massage in our Glasgow clinic