At Down Etc, we keep our eyes open for ways in which we can incorporate new discoveries and age-old wisdom into our products with the single goal of providing our customers with a great night’s sleep™. Aromatherapy is one of those age-old practices in the news for its potential to reduce stress, ease pain, and improve sleep. The Team at Down Etc has enjoyed aromatherapy for some time, creating the Tiara Silks® Collection of aromatherapy pillows and we thought we would share with you some of what we found when we searched for the what, where, why, and how aromatherapy might help you achieve a great night’s sleep™.
What is Aromatherapy?
“Aromatherapy is a complementary and alternative medicine practice that taps into the healing power of scents from essential oils extracted from plants in order to balance your mind, body, and spirit. Essential oils can be diluted by water and diffused into the air or a few drops can be gently rubbed into acupressure points on the body. Studies have shown that specific essential oils used in aromatherapy can help relieve stress, relax the body, and promote better sleep.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/201604/six-aromatherapy-essential-oils-stress-relief-and-sleep
Essential oils are created from the cells that give a plant its fragrant smell. Lavender and chamomile are two of the most popular flowers used to make the essential oils for aromatherapy. It takes a lot of plants to distill essential oils. “More than 200 pounds of lavender flowers are used to make just 1 pound of lavender essential oil.” https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/aromatherapy-overview#1
Why is Aromatherapy in the News?
Aromatherapy is in the news because of its possibilities for reducing anxiety and producing calm, particularly in those suffering from pain. Lavender is one of the most studied essential oils based on its perceived relaxing effects.
“Experts think aromatherapy activates areas in your nose called smell receptors, which send messages through your nervous system to your brain. The oils may activate certain areas of your brain, like your limbic system, which plays a role in your emotions. They could also have an impact on your hypothalamus, which may respond to the oil by creating feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin. Some experts think that when you put essential oils on your skin, they cause a response in your skin and other parts of your body, like your joints.” https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/aromatherapy-overview#1
Although research on effectiveness is limited, some of the benefits sought from aromatherapy include: relief from anxiety and depression; improved quality of life; and improved sleep. A wide variety of healthcare researchers are working to determine how aromatherapy might benefit patients.
An article in Psychology Today noted, “Essential oils like lavender have even been shown to interact the same way biochemically that many anti-anxiety medications do on neuroreceptors.” The author pointed out that, “One study found that lavender oil aromatherapy calmed the nervous system—lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature as well as changing brain waves to a more relaxed state. Lavender can also help with mild insomnia and provide better quality of sleep.” The author cautioned, “Lavender aromatherapy is generally safe, except for those with allergies to lavender. If you are applying it regularly on your skin, it’s important to talk to your doctor since lavender can have estrogenic effects, so regular use should be taken with caution, especially in children.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/201604/six-aromatherapy-essential-oils-stress-relief-and-sleep. In one study of the effects of lavender essential oil on the sleep quality and anxiety level of patients’ coronary intensive care unit in Turkey, “it was found that the quality of sleep increased in patients who received aromatherapy.” The study noted similar outcomes of other studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26211735 In addition to lavender, other scents being studied for their stress-soothing properties include: Yuzu or lemon, Bergamot (another citrus fruit), Ylang Ylang (tree flowers), Clary sage (herb), and Jasmine (shrub and vine). https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/201604/six-aromatherapy-essential-oils-stress-relief-and-sleep
The National Cancer Institute’s PDQ on Aromatherapy with Essential Oils notes with respect to aromatherapy that, “It is used by patients with cancer to improve quality of life and reduce stress, anxiety, pain, nausea, and vomiting caused by cancer and its treatment. Aromatherapy may be used with other complementary treatments like massage therapy and acupuncture, as well as with standard medical treatments, for symptom management.” Although not conclusive, the PDQ notes with respect to studies of aromatherapy, “There have been some reports of improved mood, anxiety, sleep, nausea, and pain.” https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/aromatherapy-pdq
Care must be taken when using essential oils. “Many essential oils have been shown to be safe when used as directed. However, essential oils used in aromatherapy aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. When oils are applied to the skin, side effects may include allergic reactions, skin irritation and sun sensitivity. In addition, further research is needed to determine how essential oils might affect children and how the oils might affect women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, as well as how the oils might interact with medications and other treatments. If you're considering aromatherapy, consult your doctor and a trained aromatherapist about the possible risks and benefits.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/aromatherapy/faq-20058566
Where Does Aromatherapy Fit Into My Bedding Options?
Down Etc is excited to share with you the luxury of Dupioni silk and polyester aromatherapy pillows from our Tiara Silks® Collection. These pillows are more than just the perfect accent to your bedroom, they take the decorative pillow to a new level of luxury. As if a feather and down insert surrounded by Dupioni fabric in silk or polyester were not enough, these pillows include a hidden pocket into which you can fit a lavender or chamomile sachet. Select from our standard sizes, with or without flanges, in your choice of color to customize your pillow to your design specifications. The pillow arrives preassembled with the lavender or chamomile sachet inserted in the hidden pocket. When it is time to launder the pillow, simply remove the sachet and wash in the machine. You are on your way to a great night’s sleep™.
Reviewed by , Ambardekar MD, Nayana. “Aromatherapy & Essential Oils for Relaxation and Stress Relief.” WebMD, WebMD, 2018, www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/aromatherapy-overview#1.Brent A. Bauer, M.D. “Aromatherapy: Is It Worthwhile?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 May 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/aromatherapy/faq-20058566.
Breus Ph.D., Michael. “7 Essential Oils For Relaxation And Better Sleep.” Your Guide to Better Sleep, TheSleepDoctor, 20 Dec. 2018,www.thesleepdoctor.com/2018/06/12/7-essential-oils-for-relaxation-and-better-sleep/.
Karadag, Ezgi, et al. “Effects of Aromatherapy on Sleep Quality and Anxiety of Patients.” Nursing in Critical Care, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26211735.
PDQ® Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. PDQ Aromatherapy With Essential Oils. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated 01/08/2019. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/aromatherapy-pdq. Accessed 03/24/2019. [PMID: 26389261]
Wei MD, Marlynn. “Six Aromatherapy Essential Oils for Stress Relief and Sleep.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 28 Apr. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/201604/six-aromatherapy-essential-oils-stress-relief-and-sleep.
Wong, Cathy. “Which Essential Oils Can Help You Sleep Better?” Verywell Health, 2 July 2018, www.verywellhealth.com/aromatherapy-for-sleep-89673.