How Does Aromatherapy Work? Unravelling the Three Key Mechanisms

Introduction to Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a natural healing practice that uses the power of scents to improve our well-being. Today, we'll explore how aromatherapy works and the three main ways it affects us: through our sense of smell, inhalation, and absorption.

the three parts of aromatherapy

The Power of the Sense of Smell

Our sense of smell is incredible! It's all thanks to our olfactory system, which allows us to detect different scents. When we inhale aromatic molecules from essential oils, they travel to a part of our brain that controls emotions. That's why certain scents can make us feel calm, happy, or even nostalgic. Aromatherapy uses this connection to positively influence our mood and overall feelings.

Inhalation: A Direct Pathway to Healing

Inhaling the wonderful aromas of essential oils is a direct way to benefit from aromatherapy. When we breathe in these scents, they go straight to our respiratory system. This can help us in various ways, like opening up our airways when we're feeling stuffy. Using diffusers or inhaling steam with essential oils are common methods to enjoy these benefits. When we inhale the scent molecules from essential oils, the naturally occurring compounds within them trigger hormonal responses in the body to make us feel calmer, balanced, energised etc depending on the scent blend. You can read more mood-changing essential oils here.

Absorption: A Deeper Connection with Aromatherapy

Another way aromatherapy works is through absorption. Our skin can absorb the tiny molecules from essential oils, allowing them to enter our bloodstream. This is why applying certain essential oils directly to our skin can have localised effects, like soothing sore muscles or promoting skin health. Remember though, essential oils should be diluated first with a carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed. Essential oils are very potent and should not be applied in their pure form. You can read more about how to use essential oils here.

Harnessing the Synergy of Inhalation and Absorption

Both inhalation and absorption work together to give us the best results from aromatherapy. By inhaling essential oils, we experience immediate effects on our mood and emotions. At the same time, topical application allows us to target specific areas for localised benefits. Combining these two methods can create a powerful and personalised aromatherapy experience.


Aromatherapy works wonders through the power of our sense of smell, inhalation, and absorption. By understanding how these three mechanisms interact, we can harness the benefits of essential oils for our emotional and physical well-being. So why not give aromatherapy a try and discover how these beautiful scents can enhance your life in a natural and holistic way.

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