It depends on who you ask and how you measure the benefits of aromatherapy. In my mind, there is absolutely no doubt that smells have an emotional response to me. I know I am not alone. So, arguing about whether fragrance impacts emotions seems like a waste of time.
Furthermore, since I believe your emotions impact your health in some way, it seems logical that it is a fact that there are benefits to aromatherapy. That said, I suspect that some people exaggerate the benefits beyond what science has shown so far because of wishful thinking, sincere belief, or financial gain.
The scientific proof is slim but interesting. There is a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that found that the smell of lemon oil reduced agitation in patients with dementia. There is presently a clinical trial underway testing whether people with depression or anxiety can be helped through inhaling Limon or Vetiver.
The above study says that Vetiver and Limon essential oils contain “sedative, soothing, and relaxing active ingredients” that will “stimulate the olfactory nerve.” This, they believe impacts the emotional-controlling limbic system which in turn will affect a person’s mood. This is followed by mood-related physical changes in blood pressure, breathing, memory, hormones, and other bodily reactions.
I find that their explanation makes sense to me. My advice to my customers is to listen to what your body is telling you. When it comes to aromatherapy, being aware of how you are reacting to a smell is more important than any specialist. If you like a smell, it is good for you. If you start feeling sick, annoyed, or want to avoid a smell, it is bad for you. May sound over-simplified and probably is but, in a complicated world, sometimes a simple answer is so comforting. For me, self-awareness is the key.
Try my Frankincense Body Butter for some uplifiting smell therapy!