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How to create a relaxing home with aromatherapy

Use essential oils to improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Essential oils can be diffused into the air using diffusers. (Photo: Gettyimages)
Essential oils can be diffused into the air using diffusers. (Photo: Gettyimages)

Aromatherapy, derived from the ancient practices of using natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being, has gained popularity in modern times as a holistic approach to healing and relaxation. This therapeutic technique harnesses the power of aromatic essential oils to stimulate the senses, uplift the mood, and support physical and emotional balance.

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils extracted from aromatic plants to improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being. These essential oils are highly concentrated extracts that capture the essence and fragrance of plants, flowers, herbs, and trees. Each essential oil possesses unique properties and therapeutic benefits, ranging from calming and stress-relieving to invigorating and uplifting.

How does aromatherapy work?

The inhalation of essential oil molecules stimulates the olfactory system, which is closely linked to the brain's limbic system, responsible for emotions, memories, and hormonal regulation. As a result, aromatherapy can evoke powerful emotional responses and influence mood and behaviour.

Inhalation is one of the most common methods of aromatherapy. Essential oils can be diffused into the air using diffusers, added to hot water for steam inhalation, or applied to a cotton ball or tissue for inhalation.

Additionally, when applied topically to the skin through massage or compresses, essential oils can be absorbed through the skin, offering localised therapeutic effects. However, it is essential to dilute essential oils with carrier oils properly to prevent skin irritation or sensitisation.

If you want the best of both worlds, you can add a few drops of essential oils to your bathwater. This creates a relaxing and therapeutic bathing experience, allowing the oils to be absorbed through the skin and inhaled through steam.

Related: 8 of the most popular home fragrance brands in Singapore

Benefits of aromatherapy

1. Stress Relief

Certain essential oils, such as lavender, chamomile, and bergamot, are known for their calming and anxiety-reducing properties, effectively alleviating stress and promoting relaxation.

HiQiLi PURE Essential Oil 10ml 100% Natural

From S$2.70 (was S$4.35)

HiQiLi PURE Essential Oil 10ml 100% Natural. (Photo: Shopee SG)
HiQiLi PURE Essential Oil 10ml 100% Natural. (Photo: Shopee SG)

2. Improved Sleep

Aromatherapy can aid in improving sleep quality by creating a soothing bedtime routine and using essential oils like lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang to promote relaxation and induce sleep.

Related: Scents that can ease tensions and promote better sleep

MUJI Essential Oil Sleeping Blend 10ml

S$23.90

MUJI Essential Oil Sleeping Blend 10ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)
MUJI Essential Oil Sleeping Blend 10ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)

3. Enhanced Mood

Citrus oils such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit are renowned for their uplifting and energising effects, helping to boost mood and alleviate feelings of fatigue and low spirits.

MUJI Essential Oil / Grapefruit 30ml

S$33.90

MUJI Essential Oil / Grapefruit 30ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)
MUJI Essential Oil / Grapefruit 30ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)

4. Pain Management

Some essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus and ginger possess analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, making them beneficial for relieving headaches, muscle tension, and minor aches and pains.

NOW Essential Oils, Peppermint Oil, 30 ml

S$12.90

NOW Essential Oils, Peppermint Oil, 30ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)
NOW Essential Oils, Peppermint Oil, 30ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)

5. Immune Support

Certain essential oils, including eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint, have antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties that can help protect against common colds and respiratory infections.

NOW Essential Oils, Eucalyptus Oil, 30 ml

S$8.90

NOW Essential Oils, Eucalyptus Oil, 30ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)
NOW Essential Oils, Eucalyptus Oil, 30ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)

How to use aromatherapy at home

1. Invest in essential oil diffusers

Purchase high-quality essential oil diffusers for different rooms in your home. Diffusers disperse essential oil molecules into the air, creating a soothing atmosphere. For bigger spaces like the living room, it’s best to get a large diffuser that can not only last longer (you don’t have to keep adding water) but also spread the scent to all corners of the room.

Diffusers are also more flexible to use as you can easily switch the scent by adding different essential oils or even experimenting your own blend. One small bottle of essential oil can last you weeks or months, depending on how often you use it. While it’s great to have a variety of essential oils at home, just be careful you don’t end up getting too many—like me.

[Gift with Purchase] Mini Humidifier Aroma Diffuser

S$22.90

[Gift with Purchase] Mini Humidifier Aroma Diffuser. (Photo: Shopee SG)
[Gift with Purchase] Mini Humidifier Aroma Diffuser. (Photo: Shopee SG)

[Bundle Set] MUJI Large Aroma Diffuser and Essential Oil 10ml (Relaxing) Set

S$162.90

[Bundle Set] MUJI Large Aroma Diffuser and Essential Oil 10ml (Relaxing) Set. (Photo: Shopee SG)
[Bundle Set] MUJI Large Aroma Diffuser and Essential Oil 10ml (Relaxing) Set. (Photo: Shopee SG)

2. Light up aromatic candles

Candles are an interesting form of aromatherapy as they also provide a warm and cosy atmosphere with their orange hues. Available in different shapes and sizes, candles make a great home decor too. But unlike pure essential oils, aromatic candles are usually a blend of scents, which may not be entirely pleasing to you. Since it’s an open flame, it can be dangerous if you have kids or pets at home. It’s best to keep these candles within your sight and place them out of their reach and away from flammable items.

Aromantic Soy Wax Essential Oil Candle

From S$6.80

Aromantic Soy Wax Essential Oil Candle. (Photo: Shopee SG)
Aromantic Soy Wax Essential Oil Candle. (Photo: Shopee SG)

Lynk Fragrances Scented Candles 100% Palm and Coconut Wax

From S$26.90

Lynk Fragrances Scented Candles 100% Palm and Coconut Wax. (Photo: Shopee SG)
Lynk Fragrances Scented Candles 100% Palm and Coconut Wax. (Photo: Shopee SG)

3. Go for reed diffusers

If you want something simple and low-maintenance, go for reed diffusers as they don’t require any heat or electricity to operate. Typically made from rattan or bamboo, reed sticks absorb the scented oil in a glass container, saturating themselves with the fragrance. The oil then evaporates into the air, dispersing the scent throughout the room.

However, reed diffusers are only suitable for small spaces like the bathroom or bedroom. You’ll also need to flip the reeds from time to time to ensure a consistent fragrance and place a coaster to catch oil drips, which usually happen when you first put the reeds in.

Pristine Reed Diffuser | Hotel & Garden | Essential Oil | 50ml

From S$19.31 (was S$19.90)

Pristine Reed Diffuser | Hotel & Garden | Essential Oil | 50ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)
Pristine Reed Diffuser | Hotel & Garden | Essential Oil | 50ml. (Photo: Shopee SG)

Laundrin Premium Perfume Room Diffuser 80ml (Reed Diffuser)

S$17.50

Laundrin Premium Perfume Room Diffuser 80ml (Reed Diffuser). (Photo: Shopee SG)
Laundrin Premium Perfume Room Diffuser 80ml (Reed Diffuser). (Photo: Shopee SG)

4. Try shower steamers

Don’t have a bathtub at home? You can still have a relaxing bath time with shower steamers. Typically made with a combination of baking soda, citric acid, and essential oils, shower steamers fizz and dissolve as they come into contact with water, releasing a burst of aromatic fragrance into the air. By placing the shower steamers at a corner (not in direct contact with flowing water), steam from the shower helps disperse the scent throughout the bathroom. This creates a spa-like atmosphere and allows you to experience the therapeutic effects of aromatherapy while cleansing and rejuvenating your body.

SABUN Shower Steamer / Foot Bath Fizzy (Sinus Relief, Better Sleep)

From S$10.90

SABUN Shower Steamer / Foot Bath Fizzy (Sinus Relief, Better Sleep). (Photo: Shopee SG)
SABUN Shower Steamer / Foot Bath Fizzy (Sinus Relief, Better Sleep). (Photo: Shopee SG)

Innerfyre Co Courage Shower Steamer

S$28

Innerfyre Co Courage Shower Steamer. (Photo: Shopee SG)
Innerfyre Co Courage Shower Steamer. (Photo: Shopee SG)

5. Use room and pillow sprays

Room and pillow sprays offer a convenient and versatile way to enhance the ambience of your living spaces and promote relaxation and well-being. These sprays typically contain a blend of water, alcohol, and essential oils, carefully crafted to create pleasant and soothing scents. With a simple spritz, these sprays can instantly refresh and rejuvenate any room, especially when you have guests over or when you want to get rid of unpleasant smells. Additionally, pillow sprays are specifically formulated to help promote restful sleep by infusing your bedding with calming scents that can aid in relaxation and stress reduction.

Occasionally, I’d also spray my favourite perfume, in place of a room spray, into the air to refresh the room. It may sound wasteful given the price tags on perfumes, but it is a quick fix when you don’t have a room spray and want to switch up the room atmosphere. The aroma also tends to linger and it’s a pleasant surprise to catch a whiff hours after the spray.

Hooga Room Spray Black Series

S$11.90

Hooga Room Spray Black Series. (Photo: Shopee SG)
Hooga Room Spray Black Series. (Photo: Shopee SG)

Weavve The Dream Pillow Mist (Lavender)

S$20

Weavve The Dream Pillow Mist (Lavender). (Photo: Shopee SG)
Weavve The Dream Pillow Mist (Lavender). (Photo: Shopee SG)

Incorporating aromatherapy into your home can profoundly enhance your overall well-being and quality of life. Whether using diffusers, candles, bath products, or sprays, you can create a serene and inviting environment that promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and uplifts the mood. By exploring the diverse range of scents and blends available, you can personalise your aromatherapy experience to suit your preferences.

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