Aromatherapy Via Inhalation! A component in developing resiliency!

Posted by Danielle Sade on

The aromatherapist’s role is to be knowledgeable about each essential oil used and select a specific essential oil for the specific needs of an individual and ensure it’s been used safely.  When essential oils are used safely, they are effective recruiting the para-sympathetic state which is helpful in reducing stress, anxiety, depression and other emotional problems.

“Therefore, it may be true to say that Aromatherapy via inhalation can be supportive in the development of Resiliency!”

Resilience has become a widespread term that is applied to a diverse range of situations, from community responses to disasters to businesses, which survive economic pressures. (Hunter B. et al., 2014) [i] According to the American Psychological Association, “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress – such as family and relationship problems serious health problems or workplace and financial stressor.  It means bouncing back from difficult experiences.” (American Psychology Association 2011) [ii] Numerous studies and literature reviews have pointed out that fostering strategies in developing resiliency plays an important role in reducing negative outcomes and increasing positive outcomes. (McCann C. et al., 2013)[iii]  Also, positive emotions have the ability to strengthen coping strategies during times of stress and enhance one’s resilience against present and future adversity. (Gloria C et al., 2014)[iv]  Many essential oil aromas have a positive effect on moods and emotions: d-limonene a common constituent in citrus oils e.g. Grapefruit (Citrus x Paradisi) was found to significantly increase parasympathetic nervous activities, decrease heart rate and increase significant feelings of comfort. (Joung d. et al., 2014)[v]  While five-minute inhalation of Clary sage (Salvia Sclera) essential oil resulted in a significant reduction in cortisol and anti-depressive effect on menopausal women. (Lee K. et al., 2014)[vi]  The effects of inhalation of Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) was found to be calming and relaxing by reducing sympathetic activity. (Haze S. et al., 2002) [vii] The effects of these aromas can ensure brief respite periods that would be conducive to maintaining health and well-being.  Ensuring positive psychological time-outs by associating ordinary events with positive meaning can result in a momentary respite from stressful situations and also be a component in the development of a positive memory that could be found amidst of past stressful circumstances that people have encountered. (Folkman S et al., 2000) [viii]

Adapting this concept to Aromatherapy we can acknowledge; 

“Aromatherapy via inhalation offers momentary respite from stressful situations and also be a component in developing a positive memory in past stressful circumstance!”

The era of Covid-19 has introduced us to a new norm – a norm of distancing ourselves socially, being self-sufficient, and dealing with shortages in medications, travel limitations, cultural changes and universal psychosocial impact (Dubey S. et al., 2020)[ix] that leads to stress, anxiety, depression and emotional upset.  Revisiting and recognizing the fundamental method of application of Aromatherapy via inhalation is an effective method that helps reduce stress, anxiety depression and emotional upset. This could be perfect timing for a new norm in professional aromatherapy by focussing on how valuable the simple method of aromatherapy via inhalation can be and used as a strategy during times of stress and developing resilience in a therapeutic setting. 


[i] Hunter, B., & Warren, L. (2014). Midwives׳ experiences of workplace resilience. Midwifery30(8), 926–934.

[ii] American Psychological Association (2011). The road to resilience. http: resilience

[iii] McCann, C., Beddoe, E., McCormick, K., Huggard, P., Kedge, S., Adamson, C., & Huggard, J. (2013). Resilience in the health professions: A review of recent literature. International Journal of Wellbeing3(1), 60–81.

[iv] Gloria, C., & Steinhardt, M. (2014). Relationships Among Positive Emotions, Coping, Resilience and Mental Health. Stress And Health32(2), 145–156.

[v] Joung D, Song C, Ikei H et al. Physiological and psychological effects of olfactory stimulation with D-Limonene. Adv HortSci. 2014;28(2). [vi] Lee K, Cho E, Kang Y. Changes in 5-hydroxytryptamine and Cortisol Plasma Levels in Menopausal Women After Inhalation of Clary Sage Oil. Phytotherapy Research. 2014;28(12):1897-1897. doi:10.1002/ptr.5268

[vii]  Haze S, Sakai K, Gozu Y. Effects of Fragrance Inhalation on Sympathetic Activity in Normal Adults. The Japanese Journal of Pharmacology. 2002;90(3):247-253. doi:10.1254/jjp.90.247

[viii] Folkman, S., & Moskowitz, J. (2000). Stress, Positive Emotion, and Coping. Current Directions In Psychological Science9(4), 115–b118.

[ix]  Dubey S, Biswas P, Ghosh R et al. Psychosocial impact of COVID-19. Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews. 2020;14(5):779-788. doi:10.1016/j.dsx.2020.05.035  


The information contained in this educational service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Healing Fragrances School of Aromatherapy does not accept responsibility for any problematic situations experienced by you or anyone to whom you give treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in the course is intended to provide a medical diagnosis or offer a treatment.



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