Aromatherapy: the sweet scent of spa success
Part of the attraction of visiting any reputable spa is the delicately fragranced aroma of flowers that wafts out to meet you as you approach the treatment rooms, setting the scene perfectly for the relaxing pampering which awaits within the sweet-smelling space you are about to enter.
Flower scents have long been recognised as having relaxing and therapeutic properties – and indeed these properties have been the subject of much scientific research over the years.
Aromatherapy seems to owe much of its success to the fact that certain fragrant smells can stimulate emotion-related areas of the brain, leading to changes in the way that both mind and body function.
Many of the beauty treatments offered by leading spas involve the use of one aromatherapy oil or another – and often a heady blend of several.
Popular examples include Decleor’s Anti-ageing Face and Body treatment and their Moroccan Spice Detox Face and Body treatment, both of which stimulate and relax in equal measure.
But it’s not just in healthspas that aromatherapy oils find a useful application. Recently scientists discovered that inhaling the smell of lavender before watching a horror movie markedly reduced the symptoms of stress in women viewers.
They found that if women ingested a capsule of lavender before watching a scary film, their physiological responses were altered and they exhibited fewer signs of stress. However, interestingly, the exact opposite applied to male viewers, who appeared to be more stressed after taking a lavender capsule.
It would appear that what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander.