Aroma Therapy means to treat with aroma through inhalation.
The smell of a good cup of coffee in the morning is a form of aromatherapy.
An aroma whether from a flower, herb plant or an essential oil will have similar actions and effects upon the human psyche. Meaning that an odor molecule whether from a food, flower, herb or essential oils will stimulate the same release of hormones to promote digestion, relaxation and stimulate the senses depending up its component properties.
A conditioned response to a particular aroma can also play a part in your response to a particular scent.
For instance having a positive association with a scent will enhance your response to the scent. Say, for instance, your grandmother wore the scent of lavender oil and you adore your grandmother the association will positively impact your response to the scent of lavender.
While, conversely, a negative association with an aroma can actually block your neuro-receptor response. Perhaps a caretaker in your early childhood wore the scent of lavender oil and was abusive in some way and you've developed a negative association with the scent of lavender. The smell of lavender in this case may trigger a feeling of aversion, or bad feelings.
In more modern times aroma therapy has become associated primarily with essential oils and developed into a form of alternative medicine.
Read next blog in this series: Ancient Use of Aroma for Healing Disease.