How Does Aromatherapy Work

In ancient times, Cleopatra used aromatherapy to woo Antony, while the Aztecs created elaborate heated pools to release pure flower fragrance… this is aromatherapy. But how does aromatherapy work?

Essential oils for aromatherapy

How Does Aromatherapy Work for Plants?

Aromatherapy attracts pollinators in nature
Pure essential oils, when they are extracted naturally (without the use of solvents, which can leave behind residues) are the heart and soul of the plant. Within the plant, the chemicals that create these scents have a job to do, such as attracting pollinators or repelling predators.

In their concentrated form, these oils retain their chemical signals. However, for humans these signals do not inspire us to pollinate a plant! Instead, these pure scents can gently inspire different feelings and moods. The chemical messengers contained within the scent of essential oils trigger this primitive brain function and work to influence our emotions.

How Does Aromatherapy Work for Us?

Aromatherapy works by using these pure scents to bypass the conscious mind. These scents then unconsciously energize, focus, and soothe our emotions on a deeper level.

Have you ever had the experience of a smell suddenly retrieving a long-forgotten memory? Perhaps you caught the faintest whiff of old leather and it reminded you of your grandfather’s favorite chair? That’s aromatherapy working! Our brain processes scent through the olfactory system to the limbic system, which controls our emotions and stores learned memories.

Imagine inhaling deeply from a rose, or smelling freshly crushed mint leaves…the power of scent can be transporting! By choosing different scents and their underlying chemical compounds, oil blends can be created with the desired aromatherapy effect in mind.

Rose in Aromatherapy

How Does Aromatherapy Work in Badger Products?

Let’s take our Stress Soother Aromatherapy Stick as an example. While formulating this product Badger Bill didn’t want to create something simply to relax you. He wanted a formula that helps you “rise to the occasion” because the way he sees it, sometimes the best way to handle stress is to stand tall and calmly face your stressor. So he chose very specific essential oils for this blend to achieve a nice balance between calm, cool, relaxed awareness.

Travel Size Stress Soother


  • Rosemary instills clear thinking and confidence
  • Tangerine is uplifting
  • Spearmint is cheering
  • Cedarwood helps to build inner strength
  • Roman chamomile is soothing
  • Lavender is relaxing
  • Rose is all about love and forgiveness

So as you smell this balm, it is subconsciously invoking encouragement as well as calm. This is the Badger approach to aromatherapy.


Aromatherapy is also about balance. Badger Bill likes to think of it like an orchestra:

“An aromatherapy blend can be thought of as a “symphony in scent”. Essential oils like Lemon, Tangerine and Bergamot supply ephemeral “top notes” similar to the top notes created by flutes, violin, or silver bells. Cedarwood and Sandalwood essential oils are deep and resonant. They can supply the “base note” quality, similar to base notes supplied by the base, drum, tuba, or cello in an orchestra. Other essential oils, like Ginger and Rosemary, are considered to be “middle notes” and they help to form the body of the composition. Thoughtful and intuitive blending of essential oil fragrances, informed by aromatherapy science and tradition, can result in new, unique, and inspiring blends that soothe and satisfy mind and body on the deepest levels. That’s what our mind balms are all about.”

Click here to view our other aromatherapy products like Sleep Balm, Focus Balm, and Cheerful Mind Balm.

Lavender is common in aromatherapy and can be found in some of Badger's blends.
Lavender is common in aromatherapy and can be found in some of Badger’s blends.

What do you think of aromatherapy? Let us know in the comments below!

14 comments on “How Does Aromatherapy Work

    • It’s a great question! For best results, you can apply the product to your pulse points such as wrists, neck, and temples or you can even apply directly under your nose. These are also very good for your skin and moisturizing so rubbing them into the back or your hands or any elbows or knees or anywhere that needs a little extra care is also a good thing. We hope you love them!

  • I have been using Aromatherapy since 2009. The first time I used the tea tree aroma and then the flows continue… I infact use the Scented candles in my study room to integrate the study atmosphere and as well as when I do my Yoga practice…

  • Arleen Decker says:

    I’m wondering how long your body responds to a particular aroma. Does it become ineffective after an amount of time? I’m tempted to run a diffuser most of the time, but I’ve been told that’s counterproductive.

    • Hi Arleen, I’m sorry to say that there’s not really one answer to this question. You can safely apply Badger products as often as you feel that they are helpful to you, and that might depend on you and your preferences! The Headache Soother, for instance, might be helpful to use more frequently whereas the Sleep Balm, you may find helpful just before you go to sleep for the night. Good luck! -Emily

  • Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy. It does not provide a cure for diseases, rashes or illnesses, but it can support conventional treatment of various conditions.

  • I use essential oils for essentially everything! Especially during the winter. I miss the warmth and feel of the spring/summer outdoors. I particularly like citrus-y fragrances.

  • I really wish I could stand Lavender, because it’s used in everything! Unfortunately, lavender is one scent I really hate (and if it’s a really strong one, my eyes get all itchy and watery). Do any of your aromatherapy products not use lavender? How can I used aromatherapy for relaxation and sleep without using lavender?

    • Hi Sarah!

      Cheerful Mind Balm, Focus Balm, Stress Soother and Yoga & Mediation Balm do not contain lavender. There are lots of essential oils that calm and relax, like chamomile, rose, orange, ylang ylang, geranium, frankincense, bergamot, tangerine, and spearmint (to name a few). 🙂

      I agree that lavender can be overpowering, and it’s not my #1 favorite either. I will say that there’s a big difference between fresh, true essential oil of French lavender (like Badger uses), and lavender “fragrance.” Also, since it is very strong we find it best used in very limited amounts in well-balanced formulas. Our Sleep Balm actually smells (to me) more like balsam fir than lavender! In any case, I thought I’d just throw that out there, because essential oils are really a place where quality and quantity matters. 🙂

      Let us know if you have any more questions!



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