Aromatherapy Tips From A Naturopathic Doctor


Hi Kelly

A friend of mine had an unfortunate experience recently. She was gingerly elbowing past a fellow traveler on a flight home when she dropped the small vial of oregano oil she’d been holding in her hand. The vial broke and the liquid spilled onto the floor. The whole cabin smelled like a pizzeria for the rest of the flight!

As for my friend, the incident left her feeling completely stressed out.

Why she was even carrying such a product isn’t all that surprising. Oregano oil is great for a whole number of different problems from dry skin to digestion. In any case, most of us carry around scented vials and balms meant to soothe aches, kill bacteria or just in the hopes of coaxing a happy mood. But, why do we turn to scents at all to cure what ails?

I asked Irene Piotrowicz, a Holistic Nutritionist at BIE Wellness, why aromatherapy works. “When senses are beneficially stimulated, the body reacts in turn,” she explains. “Depending on the chosen scents, the health benefits can include relieving insomnia, lowering stress levels and strengthening a weakened immune system.”

To be clear, none of this is new. Aromatherapy has been around for ages … literally. People across time and place have developed an understanding of the properties of plants and the ways in which the oils can be extracted and used. The basic idea behind the therapy is to use a plant’s aromatics (oils, petals, leaves) to change our mood and improve our general health and well-being.

My friend certainly took advantage of that body of knowledge the minute she entered her home. She headed straight for the cabinet that held her collection of aromatics, grabbed a soothing balm, poured herself a drink and flopped onto the couch.

choosing the aroma

When I walk down the aisle in a health store, I am always dazed and confused by the plethora of possible aromatherapy options. How does one actually make a choice? The first, and most obvious, answer is to get professional help. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. A quick Google will reveal a list of local natural health practitioners who can help you navigate the options. The second answer is to make sure you read the labels. Each product should give you some idea, at least, about what issue it targets. If it offers no information, don’t buy it.

Piotrowicz has lots of experience dealing with a full spectrum of health issues. In her practice, she regularly recommends frankincense, which has long been known to combat inflammation, support immunity and prevent infections. “I love to diffuse it over my bed at night as it settles my thoughts and calms my nervous system,” she says. “To my clients, I recommend making a simple body butter of coconut oil, Shea butter and frankincense oil. As the butter softens the skin, immunity is being increased at the same time.”

Sleep, when your body is at its most relaxed, is a great time to treat yourself to the tender loving care that essential oils offer. But, there’s another time and place that’s just as perfect for a good dose of aromatherapy.

the sweetest-smelling room in the house

The bathroom really is the unsung hero of the home. Oh sure, real estate agents will tell you that renovating kitchens is the best way to increase the value of your home. But, updating your bathroom will do that too. Bathrooms may rarely reach the level of inspired conversation that kitchens do, but they are worth every penny you put into them.

Especially when you create a spa bathroom equipped with a lush steam shower.

I’ve been through a number of home renovations (with sanity and marriage intact!). But, there’s one change that I regret not making … one that I will definitely be rectifying soon. That mistake is not adding a steam shower function to the bathroom when I had the chance. No worries, though. I haven’t even come close to reaching the end of my renovation rope. Steam showers are so luxurious! They are absolutely worth all the gray hair I might end up with once all the dust of another renovation settles. The steam relaxes tense muscles, clears blocked sinuses and just simply leaves you feeling like you’re the luckiest person in the world. There’s more, though. Some models of steam showers can even dispense aromatherapy oils.

Piotrowicz agrees. “Diffusing essential oils into steam during a steam shower,” she assures me, “is such an easy way of gaining the benefits of any desired oil. Being completely immersed in steam allows droplets of essential oils to be inhaled more so than a diffuser in your home would allow for. Try a blend of lemon, eucalyptus and frankincense oils.”

Because there are so many aromatherapy options, I asked Piotrowicz if there is one type that she can recommend that might be a kind of catch-all for the variety of aches, pains and health issues many of us experience on a daily basis. “Thieves by Young Living Essential Oils,” she tells me, “is the most versatile and effective product. It’s what I recommend everyone should have on hand. It’s a magical blend of clove, lemon, rosemary, cinnamon and eucalyptus that was inspired by the legend of four thieves who robbed the dead during the plague of the 15th century while protected by this very blend of oils. Young Living produces the highest grade of oils that may be ingested, while others may be too contaminated. Put a few drops in water and drink to support immunity. Diffuse it for 30 minutes in your home to eliminate airborne bacteria. Or clean the kitchen and bath with it!”

So, now you know. Learn from my mistake: make sure you install a steam shower with an aromatherapy dispenser the first time you renovate. That new spa bathroom will pay you back in good health, reduced anxiety, greater energy, no more headaches, and best of all, a deep relaxing sleep …

oh yeah, it’s worth the effort.


If you’re curious about these showers, Steam Showers Inc is the one Sheila used. They specialize in all things bathroom-related and they have over a decade of experience. For more information visit