Aromatherapy uses natural oils found in plants to bring physical and psychological benefits to its users, such as pain and anxiety relief, memory enhancement, relaxation, mental alertness, regulation of hormones, improvement of sleep, nervous system stimulation, and digestion aid. This is just a short list as the uses of aromatherapy, as they are quite diverse and numerous. Since herbal soaps are made from these natural oils, they can provide many of these same benefits. It is recommended that when applying essential oils to the skin that another oil acting as a carrier base be used. If a pure essential oil is placed directly on the skin without a carrier, it can cause severe irritation to the skin. An herbal soap provides the perfect carrier base needed to prevent such irritation.
The exact method that aromatherapy uses to heal the body is currently unknown. However, it is suspected that the oils directly influence the brain's limbic system by way of the olfactory nerves. As the scents are inhaled, the nerves inside the nose are stimulated and affect the limbic system, which is the part of the brain responsible for moods, memories, and the ability to learn. When this portion of the brain is stimulated, endorphins and other neurotransmitters are released and spread throughout the body, bringing healthful benefits like those mentioned above. There is also some speculation that when combined with a carrier base, the chemical compounds of the oils cross over through the skin, leaving the toxins behind in the base. The chemical compounds then act like pharmaceutical medicines, relieving ailments. This is why it is critical to always combine essential oils with carrier bases before applying them to the skin.
There are many ways to experience the benefits that aromatherapy provides. Scented candles, herbal soaps, and air dispensers (which dilute the oil in a small bowl of water and then allow the scents to spread throughout the air), and even oil messages can be used as methods for aromatherapy treatment. Each method is safe to use and depends on the preferences of the user. Herbal soaps provide a safe way of using essential oils and aromatherapy because they provide the safe carrier bases needed for application to the skin.