Aromatherapy Awareness Week
05th - 11th June 2023
Aromatherapy Awareness Week is an annual national campaign hosted by the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) to raise awareness of the clinical benefits of aromatherapy. Returning for its 14th year running, it seeks to educate the public about the difference aromatherapy can make to your life and the lives of people in your care. The campaign is brought to life by a multitude of individuals and companies who come together to organise events and activities throughout the UK, drawing attention to the important role aromatherapy has in healthcare management. This awareness campaign is a unique opportunity for all clinical aromatherapists and service suppliers in the industry to do something pro-active to raise the profile of the health benefits of aromatherapy.
Ancient history has provided anecdotal evidence of the therapeutic use of essential oils but, in the last few decades, increasing scientific research has evidenced and substantiated their health benefits. The objective evidence base which supports Aromatherapy comprises clinical trials, case histories, clinical audits and also patient reported outcome data. The amount of research, and the media profile of some studies, has led to a high level of public confidence in the efficacy of Aromatherapy. However, awareness and understanding of the full extent and benefits of essential oils, still requires greater recognition.
During the pandemic, research evidencing essential oils and their antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties took centre stage. As we start to emerge out of the pandemic, the theme of this Week focuses on raising awareness of how essential oils can improve the psychological effects this unprecedented situation has had on mental health, as well as being a key therapeutic intervention in healthcare. In 2018 the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare (PGIH) issued a report urging the government to embrace complementary, traditional and natural medicine to ease the mounting burden being placed on the NHS. Never before has the benefits of incorporating complementary and traditional approaches, to achieve optimum health and wellbeing, seemed so important.
The IFA realises that therapists often need encouragement and support to get involved in press and publicity campaigns, so the IFA PR team have put together a professional support package to give therapists the confidence to speak with a collective and informed voice to any sector of the community. Whether you send a tweet, run an event, contact your local media, or have your own ideas, there are all kinds of ways you can help to raise the profile of aromatherapy in the media and in your local community.
Equally, the awareness campaign is an opportunity for everyone to do something pro-active and to reach more people who would benefit from accessing the IFA's information support services. The IFA urge everyone to use this week to discover new ways to improve their health using essential oils and self-care. The IFA would stress however, that it is vitally important for only the safe use of essential oils to be promoted, as some oils do have contraindications attached to them and restrictions on how they are administered. Caution must be exercised when using essential oils and where there is doubt, always contact an IFA registered Aromatherapist who will offer guidance on the oils that are suitable for individual needs.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About The International Federation of Aromatherapist
The International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) is the professional body of choice for Aromatherapists worldwide, providing practitioners and non-practitioners with information, professional support and training. We regulate and accredit standards in Aromatherapy for both the practitioner and the course provider, and offer international qualifications through our accredited centres. The IFA register is approved by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) a UK body accountable to parliament. The IFA is actively involved with improving academic standards in the practice of aromatherapy and is also a charity committed to promoting and raising awareness of aromatherapy and disseminating information to the general public, as well as charity project initiatives in the medical field.
Note to press - anyone promoting our Aromatherapy Awareness Week must include that this initiative was created by the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA).
Images and logos available on request.
Essential Oils & COVID19
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been faced with severe challenges both physical and emotional, which may have had a profound impact on their life and their state of mind. The IFA, as a complementary health organization, wishes to extend its heartfelt sympathy to all those affected and its sincere thanks to all those who are putting the safety and welfare of others before their own.
How Can Essential Oils Help During this Serious Health Crisis?
Essential oils or their constituents are widely used in pharmaceutical preparations, in cosmeceuticals (skin-care products with the combined benefits of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals), as food preservatives, flavour enhancers, in traditional and complementary medicine, in aromatherapy and in the spa industry. Essential oils are very popular with the public too, not only because their fragrant odours are pleasant and invigorating but also because they offer so many health benefits and are considered safe to use in the home when used within safety guidelines. Also, the simple action of smelling an essential oil can have a number of measurable physiological effects on the body such as change in heart rate or blood pressure, change in brainwaves activity, change in eye movement, etc. In fact, a number of studies have shown that the fragrant odours of essential oils have psycho-physiological effects and proved that they can bring fast relief from stress and ease emotional difficulties.
Antimicrobial and Antiviral Activities of Essential Oils
The immune system is a highly complex system that contributes both to the maintenance of a healthy body and defence against harmful pathogens. Certain existing health factors and mental states can make it difficult for the immune system to be fully effective. Natural remedies such as essential oils can support the body’s immune response and, more generally, can offer support to the ‘whole person’ as well.
Essential oils have a long list of therapeutic properties, but not all essential oils act in the same way. For example, some essential oils work in a wide-ranging way, while others work on more specific areas. Some essential oils can produce a quick response, while others may have a much slower cumulative action. These differences are determined by the constituents present in an essential oil, the dosage used and the method of application. Many essential oils can work in synergy with each other and can address more than one aspect of health at the same time. During a serious infection such as Covid19, to obtain maximum benefits from essential oils, it is important to choose a small number of essential oils that offer both holistic benefits and physiological benefits, in order to increase physical and mental wellbeing which in turn may stimulate immunological stamina.
The contribution of essential oils as natural antivirals is promising, as some essential oil constituents have been found to inhibit virus replication in clinical studies, but the mechanisms by which essential oils can undermine viruses is still not clear. In contrast, there are a number of verified antimicrobial and antibacterial essential oils to choose from. So far, most essential oils tested for antiviral properties have mainly been tested against herpes viruses, so it cannot be assumed that those essential oils labeled as antivirals will automatically help in the fight against Covid19, but they can offer some indirect support to the immune system. Other essential oils with therapeutic properties that can ease different symptoms and potentially help during a Covid19 infection should also be considered: respiratory antiseptics, anti-inflammatories, mucolytics, febrifuges, antitussives, expectorants, decongestants, cytophylactics, antioxidants and prophylactics. All essential oils with these properties can help make the ‘terrain' in the body less welcoming to infectious organisms and can decrease the acuteness of symptoms.
For example, respiratory oils like Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Pine needle and Juniper berry can help keep respiratory passages open and improve breathing capacity but they can also work as mucous expectorants, as antivirals and antimicrobials, and help ‘sanitize’ the ambient air in confined spaces, thus offering general support to the body or to any other treatments in a number of ways. While it certainly cannot be claimed that essential oils are a cure for this current serious illness, nonetheless, they can be useful for people who have milder symptoms of Covid19 and who have not needed to be hospitalized.
Finally, one more good reason for using essential oils in the fight against pathogens is that pathogens are adversely affected by aromatic molecules. Also, viruses have been observed to only be able to resist one type of aromatic molecule at a time, and essential oils offer such an array of aromatic molecules that can damage viruses. So again, although, essential oils are not a cure, certain essential oils can interfere with the cycle of infection/replication of pathogens. After all, plants produce essential oils as part of their arsenal of defensive weapons against the myriads of microorganisms and parasites that inhabit the environment. Is not Nature amazing?!
The Neuro-Psycho-Immune Connection
As already mentioned, good immunity is directly related to mental wellbeing because any negative psychological state or emotional upset can impact the immune system’s ability to detect pathogens. Stress levels are also a factor in efficient immune response, as changes in stress hormone levels can also lower immunity. Therefore, improving mental wellbeing can help our chances of fighting infections and diseases and help optimise biological function. Regularly smelling those essential oils that are uplifting, mood enhancing, calming, relaxing, anti-depressive, stimulating and tonic, can give body and mind a boost and can indirectly contribute to the fight against Covid19.
For example, Rosemary essential oil can counter mental apathy and improve both the immune response and respiration; Lavender (Alpine and English) can lower anxiety, regulate stress hormone levels and help various respiratory complaints; Lemon is an antioxidant, can sharpen the senses and mental functions, and regulate cardiac and respiratory rhythm: and Rose Geranium is an adaptogen, an antiinflammatory, cicatrisant, and it can modulate stress hormones. Essential oils can also help the family and helpers’ mental and emotional health around frail and sick people. Examples of beneficial essential oils for the mind and emotions are Cardamom, Basil, Champaca, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Mandarin, May Chang Patchouli, Petitgrain, Rose, Spikenard, Tuberose, Vetivert, Ylang-Ylang.
Synergetic Activities of Essential Oils
Synergy means working together. Synergy occurs naturally between the different constituents of an essential oil and gives the oil unique therapeutic benefits. The concentration of each constituent in an essential oil also affects its therapeutic value. Essential oils with similar constituents and properties can be added together to make more potent aromatherapeutic remedies. The only draw-back with such synergetic blends is that some constituents may have adverse effects, so checking suitability of recipient and potential toxicity of the essential oils or constituents is important. Please visit ‘Safety and Toxicology’ page for more information.
Which Methods of application:
Before using essential oils, for oneself or others, be aware that certain essential oils have particularly strong, penetrating, pungent and tenacious odours and are not necessarily suited for children, pregnant women (whose sense of smell is often heightened) or frail people. Click here for essential oils uses, potential hazards and methods of application.
- Direct inhalation using a smelling strip or nasal inhaler can improve breathing or help maintain a clear mind. This method can help ease upper respiratory symptoms such as a blocked nose, sneezing, coughing, a sore throat, or mild respiratory difficulty caused by sinusitis, hay fever or a cold. Useful essential oils include Lavender, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Pine Needle and Tea-tree. Essential oils that have been proven efficient for reducing stress, anxiety, irritability, mental dullness, tiredness, or for use for general relaxation include Geranium, Lavender, Mandarin, Orange, Rose and Vetivert.
- Diffusers and sprays are most suitable not only for maintaining a pleasant environment but also as an air cleanser, as many essential oils have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, e.g. Cinnamon Leaf, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Tea-Tree. Essential oils that increase mental alertness, improve memory and increase autonomic functions are Bergamot, Lemon, Peppermint and Rosemary.
- Topical applications to boost the body system and organs through transdermal absorption of essential oils. (See at the end for useful recipes).
Which Essential Oils?
Air cleansers against airborne microbes – used in a diffuser, a spray bottle, or aerosols
When an airborne infection is around, it is important to keep the ambient air around as clear as possible from infectious organisms. Spraying the air with essential oils to maintain air quality helps keep the environment healthy for all. Also, air diffusion of essential oils can stimulate the immune system. Some useful air cleanser essential oils:
Name of Essential Oil
antiinfectious, antiviral, deodorant
a powerful antimicrobial and air disinfectant.
antimicrobial can help prevent further infections, antiviral, immunostimulant
antiinfectiou, immunostimulant, mucolytic
antimicrobial and refreshes the air
antimicrobial, antiviral, purifies the air.
These are essential oils that can either strengthen immunity or directly fight infectious organisms:
Name of Essential Oil
antiviral, antimicrobial, expectorant, immunostimulant
antiviral, antiinfectious, antimicrobial, febrifuge, immunostimulant, expectorant
antiviral, antimicrobial, expectorant, antiinfectious
antiviral, antifungal, antiinfectious
antiviral, antimicrobial, immunostimulant, antitussive, expectorant
immunostimulant, expectorant, antitussive
Niaouli CT Cineole
antiviral, antimicrobial, expectorant, immunostimulant,
antiviral, antimicrobial, antiinfectious, Immunostimulant,
Rosemary CT Cineole
antiviral, antimicrobial, antiinfectious, immunostimulant
Thyme CT Thymol
antimicrobial, antiinfectious, immunostimulant
Adaptogens and Antioxidant Essential Oils
Adaptogens: Some essential oils are classified as adaptogens because they are known to have a ‘normalising’ effect on body processes, hormone release and stress, meaning their action can either be energising, stimulating, tonic or decreasing, calming, sedative depending on what is needed. Adaptogens essential oils can help regulate stress hormone levels, increase stamina, improve the immune response, regularise blood pressure, cardiac and respiratory rate, lower inflammation, are prophylactic and contribute to the prevention of and the recovery from illness.
Adaptogen essential oils examples: Bergamot, Frankincense, Rose Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Melissa, Rose, Neroli, Turmeric Root, Ylang-ylang.
Antioxidants maintain balance, help keep oxidative stress in check, help improve immunity and keep the body healthy.
Antioxidant essential oils examples: - Citrus essential oils, Black Pepper, Ginger, Ho Wood, Oregano.
Essential Oils to Appease Spasmodic Coughs – best application methods are steam inhalation or a chest rub. Click here for methods of application.
Examples of antitussive and respiratory antispasmodic essential oils are Benzoin, Cypress, R Chamomile, Fennel, Fragonia, Inula, Lavender, Myrtle (Green), Manuka, Marjoram.
Note: Benzoin, R. Chamomile, Fragonia, Lavender, Manuka essential oils are suitable for children or vulnerable people in a diffuser or in a 0.5% to 1% diluted blend and applied to soles of feet.
Pneumonia is a serious and life-threatening infection of the lungs caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi. Pneumonia caused by bacteria and a virus is contracted from airborne droplets projected out when sneezing and coughing, and fungal pneumonia is contracted from the environment, i.e. skin contact with surfaces.
Chest rubs and inhalation in the recovery phase can be useful up to 6 months after the illness:
Respiratory antiinflammatory and tissue repair: Benzoin, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Niaouli CT Linalol and CT Nerolidol, Blue Tansy, Thyme CT Linalol.
By Nicole Perez, Fellow IFA Member
For more information:
If you would like to learn more about essential oils please view our course listings and contact an IFA approved course provider. Caution must be exercised when using essential oils and where there is doubt, always contact an IFA registered Aromatherapist who will offer guidance on the oils that are suitable for individual needs.
An assessment of treating depression and anxiety with aromatherapy
Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity
The Effects of Lavender and Rosemary Essential Oils on Test-Taking Anxiety Among Graduate Nursing Students
The Use of the Essential Oil Lavandin to Reduce Preoperative Anxiety in Surgical Patients
The Effect of Essential Oils on Work-Related Stress in Intensive Care Unit Nurses
The Effect of Inhalation of Aroma of Geranium Essence on Anxiety and Physiological Parameters during First Stage of Labor in Nulliparous Women: a Randomized Clinical Trialhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4484988/
The Effects of Lavender Oil Inhalation on Emotional States, Autonomic Nervous System, and Brain Electrical Activity
Physiological effects in aromatherapy
Vetiver Oil and Its Sedative Effect
Anti-Viral Essential Oils
Adaptogenic effects of essential oils: prognosis in vitro and results in vivo
Antimicrobial activity of essential oils extracted from medicinal plants against the pathogenic microorganismshttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mohd_Sayeed_Akhtar/publication/260095332_Antimicrobial_activity_of_essential_oils_extracted_from_medicinal_plants_against_the_pathogenic_microorganisms_A_review/links/0046352f89684e544a000000.pdf
Antimicrobial Activity of Some Essential Oils—Present Status and Future Perspectives
Antiviral activity of the Lippia graveolens (Mexican oregano) essential oil and its main compound carvacrol against human and animal viruses
Citrus bergamia essential oil: from basic research to clinical application
Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils
Essential Oils and Coronaviruses
Effect of Eucalyptus Essential Oil on Respiratory Bacteria and Viruses
Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants with Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, and Cytotoxic Properties – an Overview
Inactivation of Airborne Influenza Virus by Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Oils
Rose geranium essential oil as a source of new and safe anti-inflammatory drugs
Virucidal activity of essential oils from aromatic plants of San Luis, Argentina
Virucidal activity of Colombian Lippia essential oils on dengue virus replication in vitro
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0074-02762010000300010&script=sci_arttextwn in Colombia on yellow fever virus replication in vitro
Vitamin D for Treatment and Prevention of infectious diseases: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials
Aromatherapy & Various Conditions
Below you can download information of how essential oils can be used with various conditions and symptoms of conditions. Please note, essential oils should be handled with care and with the appropriate training. For anyone on medication, the very young or elderly and those with specific heath issues and palliative care please seek advice from your GP before consulting a professional aromatherapist . If you would like to train as an aromatherapist, either to start a new career venture or simply to improve your own health and wellbeing click here.
Please note the following articles are intended for personal use and may not be reproduced without the expressed permission of the IFA.
Aromatherapy and Acne
(Acne and Rosacea Awareness Month September)
Aromatherapy and Allergies
(Allergy Awareness Week 13 - 19 May)
Aromatherapy and Alzheimers/Dementia
(Alzheimers Awareness Day 21 September, Alzheimers Awareness Month September)
Aromatherapy and Arthritis
(Arthirits Awareness Day 12 October)
Aromatherapy and Asthma
(Asthma Awareness month 01 - 31 May)
Aromatherapy and Autism
(Autism Awareness Day 02 April)
Aromatherapy and Cancers
(Cancer Awareness Day 04 February)
Aromatherapy and Cerebral Palsy
(Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day 06 October)
Aromatherapy and the Common Cold
(Antibiotic Awareness Week 13 - 19 November)
Aromatherapy and Depression
(Mental Health Awareness Day 10 October)
Aromatherapy and Diabetes
(World Diabetes Day 14 November, Diabetes Awareness Week 11 - 17 June)
Aromatherapy and Dysmenorrhea
(No awareness day we're currently aware of)
Aromatherapy and Eczema
(Eczema Awareness Week 17 - 25 September)
Aromatherapy and Epilepsy
(Epilepsy Awareness Day 26 March, Epilepsy Awareness Week 15 - 21 May)
Aromatherapy and Fibromyalgia/Fibrositis
(Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 12 May, Fibromyalgia Awareness Month May)
Aromatherapy and General Wellbeing
(Aromatherapy Awareness Week 11 - 17 June and World Health Day 07 April)
Aromatherapy, HIV and Aids
(World Aids Day 01 December)
Aromatherapy and Hypertension
(Hypertension Awareness Day 17 May)
Aromatherapy and Insomnia
(Insomnia Awareness month March), Awareness day 12 March)
Aromatherapy and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
(Irritable Bowel Syndrome month 01 - 30 April)
Aromatherapy and ME & CFS
(ME Awareness week 06 - 12 May)
Aromatherapy and Menopause
(Menopause Awareness Day 18 October, Menopause Awareness Month September)
Aromatherapy and Migraines
(Migraine Awareness Week 03 - 09 September)
Aromatherapy and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
(Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week 24 - 30 April)
Aromatherapy and Neuralgia
(No awareness day we're currently aware of)
Aromatherapy and Obesity
(Obesity Awareness week starts second monday each January)
Aromatherapy and Pain Management
(Back pain Awareness week second week of October)
Aromatherapy and Parkinsons
(Parkinsons Awareness Week 10 - 16 April)
Aromatherapy and Pharyngitis
(No awareness day we're currently aware of)
Aromatherapy and Psiorias
(Psiorias Awareness Day 29 October)
Aromatherapy and Raynauds
(Raynauds Awareness month February)
Aromatherapy and Sciatica
(Sciatica Awareness month September)
Aromatherapy and Stroke
(Stroke Awareness month 01 - 31 May)
Cant find what you are looking for here? We are currently compiling more information sheets on the use of aromatherapy for certain medical conditions and ailments and this page will be continually updated. If you are seeking information and are unable to find answers to your enquiry please contact your nearest professional aromatherapist from our practitioner listings.
Below you can download information to promote aromatherapy during the build up to the week, which we hope you will find useful.
- Download Aromatherapy Awareness Week Poster A4, Aromatherapy Awareness Week Poster A3
- Download Aromatherapy Definition
- Download 10 Key facts about the Organisers
- Download Aromatherapy Awareness Week Logo
- Download Aromatherapy Awareness Week Website Banner (640 x 320 pixels)
- Download Aromatherapy Awareness Week Email Banner (728 x 90 pixels)
- Download Press Release and Editorial
- Download Practitioner Marketing Email Template to share with your customers and followers
- Download Company Marketing Email Template to share with your customers and followers
Social Media is a great promotional tool to communicate to your audience quickly and widely. We are on all the main social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – please utilise our hashtag to promote the activities you are organising to mark the awareness week.
Facebook (hashtag #IFAAromatherapyAwarenessWeek)
Please do contact us regarding any events you are organising during awareness week so that we may offer support or for any queries you may have. We also welcome write-ups and / or links as to how you have marked the week for inclusion on the IFA's blog and potentially Aromatherapy Times journal.
Below you can find merchandise when promoting aromatherapy during the week - even from the comfort of your own home (do tag us on facebook using it #IFAAromatherapyAwarenessWeek :) and also publications that feature information relating to essentials that boost the immune system, support the respiratory system as well as mental health.