Did you know aromatherapy can help you with craving the wrong things like sweets or desserts? Anyone who has tried to shed more than a few pounds know that the battle with the bulge can be more in the mind than in the stomach. Modern research is now catching up on Essential Oil’s curative, mood enhancing, and medicinal benefits which prove to be quite promising for weight loss.
Everyone knows good nutrition and physical activity are vital steps toward losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. What is often overlooked are the psychological and physiological components as factors in weight loss success.
Some factors to consider with weight loss include:
- Your Genetic Makeup (I didn’t realize that I would inherit my mom’s muffin top tummy- but menopause proved me wrong)
- Brain chemistry which includes your hormones, emotions, and environment
Aromatherapy is just what the word sounds like “ AROMA” and “THERAPY.” In fact, just smelling a rose or fresh herb is capable of stimulating parts of the brain which in turn has an impact on us physically, emotionally and mentally. You see, the nose is wired differently from the other senses of the body and can detect over a trillion odors and the olfactory glands are capable of near immediate interaction with the amygdala and the hippocampus – which is the seat of emotions and memory. So, when you inhale a fragrance, the scent communicates with the brain receptors that control blood pressure, heart rate, stress levels, attention span, learning, pleasure and motivation. Isn’t that amazing?
So, if you are struggling with weight gain, here is some of the ways oils can help:
- Lack of motivation or depression
- Slow metabolism
- Craving sweets
- Low energy
- Poor digestion
Using essential oils could be the missing piece to your diet program and help you in reaching your ideal weight. Recent studies have shown the relationship between weight loss and the sense of smell. And they have discovered aromatherapy for weight loss can do two things:
It can help you manage cravings and feelings of hunger;
And, it can also address some contributing factors to weight issues such as imbalance in hormones, stress, anxiety, and depression.
Research shows that appetite and the sense of smell are closely connected. In fact, studies have found that our sense of smell actually triggers feelings of fullness before our stomach does.
So… Can aromatherapy help with weight loss? The short answer is “Yes.” This is not to say that aromatherapy is a “magic bullet” or instant weight loss cure – there is no such thing. But, aromatherapy can be a valuable part of a healthy, sensible weight loss program.
So, here’s how to use aromatherapy to help lose weight:
When you inhale an essential oil, its microscopic molecules directly affect a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. An area inside the hypothalamus called the “satiety center” controls feelings of hunger/fullness. The satiety center ‘reads’ certain essential oil molecules as a signal that you are full. The good news is, this happens much faster than your brain gets the signals from your stomach telling you you’re hungry – so you feel full sooner!
The trick to using these essential oils to curb your cravings and suppress your appetite is to inhale the appetite-suppressing essential oil for at least five minutes. Here is a list of six essential oils for weight loss and management and why they work.
Lemon essential oil is cold pressed from peels and has an invigorating scent with overtones that are slightly sour.
- Increased energy
- Weight gain suppressant
- Pain reliever
- Mood enhancer
How it Works
Lemon contains limonene which has fat-dissolving characteristics. Scientists have found that when lemon oil is used together with grapefruit oil, lipolysis is increased.
The mood enhancing properties of lemon oil is a very effective treatment for relieving negative feelings.
Levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter and stress hormone responsible for the fight-or-flight response is also raised. This results in the norepinephrine increasing brain oxygen levels for increased cognitive functions, while blood flow and heart rate are also improved, allowing muscles to work better and faster.
Lemon oil also acts as a pain reliever, thus preventing strained muscles and aches from forcing you to reduce your workout routine.
The aroma of grapefruit essential oil is inspiring while being crisp and sweet at the same time. It is commonly used as a disinfectant and antiseptic.
- Metabolism booster
- Reduces cravings
- Curbs accumulation of abdominal fat
- Increases endurance and energy
How it Works
Grapefruit contains a natural chemical compound called nootkatone that stimulates the enzyme AMPK. AMPK controls metabolic rate and energy levels. AMPK accelerates chemical reactions in brain tissue, skeletal muscle and the liver when nootkatone is introduced into the system. Studies on AMPK and nootkatone interactions show that this could result in improved physical performance, decreased body fat, reduced weight gain and increased endurance.
In other research, grapefruit oil was used on rats for 15 minute intervals, 3 times per week. This caused weight loss and reduced appetite.
The aroma of cinnamon essential oil is sweet and warm, and it is made from leaves or the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree.
- Reduces inflammation
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Improves insulin sensitivity
How it Works
Insulin metabolizes fat and carbohydrates by enabling blood glucose absorption by storing it as fat or converting it to energy.
Cinnamon oil has been shown to improve the blood glucose uptake rate and heighten insulin sensitivity.
Up to 25% of Americans are affected by metabolic syndrome, a confluence of disorders that include impaired glucose tolerance, abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high blood cholesterol.
Cinnamon can also inhibit the production of TNF-alpha, which might be an essential factor to prevent weight gain.
Peppermint essential oil is intense and contains menthol which is both cooling and calming.
- Elevated mood
- Increased mental alertness and energy
- Reduced appetite
- Supports digestion
How it Works
Peppermint contains up to 70% menthol and has been used to treat indigestion for centuries.
Peppermint oil is effective to relax muscles and studies have shown that when it is used together with caraway oil, it improves bile flow, reduces bloating and eases stomach muscles. This allows food to pass through the body faster.
Peppermint oil also suppresses appetite naturally as shown in a study done in 2008 where participants reported consuming fewer calories and lower hunger levels when inhaling peppermint oil every 2 hours.
Fennel oil is distilled from fennel seeds and has a sweet and earthy scent.
- Appetite suppressant
- Improved digestion
- Improved sleep
- Reduced weight gain
How it Works
Fennel contains melatonin which regulates circadian rhythms naturally controlling daily wake-sleep cycles through the brain.
Apart from improving sleep, melatonin also reduces weight gain by creating “beige fat” used for energy rather than “white fat” used for energy storage.
In a study on fennel oil done with rats, they inhaled fennel oil twice a day for 10 minutes over an eight week period. This led to an improved rate of food digestion and fewer calories consumed.
Bergamot orange essential oil has a complex aroma that contains spicy, tangy and sweet notes.
- Increased energy
- Mood enhancer
How it Works
Emotional eating is sometimes caused by depression and anxiety, and although this could bring temporary relief and comfort, it eventually creates more negative emotions including self-criticism and guilt.
Bergamot oil can break this cycle in a pleasant way.
Recent research on the effects of bergamot oil aromatherapy showed that after only 15 minutes, participants self-reported increased energy and improved positive emotions. Researchers also discovered that bergamot oil has immediate benefits physiologically.
This was found by measuring cortisol levels in saliva samples. Cortisol is released in response to stress, and the cortisol levels of participants who had inhaled bergamot oil were much lower than those who didn’t.
Other Essential Oils That Might Help with Weight Loss
There are many recommendations on the internet to promote weight loss using these essential oils:
- Ginger root
- Celery seed
- Juniper berry
- Rose geranium
Blending Essential Oils for Weight Loss
Blending essential oils can achieve weight loss in a fun way while creating your favorite scents. The recipes below will help suppress appetite while dissolving fat.
Anti-Cellulite Rub – Mix 10 drops of grapefruit, 5 drops of rosemary, and 2 drops each of ginger, peppermint, and cypress oils, blended with a carrier oil and applying to your body.
Fat Reducing Massage – Mix 5 drops each of cypress, lemon, and grapefruit oil with a quarter cup of almond oil.
Appetite Suppressing Diffusion – Mix mandarin (40 drops), lemon (20 drops), and 12 drops each of peppermint and ginger, and use the blend in your diffuser.
Rejuvenating Bath – Add 5 drops each of lemon, sandalwood, orange, ginger, and grapefruit to a warm bath.
Craving Curbing Salve – Add fennel (80 drops), bergamot (40 drops), and patchouli oil (24 drops) to a half cup of olive oil and massage on the abdomen.
Metabolism Boosting Soak –Add 10 drops each of cypress and rosemary, 8 drops of grapefruit oil and two tablespoons of jojoba oil to a warm bath.
Ways To Lose Weight With Essential Oils
Some precautions are in order before using essential oils for the first time, due to them being extremely concentrated. Although breathing in essential oils to benefit from aromatherapy is low risk, essential oils used on the skin should be diluted with a carrier oil. Performing a small skin patch test on sensitive skin will highlight potential allergic reaction. If there is no reaction within 24 hours, the oil can be used safely.
Various essential oils are phototoxic, especially those with a citrus fruit base. When these varieties are used on the skin, you should avoid direct sunlight for between 12 and 18 hours.
- Use an aromatherapy diffuser to permeate an area with scent.
- Inhale deeply from an essential oil bottle for five minutes.
- Add 5 drops of essential oil to a bath and soak for 30 minutes.
- Dilute essential oil and massage it all over the body or in places where fat accumulates typically.
- Buy an aromatherapy necklace for permanent relief.