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Aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from plants and herbs which can be inhaled or applied through the skin; aromas and oils from these natural sources have been shown in clinical studies to positively affect the body’s natural ability to balance and regulate itself. Plant oils have been used as therapy and cosmetics for thousands of years with records dating back to ancient Egypt, China and India. Aromatherapy reduces drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms

The mind, body, spirit and sense of wellbeing can be enhanced by the use of fragrant essential oils. These naturally extracted aromatic essences can:

  • Reduce drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms,
  • Improve the immune system,
  • Aid digestion,
  • Reduce physical pain,
  • Improve blood pressure,
  • Reduce stress,
  • Aid sleep,
  • Reduces anxiety,
  • Restores well-being.

We have noticed improvements in those suffering from generalised anxiety disorder, stress and depressive disorders. 

We may include aromatherapy in individual treatment plans, depending on availability and referral by either medical or therapeutic staff.

The Process of Aromatherapy

  1. When oils are inhaled, the olfactory system (responsible for sensing smells) is stimulated.
  2. This causes a signal to be transferred to the brain’s limbic system that controls emotions and stores and retrieves learned memories.
  3. The signal triggers chemicals to be released; these are thought to have different effects causing either relaxation or stimulation. The gentle massage often used to apply oils to the skin tends to have a relaxing effect.
  4. This process can help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, pain, digestive problems, as well as menstrual and menopausal issues.


Although the scientific evidence for this type of therapy is limited, there is considerable anecdotal evidence which supports it.

At Castle Craig, our sister clinic in Scotland, independent evaluation in a test group found the following:

  • 67% stated that aromatherapy – “Helped me to relax my body and calm my mind”
  • 20-25% of the group commented that aromatherapy helped relieve stress and tension, assisted with sleeping problems, and that it was something to look forward to.
  • 95% of patients expressed their desire to continue with aromatherapy when they leave treatment.

The only suggestion for improvement was for aromatherapy provision to be extended and it is clear from the positive and detailed responses that all patients who had received aromatherapy had benefitted considerably. 

Last updated & clinically assessed 16 April, 2020