Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Christine. Christine Wonders, “How do essential oils change your mood?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Christine!

Have you ever been a bit down? Did you have a stomachache? A headache? Maybe you were tired or just down in the dumps. When you’re not feeling quite yourself, what do you do? What helps you to feel better?

Many children will turn to friends and family members for help. That’s always a great place to start. They can help you figure out what’s wrong and what to do about it. Sometimes a trip to the doctor or the pharmacy may be in order.

Of course, today’s marketplace offers many alternative treatments, too. There’s one for just about every ailment under the sun. For example, some people believe in the healing power of the nose. The nose? What are we talking about? Aromatherapy, of course!

Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils. These are concentrated extracts of the roots, leaves, seeds, and blossoms of various plants. Usually, they are heated or sprayed into the air. Many people claim to feel better after smelling or inhaling them. The oils can also be massaged into the skin. They may be used to treat all sorts of problems, such as stomachaches and headaches.

How does aromatherapy help people feel better? It’s not exactly clear. Some experts believe the nose may play an important role. Receptors in your nose might respond to the scents of essential oils. Then, your nose may send signals to parts of your brain that control emotions and memories. This could help your mental, emotional, and even physical health.

Others believe essential oils may mix with hormones or enzymes in the blood. To date, not many scientific studies of aromatherapy have been done. That means no one knows for sure how well the treatments work. Still, a growing body of evidence shows that aromatherapy may help treat some conditions.

So is aromatherapy a new fad? Not at all! Historians say it’s been used to treat ailments for over 6,000 years. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used essential oils for this purpose. Aromatherapy didn’t become popular in the United States until the 1980s.

There are many aromatherapy products. You might find essential oils, diffusers, candles, or massage oils in stores. Be careful if you shop for aromatherapy products, though. Some items may only contain synthetic fragrances instead of essential oils.

Do you have a favorite scent? Have you ever tried essential oils? Without scientific proof, we can’t know how well they really work. Still, many people swear by them. Will you put aromatherapy to the test?

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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