Is Aromatherapy Real?

People often ask me if aromatherapy is real. I like to share this story with them:

Back in the early days of Vermont Soap, about 25 years ago, we mostly produced handmade bar soaps. We scented the bars with natural essential oils (plant concentrate scents) blended in aromatherapy combinations. One day we took an order for 7500 bars in three flavors: Lavender, Peppermint and Orange. We only had one soap kettle back then so it took three days to make each scent.

The first three days we made only Lavender. Everyone walked around yawning and acting spaced out. No one was stressing (except me) but it seemed like very little actually got done.

The next three work days we made Peppermint. It was like watching the results of a latte drinking competition. Everyone ran around talking fast and getting a lot done. Unfortunately one employee rushed by a “Danger! Wet Floor” sign and fell hard. Salespeople wrote a lot of orders, but they were full of mistakes from rushing. Not our best days.

Next we ran the Orange. What a difference!  People were awake and productive without feeling manic; relaxed without being sleepy. A lot got done, with little error.

The proof is in the (proverbial) pudding!

Ever since then I have categorized aromatherapy essential oils into three categories: slow/relaxing i.e. lavender, geranium and many other flowers; medium/awake and alert i.e. citrus fruit peels; and fast/invigorating i.e. leafy mints.

PS: We always make several products at the same time now so the scents even each other out.

Thanks for reading!

Larry Plesent, Soapman and CEO
Vermont Soapworks