Our sense of smell is an incredibly powerful tool that can mentally transport, invigorate, stimulate and possibly even heal us. This sense can impact our physical and mental state as it brings to mind feelings as varied and pleasurable as relaxing on a beach or strolling on a summer evening with the sweet smell of night-blooming jasmine in the air.
Loosely defined, aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of fragrant oils drawn from plant parts such as flowers, leaves, bark, stems or seeds. This oil is then used for anything from relieving physical pain to establishing romantic ambiance. In the 1920s, the French chemist, René Maurice Gattefossé, coined the phrase aromatherapy to define a practice that can be dated back to 3000 B.C. when the burning and distilling of aromatic plants was used for medicinal purposes. Since then, civilizations in Egypt, China, India, Greece and Rome are known to have used scented oils to aid in the healing of various ailments.
It’s hard to deny the effect of aromatic oils when their healing properties have been relied on again and again over time. Probably the most popular and time-tested oil would be that of the lavender flower, known to aid in soothing headaches and nervous tension. Lavender is also an effective astringent and is often used in skincare. Marjoram oil is known to be a pain reliever and help with muscular aches and strains. The citrus and flower-tinged aroma of neroli oil can cause feelings of exhilaration and joy.
While aromatic oils can be dispersed in many ways, the popular Roman practice of adding scented, therapeutic oils to a steaming bath is similarly how they are applied to hot tubs. Spazazz and InSPAration are two of the more popular manufacturers of hot tub aromatherapy products. First, make sure the product is formulated for use in a hot tub, then relax as the scents whisk you away to such passionate foreign locales as the gardens of Kyoto or the fields of Provence.
Floating fragrance dispensers are another aromatic option. Available in shapes like tropical fish or rubber ducks, they slowly add fragrance to the water as they bob along. Or try effervescent tablets packed with skin emollients that are simply dropped into the water for an eruption of fizz and a burst of scent that will help make your soak an especially exhilarating experience.
Some hot tub manufacturers are taking part in an innovative trend that incorporates aromatherapy technology right into the hot tub itself. They use a system that keeps the water free of oils by pushing air through a reservoir filled with fragrant beads. The air is then pushed into the water and countless scent-filled bubbles greet your senses as they come to the surface. And while products added directly to the water may linger for up to three days, this built-in aromatherapy allows you to easily change the scent depending on your aromatic preferences.
Whatever method you choose, adding aromatherapy to your spa can add to the healing and relaxation of your hot tub experience.