Aromatherapy refers to a type of alternative medicine in which naturally extracted aromatic essence are utilized to harmonize, balance, and promote the physical and mental health of patients. It is used as a supplemental medicine for the treatment of chronic stress or anxiety, depression, skin problems, fatigue, respiratory infections, digestive upset and others. The global aromatherapy market size is growing at a decent rate since the past few years and it is projected to maintain the growth rate during the forecast period as well.
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Increasing disposable income and emergence of technology has changed the way of life of people. The various social, psychological and biological factors have changed lifestyle behaviour of individual which further result into various health conditions such as mental health, respiratory diseases, allergies, insomnia, and depression. According to the American Sleep Foundation (ASF), insomnia is the most common specific sleep disorder among Americans. Also, according to the WHO, in 2017, more than 300 million people of all ages suffered from depression, globally. Aromatherapy has emerged as a natural and potential solution to help lift mood, alleviate the symptom of depression and prevent future episodes. The aromatic molecules in the essential oils cross the blood/brain barrier and have direct impact on the areas of brain which control feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. Essential oils such as lavender, grapefruit, and chamomile are most commonly used for treating depression. Thus, increasing prevalence of lifestyle associated health conditions is expected to further support the demand of essential oils in the global market, thereby driving the aromatherapy market.
Although naturally derived, some oils might lead to allergic reactions on a patient’s skin. Application of citrus-based essential oils is not recommended when exposed to ultraviolet rays of sun, as it can cause phototoxicity or deep sunburns. Moreover, aromatherapy also sometimes leads to adverse effects such as nausea, headache, rashes, or even might be harmful for a foetus. A research study in the University of Maryland Medical Center found that essentials oils, such as clary-sage, fennel, tea tree, sage, lavender, and aniseed, have estrogen like substances. Thus, these are not recommended for patients with ovarian or breast cancer. Aromatherapy oils are volatile organic compounds that are harmful for the eyes, lungs, heart, and throat, if people are exposed to the vapor for more than an hour. They might affect the overall cardiovascular health of a patient. Hence, these disadvantages of essential oils are anticipated to impede growth of the aromatherapy market.
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Some of the key players operating in the aromatherapy industry are Young Living Essential Oils, dōTERRA International LLC, Edens Garden, Mountain Rose Herbs, Frontier Co-op and Rocky Mountain Oils LLC.