What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is generally understood as the use of aromatic essential oils by a variety of means for wellbeing. This can include the skin through topical absorption and digestive system through ingestion, besides the third method via inhalation through the respiratory/olfactory system.

There are two inherent problems with the first two methods.

When essential oils are applied to the skin with massage, it is difficult to isolate the aromatherapeutic effect of the essential oils. And when essential oils on the skin are promoted for more than their rubefacient effect they fall into the category of phytotherapy.

Essential oils used internally in most cases fall under phytotherapy and should be regulated due to the high risk of side effects.

This leaves aromatherapy as per the words aroma + therapy: the inhalation of aromatic essential oil compounds to support and maintain a healthy wellbeing.

At IIAA we focus exclusively on aromatherapy by inhalation and attempt to contribute to the scientific knowledge surrounding this method of aromatherapy.

Senses and Scents

The way we perceive and sense the world around us affects our state of mind. Because most of the time we take the world in through our senses effortlessly, we don’t give much thought or attention to how we do this.

If we want to or not, our minds and bodies must respond to the signalling of our senses and so it is with scents. By devising scents smartly, we can trigger the brain into a desired response with measurable effects on mind and body.

Olfactory System

Scents are chemical signals in the environment which use the olfactory system for signal transduction. The mammalian olfactory system regulates a wide range of multiple and integrative functions such as physiological regulation, emotional responses, reproductive functions, and social behaviours.


At IIAA we do not support the notion that the inhalation of essential oils can correct a disease or cure an illness nor be a substitute for a self- or doctor prescribed drug.