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What is an Aromatherapy Candle?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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An aromatherapy candle is a candle made with wax which has been blended with essential oils for the purpose of aromatherapy. Some people believe that specific scents can trigger a response, addressing emotional and sometimes physical health conditions. Other people simply enjoy scented candles, and like the scent blends used in aromatherapy candles. Stores which specialize in candles or aromatherapy supplies usually stock aromatherapy candles, and it is also possible to find them at health food stores, or to make them at home, by blending custom essential oils with candle wax and pouring one's own molds.

The idea behind aromatherapy is that various scents can be used to address things like stress, unhappiness, or inflammations. Subscribers to the idea of aromatherapy believe that various scents act in concert with the brain to promote a state of balance in the body. Opponents believe that aromatherapy is largely pseudoscience, and that the claims made by proponents are probably the result of a placebo effect. An aromatherapy candle usually indicates its purpose on its label, so that people who are not intimately versed with aromatherapy can select the product best-suited to their needs.

Whether or not aromatherapy is effective, aromatherapy candles are very popular. Aromatherapy candles are designed to slowly release a scent into a room over a period of hours, diffusing the odor throughout the air. The aromatherapy candle will continue to release the scent after it is blown out, as long as the pool of wax in the candle is still warm. Diffusion can also be accomplished with the use of oils heated in a diffuser, but candles are easier to manage and portable, which can be convenient.

Scents can be used alone in an aromatherapy candle, as for instance in the case of a lavender candle to promote relaxation, or they can be blended for a specific effect, like in an orange and clove candle which is supposed to be energizing. Some other examples of commonly used scents include: basil or lemon, believed to be anti-depressants; peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil for congestion; jasmine, sandalwood, or ylang-ylang as aphrodisiacs; and black pepper for stimulation.

Unlike topical aromatherapy, in which oils are applied directly to the skin, using an aromatherapy carries a minimal risk of reactivity. However, some aromatherapy candles can become cloying after an extended period of burning, and the diffused essential oil may irritate the nose and mucus membranes of the eyes. People who are scent sensitive will usually react to aromatherapy candles, which is something to consider when burning an aromatherapy candle at a party or group event.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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