What are the benefits of aromatherapy? According to Brent A. Bauer, M.D., the research and study on the effectiveness of aromatherapy — the therapeutic use of essential oils extracted from plants — is limited. However, some studies have shown that aromatherapy might have health benefits, including but not limited to relief from anxiety and depression and improved quality of life, particularly for people who have chronic health conditions. Essential oils used in aromatherapy are typically extracted from various parts of plants and then distilled. The highly concentrated oils may be inhaled directly or indirectly and/or applied to the skin through massage, lotions or bath salts. Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions. Many essential oils have been shown to be safe when used as directed. However, essential oils used in aromatherapy aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).