What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is often referred to as a form of alternative medicine that falls outside the mainstream, but it also is considered by many medical professionals to be a form of complementary medicine that can strengthen or improve the efficacy of other proven medical treatments. This practice is done through the use of essential oils and other aromatic plant compounds. These oils and aromatherapy compounds are either absorbed through the skin via massage or inhaled, and in some cases, they have been found to improve a person's mood or overall health in the process.
While there is no prevailing theory as to why aromatherapy has therapeutic effects, researchers theorize that essential oils can trigger smell receptors in the nose. This in turn will trigger a signal to the limbic system in the brain, the area that controls emotions and retrieves learned memories. As a result, chemicals are released that can help an individual feel more relaxed or calm, or even put into a more heightened state. This is especially apparent during aromatic massages, as these massage oils can have a calming effect.
Why is aromatherapy not eligible for reimbursement?
While aromatherapy can be used in tandem with therapeutic products like neck/shoulder wraps, steam inhalers, and hot & cold packs, aromatherapy on its own is not known as a viable treatment for a legitimate medical condition, therefore any expenses associated with this alternative medicine practice are not eligible for reimbursement with consumer-directed healthcare accounts like FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, LCFSAs or DCFSAs.