Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils
(botanical extracts or essences) from flowers, herbs, and trees to care for the body, promoting health and well-being. More popularly used oils include lemon, ylang-ylang, lavender
(to soothe stress and relax), and peppermint
(for mental acuity and extra energy). These essential oils, if of high quality, can be added to a bath, massaged through the skin, inhaled directly, used with teas, or scented in a room. (Lower quality products can still be effective if smelled--you can put a few drops on a tissue and smell it, or add some drops to boiling water to scent a room--but shouldn't be ingested or rubbed into the skin, as they may have other ingredients that may be harmful.)
While aromatherapy has become increasingly popular in recent years, it's no fad. For stress relief, studies have shown that aromatherapy can be quite effective. Read more on aromatherapy research, and how different scents can be used for stress relief.
For additional stress management tips, see these ongoing stress management resources.