Candle sales are benefiting from the aromatherapy movement, which is just now beginning to penetrate mass market retailers.
red the market. A chemical process in which pure essences are distilled from aromatic plants, aromatherapy is now an integral part of candle manufacturing. Scented candles come in hundreds of different fragrances with such names as cantaloupe, Georgia peach, strawberries 'n cream, fresh-cut rose, evergreen mist, cinnamon bun, sugar cookie and carrot cake.
The most popular scented candles at American Greetings' GuildHouse are vanilla (historically the most popular candle fragrance) as well as cinnamon, floral and fruit scents. GuildHouse also continues to introduce new fragrances, including orange spice, blueberry, oriental musk, meadow and orchid.
Aromatherapy advocates emphasize that the particular scent or scents emitted by burning candles can ease a variety of everyday ills from tension headaches to congestion. Along with helping to create a more soothing, relaxing home environment, the fragrance emitted may also have a psychological effect as a particular scent may evoke vivid memories going back to childhood.
"When people hear aromatherapy, they somehow equate it with health," said Tina Rocca, president and founder of Aroma Naturals, an aromatherapy product manufacturer based in Irvine, Calif., who spoke to HFN, a sister publication to SN, during an interview on the subject. "It's used to relax or de-stress, for rejuvenation and relaxation benefits," she explained.
"People are also spending more time in the home. They're creating a sanctuary there, whether it's a spa-type atmosphere or a place to feel safe and protected," she said.
At last month's International Housewares Show in Chicago there were many aromatherapy-related products on display, from diffusers and candles to other health-related devices like massagers, herbal pillows and foot spas. The indication is that aromatherapy has the potential to expand well beyond candles into a health-wellness merchandising environment. Supermarkets appear poised to make the commitment as they have with body and bath products if aromatherapy really takes wing.