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Our sense of smell is unique. In fact, whenever you smell anything, it goes straight to your brain, which is why aromas can have such a potent effect on us.
Aromatherapy is an ancient art, first invented by the Egyptians, who were great practitioners of all forms of bathing and created many perfumes. Aromatherapy uses essential oils (distilled from flowers, plants, woods, and herbs) to please the spirit and nuture and refresh the body. You can inhale the vapors of these strongly scented oils, apply them to the skin for a massage, or use them in a bath.
Can aromatherapy oils be used on skin? ***Never apply undiluted essential oils to your skin. They are extremely potent, so they must be used sparingly. Only a few drops are needed, mixed into a small amount of neutral base oil like sweet almond or jojoba or any vegetable oil (avoid extra-virgin olive oil, as it tends to have its own scent).
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to stimulate the sense of smell for balancing mind, body, and spirit. Many cultures worldwide recognize the power of smell in treating a variety of conditions and maintaining health and well-being.
Essential oils are naturally found in trees, plants, flowers and shrubs. Plants create them in order to defend themselves from insects and diseases. Essential oils are pure plant extracts which contain the very essence of the plants from which they came. The oils are extracted from the various parts of plants and trees - leaves, flowers, roots, and bark. The oils are extracted from plants through the process of distillation, cold-pressing, or solvents. The outcome is highly-concentrated oil which smells good. And it can be used for many medicinal purposes.
You may have experienced a certain fragrance brightening your mood or even relaxing you when you were stressed. For example, the smells of lavender and spiced apples are both thought to activate alpha wave activity at the back of the brain, which leads to relaxation. Jasmine and lemon increase beta wave activity in the front of the brain, which is associated with alertness.
Together with other herbal remedies, aromatherapy and essential oils have been used for for centuries by different civilizations. Medical researchers are continuing to study the efficacy of essential oils. Some health benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils are listed below. In addition, there are many books detailing the properties of each oil, so that you mix up a batch of your own delectable concoction at home. The great fun of experimenting with essential oils is creating your own unique perfumes.
Basil is one of the most effective oils an is important for fighting physical and mental fatigue. It has rich beta-carotene content and is a healthy oil for fighting heart ailments, as it provides powerful antioxidants thus improving cardiovascular health in general. Treat your acne, psoriasis or dry skin with basil to get amazing effects.
Bergamot: Wonderful citrus fragrance that lightens the heart, bringing harmony, freshness of spirit, and clarity of mind. Traditionally used to help ease the mind, the light orange peel, floral fragrance creates a delightful aroma. Bergamot essential oil can be used for massage therapy, or diffused aromatically throughout an entire room.
Clove is the main ingredient used in producing a balm for sore muscles. It also used to alleviate dental problems related to sore gums, together with combating bad breath plus tooth pain. It is also an aphrodisiac and relieves stress.
Eucalyptus: Traditionally used to help support respiratory health, this cooling scent may provide feelings of well-being during times of distress and discomfort. Add a few drops to a spray bottle full of water to disinfect a counter top or work area. It can also be applied topically to the inside of nasal passages for immediate relief of congestion.
Frankincense is light and exotic, brings a sense of comfort and protection when you are feeling over-burdened and overstretched.
Grapefruit: This invigorating, fresh scent is often used to enliven both body and mind. Grapefruit may boost the immune system, as well as the lymphatic system, and is one of the best oils to use for enhancing moods.
Jasmine essential oil is useful for uplifting moods and keeping emotions positive. It is an excellent skin tonic and can also be used as an alternative for women's perfume.
Jojoba Oil Blend acts as an ideal carrier oil. Apply to the skin before applying essential oils to dilute the strength and help prevent irritation. It can also be used alone to help soften and moisturize the skin. If being used in massage, five drops of essential oil can be mixed with a tablespoon of a carrier oil such as the jojoba oil blend.
Juniper is a fragrant, woody aroma. Gives clear awakening and vitality.
Lavender is among the few types of essential oils that has been proven safe to use in an undiluted form. It is just phenomenal in combating bacteria naturally by rubbing on cuts or sores. It reduces anxiety, improves digestion and eases headaches. Beautifully scented, promotes a sense of gentleness and calm. This highly soothing scent helps both the mind and body. It may help ease occasional stress and tension.
Lemon: Its aroma is very invigorating and induces a calm, relaxed atmosphere.
Neem is fantastic and has multiple uses. It may be used for bacterial, viral, and fungal ailments. It can minimize flatulence and also reduce phlegm from bronchial tubes.
Neroli is known also as orange blossom, and is considered a super oil for addressing skin maladies. It greatly helps any skin type whether young or old, dry or oily. The aroma-therapeutic effect of this oil is well-known for treating depression by lifting moods and bolstering energy levels. Neroli is a sweet, fresh fragrance that lifts the burdens of everyday tensions and anxieties, bringing about peace of mind.
Orange may ease your mind and help you unwind. This lovely citrus aroma is commonly used in aromatherapy to provide a welcome release from everyday stress.
Peppermint essential oil has been traditionally used to promote alertness and stimulate the senses. Fresh and clear, helps rid the body of lethargy, encouraging renewed energy. It helps in combating nausea plus other stomach problems. It can help itching and relax muscles which are overworked. Just put a few drops into a bowl of hot water; inhaling the vapors will help fight congestion. It also helps fight sore throats and headaches. Peppermint essential oil also helps to improve focus. This essential oil can also be used to relieve the burn and itch of insect bites. Peppermint aromatherapy can help relieve migraines, tension and stress, and eliminate mild headaches.
Rose, just as in the floral world, is a trusted aid for women. Its phenomenal aroma-therapeutic effects improve hormonal balance. Using this plant extract also helps menopause and PMS issues, as well as improves skin health. Rose is an exquisite fragrance, restores a sense of balance, love, and peace. Rose essential oil also serves as a mood enhancer and aphrodisiac for both sexes, increasing libido and desire. It is helpful for aging and dry skin, making it softer, smoother and younger looking.
Sandlewood is used to treat upper respiratory ailments. When inhaled, assists with cold and flu symptoms, throat infections and cough relief. Sandlewood essential oil also creates a calm nd peaceful atmosphere, and is a stress reliever and sedative.
In order to benefit most from aromatherapy, it is necessary to purchase a diffuser. There are four different categories including humidifying/ultrasonic, nebulizing, heat and evaporative ones. Each of them differ in their method of applying essential oils into the air, and each diffuser has its own benefits.
A nebulizing diffuser operates just like a perfume atomizer. Air-flow that blows across the oil surface creates a mist or fine spray. This is often seen as the best kind since it sends the entire volume of oily compound into the air in form of tiny droplets.
Ultrasonic diffusers, just as nebulizing diffusers, create a fine mist, yet the method of accomplishing this is quite different. An ultrasonic diffuser uses electronic frequencies that cause a small disk under the oil to vibrate at very fast rate. The ultrasonic vibrations break essential oils down into tiny micro-particles that disperse it into a fine mist. Such tiny particles are absorbed easier which has a greater therapeutic effect on the mind, spirit and body. It creates lovely mist which aids in humidifying air, however, it is only a minor fraction is present as essential oil. This is ideal for people who only want to diffuse a small fraction of oil into the room.
Evaporative diffusers are rather basic in their mode of operation. There is a fan which blows air throughout the room via some type of filter or pad, carrying important essential oils dropped within it. Air blowing through this pad causes these oils to evaporate even faster than would be the case normally. This could diminish the therapeutic properties of the oils. However, evaporative diffusion is a good and relatively quiet way of spreading the aroma produced by these oils throughout your room.
Heat diffusers operate in a similar manner as evaporative diffusers. They cause essential oils to evaporate faster than normal, but use heat rather than blow air in order to accomplish it. Some heat diffusers might use high heat levels to produce stronger smells. However, the best kind of heat diffuser only uses low heat levels to produce aromas which are more subtle. High degrees of heat can alter the chemical composition of essential oil compounds.
It is important to only purchase the purest forms of aroma-therapeutic substances available in the market. Conduct some research of the product line targeted and ensure that the chemical components used are organic. Using anything else may end up to be harmful.
Also avoid being tempted to select the cheapest option available, as it might be a combination of heavily-diluted or synthetic chemicals. Keep your bottle in a place that is cool within the home as this will guarantee that you attain maximum benefits at any time of use. Take note that each type of oil has unique properties and starting with the basic forms mentioned in this article is highly recommended.
Aromatherapy: Essential oils for restful sleep
(How to use oils: add a half a dozen drops of your chosen essential oil to water, and burn in an oil burner to fragrance the room; a fragrance room-spray can be made by adding a few drops of essential oils to water; add about 5 or 6 drops of oil to a warm bath and relax for about 20 minutes; sprinkle a few drops of oil on your bed sheets or pillows so that you breathe it in as you drift off.)
Aromatherapy recipe for Sleep: To a warm bath add five drops each of chamomile, lavender, rose, geranium, neroli, sandlewood or lime-flower oil, blended into 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of ‘base oil’, such as almond or jojoba.
Aromatherapy for Dry Skin: Add 10 drops each of essential oil of carrot seed, chamomile, lavender, neroli, and rosemary to 2 ounces of a carrier oil such as jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, or sesame oil. Apply this mixture to your whole body daily after showering or bathing.
Instant Headache Buster: Mix a drop of rosemary essential oil with a few drops of sweet almond oil. Dip your third finger in this deliciously scented oil and place it right in the middle of your forehead. Without lifting your finger, massage this area, in a circular motion, for seven to ten minutes. Your headache should go away. A few drops of rosemary oil in a diffuser is also a good way to rid yourself of headaches. It will also make your room smell great!
Aromatherapy to Improve Concentration
Certain aromatherapy oils release tension while keeping you alert and focused. Put two drops on a tissue and breathe in calmly and slowly. If you can use a burner or diffuser, so much the better. Try these:
Chamomile: if you’re a workaholic or perfectionist.
Bergamot: if you need your sense of humor restored; for that “Monday morning” feeling.
Orange: to cheer you up.
Lavender: if you have a difficult situation to face. Avoid in early pregnancy.
Melissa: if you feel panicky. Avoid in pregnancy.
Frankincense: if you’re under particular strain.
Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for the Postpartum Period
Clary sage: uplifting, balancing
Cypress: healing (use in Sitz baths)
Lavender(French): healing (use in Sitz baths)
Jasmine: emotional balance
Ylang ylang: uplifting, balancing