Breathe in the Benefits of Aromatherapy
Before you do anything big or scary, or when you start feeling stressed, you inhale deeply. As you exhale, you start to feel calmer, more centered. Now, imagine that the air around you is also working to refine your focus or quell your fear. That’s where aromatherapy begins.
Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils that take on the scent or essence of their source. The compounds are extracted through natural or mechanical processes, such as distillation, steam or cold pressing, and then combined with all-natural carrier oils that are ready to use. Inhaling certain essential oil aromas can stimulate a specific area of your brain that is partly responsible for your emotions and behaviors, along with your sense of smell and long-term memory.
So how does aromatherapy work? Smell is one of the first senses we develop, and one that is deeply associative. For example, when we smell certain scents, it can trigger strong memories, such as sitting in grandma’s kitchen, or being on our honeymoon. Aromatherapy uses those positive associations and deliberately exploits them to help stimulate endorphins and other feel-good hormones in our bodies.
How can you use aromatherapy to your advantage? Understand the properties of essential oils before you use them; know which ones work best for sleep, and which ones are best for concentration or are more stimulating.
Here are some calming essential oils:
•Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils, and is used most often for relaxation
•Clary sage is best known for its emotional balancing properties
•Bergamot is one of the few citrus scents that is relaxing –most are invigorating or used to help sharpen awareness
•Chamomile tea has long been known to help people relax, but its aromatic qualities are also very soothing
•Vetiver can be calming and cooling
Conversely, some essential oils are used to energize and uplift the emotions:
•Citrus scents, such as orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit, can be used to stimulate the senses, increase your inner joy, and invigorate the mind
•Mint scents, especially peppermint, can help make you feel more alert, providing a great, caffeine-free way to help you get your chores finished more quickly
•Rosemary is wonderful for added focus, mental clarity, and mindfulness. It can reduce stress, even as it promotes awareness, and adds a boost to your day
•Frankincense can help clear the air, helping those around you breathe easier —figuratively and literally. The calming notes help balance the emotions
How can you make the most of these properties? Some essential oils can be used directly on the skin, but for the most part, it’s recommended that you always use a carrier oil to dilute the oil’s potency. The old saying, “Less is more,” also goes for applying essential oils topically. Even when you dilute the essential oils before applying, pay close attention to the area of skin afterwards. Some oils can irritate the skin, with the most common reactions being rashes, redness, and irritation. Your best bet is to invest in a diffuser so you can enjoy all of the benefits of the oils without having to deal with the topical application risks.
There are essential oil diffusers for the home and on the go, but let’s take a look at how you can create an oasis in your home. Our Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser “gives off a gentle glow while creating a peaceful environment.” You can choose 2 of your favorite essential oils, and use one or both for a customized blend that will provide up to 6 hours of continuous scent.
The best essential oil diffuser to buy is one you’ll use the most. For those smaller spaces, you’ll want an all-in-one solution, such as our SoundSpa® Slumber Scents. The multi-application system offers gentle illumination, and a diffuser, alarm clock and white-noise generator in one compact package.
Diffusers change the scent-scape of your environment, help elevate your mood, and relax your mind and body. Be adventurous –explore which essential oils work best for you and see for yourself how they can make a difference in your mind and body health.
Medical Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.