Month: March 2011

Aromatherapy For Wellness

Aromatherapy has existed in one form or another, for many years. From ancient times to current, the impact of scent on the human body and its senses, has played significance in status and culture. Many moons ago, perfumes and other body fragrances were initially developed to hide odor, but has now evolved into a billion dollar industry, needing little-to-no explanation.

Sell With Smell

The Real Estate industry was able to shed further insight on the practice of aromatherapy by what is referred to in the industry as “staging”. Staging involves focusing on visual and sensory aspects of appeal, to sell a home. Sensory elements include choice of wall color, furnishings and fragrance. After many studies, it has been recommended that agents and homeowners use the following scents as a guide to appeal to potential buyers: leather, coffee, pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon and fresh flowers. All of these aromas lend an emotional factor to the potential buyers and enhance the visual appeal of the property. Most interestingly, people tend to forget the role of fragrance, relative to personal health, both emotionally and physically.

Harmful Soot

The ability to use fragrance in a multitude of forms such as candles, wickless candles, sprays and oils, provides a wide array of means to healthily benefit from scent. I happen to have been a life-long collector of Yankee Candles, but after learning of their effects on the environment – what we breathe in – I have greatly limited my candle purchases. Much to my dismay, my father-in-law and husband (who own a commercial air conditioning business), described to me the process by which the smoke from one candle, clogs filters and in turn, is detrimental to the lungs and air quality.

Once they explained the cycle, I took note of the areas in which I had prior candle placement, and the black soot that seemed to collect around the vents on the ceiling. Yikes! Major bummer, but for someone such as myself, who loved to light candles for scent, this was something to consider; it was not worth polluting the air quality and suffocating my central air system, nor infiltrating the lungs of my family and I.

Essential Oils

Falling back to my love for fragrance and aromatherapy, I began to rely more on “Essential Oils”. Essential Oils are fragrance oils derived from natural ingredients (i.e. sage, eucalyptus, lavender). Additionally, they are known for their healing properties. Essential Oils can be purchased in holistic shops, some pharmacies and ordered online. They may be blended, or consist of more than one ingredient and are typically sold in relatively small bottles. Some can be rather pricey.

Essential Oils are used in soaps, lotions, potpourri and may be used near an approved heat source such as on light bulbs, or oil burners. On a side note: essential oils need to be measured. Exposure to high amounts of an oil can and will, create an adverse reaction, and in some cases should not be used in conjunction with pregnant women, or people with skin sensitivity; always read and follow instructions for their use.

Oils can be used in combination to produce a number of desired effects ranging from invigorating, relaxing, spiritually clarifying and so forth. They may also be used in combination to provide relief from some everyday health ailments.

Listed below, are some of my favorite oils and their individual and combined effects:

Single Oil Significance

Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) – This is a great oil that will help better concentration resulting from fatigue. It also is used to recharge the physical body and spirit. *** Do not use this oil during pregnancy. It may cause skin irritation.

Cedar wood (Cedrus atlantica) – This is used to treat bodily aches and pain and also helps with congestion and clears breathing passages. Many cosmetic industries use this as a base, due to its oily nature.

Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) – Wonderfully relaxing. It is known for its calming and soothing properties. It may be purchased in flower form as well, and in flower or tea form, makes a great bedtime drink.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Nees, C verum, Laurus) – Believe it or not, cinnamon oil may be used as an antiseptic due to the cleansing and anti-inflammatory qualities of the plant and its oils. Traditionally, it is a fragrance that is used around the fall and winter holidays.

Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) – This is perhaps, one of my favorite oils. It is a positive scent that also has soothing qualities. It is also an excellent muscle relaxant and used for cramps. Clary Sage also promotes sleep and dream state.

Eucalyptus (Organic Eucalyptus globulus) – This oil works very well for its antiseptic qualities and is a great relief for those suffering from colds or any type of congestion.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) – My grandmother was a huge fan of this and I can attest how wonderful ginger is relative digestive issues such as an upset stomach.

Jasmine (Jasminum Grandiflorum) – Awesome oil for helping with self-confidence, its relaxing properties and is also somewhat of an aphrodisiac.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, L. officinalis, L. vera) – Lavender is a multipurpose oil that is spiritually uplifting, calming and great for muscle aches and pains.

Lemon (Citrus limonum) – Awesome oil with fresh, revitalizing properties. It also is good for cold and flu symptoms and may be used in conjunction with antiseptics and astringents.

Orange (Citrus sinensis) – Another oil that is spiritually uplifting, invigorating and also calming. Orange oil aids in digestive matters as well.

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin, P. patchouli) – This is is known for its sensual properties. It is also soothing and has properties which can actually deter sleep.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – This oil is definitely something that energizes and is not recommended for use during the evening hours. Peppermint is used for relief of muscle pain and fatigue.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia, M. linariifolia, M. uncintata) – Love Tea Tree oil for its antiseptic qualities. It also is used as an anti-viral and anti-fungal. Many lotions, shampoos and other body products are utilizing these properties and rightfully so; awesome!

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) – This is a very strong oil that is used in a variety of ways. It can be used in stress reduction, and also is spiritually uplifting. Ylang Ylang is widely used in combination with other oils, depending upon the desired effect.

Blends

Spirituality: Frankincense, Spruce, Myrrh, Juniper & Sandalwood

Energy: Peppermint, Lemon & Frankincense

Stress Reduction: Grapefruit, Jasmine & Ylang Ylang

Anxiety: Lavender & Clary Sage

Confidence Boosting: Orange & Rosemary

Romance: Jasmine, Orange, Almond, Sandalwood & Ylang Ylang

Insomnia: Bergamot, Clary Sage & Chamomile

Depression: Rose, Sandalwood & Orange

Grief: Neroli, Rose & Sandalwood

Memory Enhancement: Basil, Rosemary & Cypress

Irritability: Lavender, Neroli & Chamomile

Celebration and/or Gratitude: Grapefruit, Ginger, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Frankincense

Panic Attack: Rose & Lavender

For Migraines & Headaches: Peppermint, Basil, Lemon & Lavender

Menstrual Cramps: Chamomile, Geranium, Lavender & Clary Sage

Muscle Pain & Tension: Peppermint, Clary Sage, Lavender & Chamomile

Coughs: Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Peppermint, Cinnamon & Cedarwood

Colds: Ginger, Basil, Juniper Berry, Orange & Rosewood

Flu and/or Sinus: Pine, Thyme, Lavender, Eucalyptus & Marjoram

These are just a sampling of blends. For specific measurements of each oil, conduct a Google search and you will find a variety of recipes. Follow the instructions carefully!

Aromatherapy is a fantastic and natural way to enhance your wellbeing. You can also conduct an online search to find various instructions to make aromatherapy hot/cold packs. Relative to hot/cold packs: I would strongly recommend using Flaxseed for the internal component in place of dried corn or beans. Flaxseed will better blend with, and retain the oils . Furthermore, it does not run as high of an overheating risk, as dried corn and beans tend to. Again, carefully follow the instructions and take care not overheat!

Aromatherapy is versatile and amazing. Considering studies have shown that even Real Estate professionals are part-taking in the benefits due to the impact of scent being a proven part of the selling equation, just think of the wellness enhancements that it can provide an individual.

Why wait? Try starting out with one or two oils, or perhaps a specific blend and see what happens. You just may be surprised!

Jill