Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential oils to enhance health and wellbeing. Evidence of it’s healing use has been found in Egyptian, Chinese and Indian cultures dating back to the period of 3000 B.C.
So how does it work? Various fragrances have the ability to alter the brain and body. When scents enter the nasal passage, the olfactory bulb is stimulated sending nerves impulses to the brain, which in turn creates a cascade effect through the limbic system.
As with any science, care and caution must be exercised. Commercial air fresheners and plug-ins may contain artificial scents that can contain toxins so it is best to use organic essential oils that you can mix yourself. The oils can be used in diffusers: a few drops of oil added to water that is inhaled. They can be mixed in carrier oils such as jojoba, almond or coconut oil and applied topically, or in the case of certain oils, can be ingested by taking a few drops under the tongue. Essential oils should never be applied to the skin without dilution, and certain oils should never be taken orally. (For more info go to www.drericz.com).
Many essential oils are known to produce specific effects. Oils such as lavender, chamomile, bergamot and vetiver have been effective in decreasing anxiety and improving quality of sleep. Peppermint can be stimulating and citrus oils such as orange, lemon and lime can improve mood.
But preference to scents can be highly individual so why not try concocting your own blend? Certain smells can evoke powerful memories and emotions. Experimenting with a variety of oils for use in relaxation, promotion of sleep and/or mental stimulation will help determine what works best for you. Choosing an alternative way, such as Aromatherapy to reduce stress is always a good thing!