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Now more than ever, we’re experiencing stress in our everday lives. Here’s how aromatherapy can help reduce stress and improve your everyday life!
By: Chloe Persichetti
Stress seems to be a part of life that is inescapable. Learning ways to get around this “inevitability” can help shield your body and mind from future waves of tension and keep you tending to business as usual. Moreover, what if eliminating stress could come naturally to you – would you try it?
Have you noticed how your mood changes for the worse when you smell something nasty? It doesn’t make you feel good at all. That is one small example of how smell affects our mood. This shift in disposition can be harnessed for the better. When used as a means of bringing positivity to your day, the method is referred to as aromatherapy.
There seems to be a reason why “stop and smell the roses” is a popular phrase. If your sense of smell didn’t have such an impact on mood, the expression could have been anything, even something along the lines of, “stop and watch the birds pass.” Smelling can have powerful benefits. We can call upon our sense of smell to keep ourselves grounded, and we can even alleviate stress in the process. Your sense of smell is powerful enough to impact your bodily functions in a number of ways. In addition to altering mood, scents such as peppermint are able to wake you up, while others such as tangerine can make you fall asleep. When placed on the skin, aromatic essential oils seem to work well with your body’s chemistry. This is why massage oils are often packed full of essential oils to heal and protect the skin’s outer layer.
Relaxation can be difficult to achieve for some people; maybe you have a huge project coming up, or have some lingering anxiety as you approach a specific challenge in your life. Whatever the case may be, stress hormones can creep into your body and turn your stress levels up. There are countless ways to reduce stress effectively – working out, sleep, eating well – but what about smelling? The simple touch of an essential oil vaporizer or a scented candle could greatly improve your mood and perspective.
The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) says, “Aromatherapy can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind, and spirit…as well as to observe and enhance the individual’s innate healing process.”
Aromatherapy has been used for centuries. Although this type of helpful alleviator didn’t have a universally acknowledged name yet, the Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans discovered that plant extracts could be used for healing purposes. These utilizations date back at least 6,000 years. It is believed that the official birthplace of aromatherapy was in France. A man named René-Maurice Gattefossé accidentally burned himself one afternoon, then immediately put his skin in water. What he hadn’t realized was that the basin of water was already filled with essential oils, which actually resulted in his burn healing quicker than usual. Once discovering the powers of essential oils, he began to treat wounds in WW1 with special oil blends.
Beyond inhaling deeply straight from a bottle of essential oils, there are various ways to experience the benefits associated with aromatherapy. When picking up aromatherapy as a means of relaxation, you should first research the ways in which you can practice it and determine which one works best as part of your schedule.
The NAHA says direct inhalation is “one of the simplest ways of using aromatherapy – inhaling an essential oil (or essential oil blend) direct from a tissue, cotton-ball, or direct from the bottle. This is a good method to use in situations of shock, grief, anxiety, panic attacks, and respiratory conditions that require immediate attention.”
Buy a diffuser, add a few drops of essential oil, and let the air around you fill with a calming scent. You can even turn your favorite creams into aromatherapy moisturizers by adding drops of essential oil to it, thus giving the cream many of the same aromatherapeutic properties. Furthermore, you can add essential oils to your next bath for an experience like no other. Introduce some essential oils to the water and watch as a glorious swirl of organic plant extracts readies itself for your arrival. Enjoying the benefits of aromatherapy is often as simple as breathing!
Lastly, we have a quick suggestion to freshen your car with a few easy spritzes! Add drops of your favorite essential oil to a small spray bottle and dilute it with water! Keep this organic air freshener in your car and spray whenever you feel like it’s necessary. You could even bring your spray bottle with you once you leave your car. It can be stored virtually anywhere that you feel is in need of some extra help/care!
While it can be daunting trying to find the perfect essential oils for you, we created a small guide covering some of the most popular oils on the market. Here are the top essential oils with a wide array of benefits, as well as the reasoning behind their ever-growing popularity.
Bergamot is a common essential oil that can be found in many stores. This is a great oil for improving your mood and letting stress fall away. As Gattefossé discovered, bergamot is great for topical use when healing your skin, due to its pain-reducing and cleansing properties. It’s the perfect essential oil to always have on hand.
Along with offering a strong, wonderful smell, eucalyptus is great for freshening the air and neutralizing your emotions. Along with balancing your mind, it’s also ideal for when you catch a cold, as it helps to open your nasal passageways and get you back to breathing better. It’s a great oil for someone with allergies who’s in search of a soothing aroma.
Another great skin healer, this oil is said to help with acne, dry skin and dermatitis. Its unique properties go beyond just the skin, as they can also be used on your scalp for dandruff or excessively oily hair. Patchouli is also said to be helpful in reducing symptoms of more severe emotional distress, as well as headaches and upset stomachs. The relaxing elements of this oil keep you focused on what lies ahead.
Even the slightest scent of peppermint will begin to revive the senses and awaken your brain. It’s said that tension, stress and irritability seem to melt away when this extract makes its grand appearance. If you’re looking for a boost of energy and clear nasal passages, this is the perfect essential oil for you.
Our final essential oil on the list, Ylang ylang has a beautiful, light scent that is said to improve mood. Beyond its smell, it can be used to reduce aches and pains that you might encounter on a daily basis, as well as eliminate wrinkling when applied topically. Ylang ylang is often found in cosmetics for this very reason. Its versatility and widespread adoration make it the perfect oil to end our list on!
Essential oils are readily available at almost any drug store, as well as certain high-end shops. Mixing several oils together is another great way to experience multiple benefits at the same time! Discover what’s best for you in your relaxation journey. Continuing to keep your stress levels at bay allows you to enjoy a greater quality of life, and if it’s possible to get there by smelling wonderful plant extracts, then it only makes sense to test the waters!
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