September has finally arrived and fall is around the corner. The Fall season is always an invitation to slow down and to nurture ourselves in preparation for the long winter rest.
Aromatherapy is one of Ayurveda's many holistic treatments and has been used for ages to treat certain aches and pains and to balance the body, mind and spirit.
This month's newsletter is an invitation to tap into our senses and nurture ourselves through the power of essential oils.
A few Tips For Aromatherapy Newbies
Essential oils are derived from the distillation of the elements of a plant like the leaves, roots, owers, stems and bark. They hold the true essence of the plants from which they originally came in high concentration. Though termed as oil, essential oils normally do not have the real properties of oil. Some essential oils are yellow like that of the lemongrass and orange and many are clear.
These oils are used in a variety of methods: through inhalation, by adding them in the bathwater and by the application of the diluted oil on the body.
The use of oil in aromatherapy is only restricted to those with unadulterated qualities. The purest of the essential oils alone have the therapeutic values.
Here are a few tips to start with aromatherapy :
Buy One or Two Aromatherapy Books. Choose just one or two books to start your aromatherapy library. Select books that are general resources, which will give you some basic information and help you discover the areas in which you have the most interest.
Choose Five or Ten Essential Oils to start. Though you may be tempted to buy more, try to begin with just five or ten different essential oils. Essential oils can be quite expensive, so you may want to experiment with a few at first and then invest in more if you decide to pursue aromatherapy further.
Make Sure to buy 100%, Pure, Unadulterated Essential Oils. When you buy essential oils, choose a well-known and reputable manufacturer. Synthetic, fragrance, and perfume oils are not essential oils; they contain man-made chemicals and have no aromatherapeutic value.
Buy at Least One Carrier Oil. For nearly all topical aromatherapy applications, you will need to dilute essential oils into a carrier oil. Good all-purpose carrier oils include sweet almond oil, sunower oil, grapeseed oil... Buy cosmetic grade carrier oils, and use only a few drops of essential oil(s) per 30 ml of carrier oil.
Store your oils properly. Essential oils should be stored only in dark glass containers. Since essential oils are volatile, keep the lids tightly closed. Essential oils and carrier oils should be stored away from heat and light. Carrier oils will go rancid eventually, so it's best to buy smaller quantities.
Do a 24 hour patch test on your wrist, to make sure you are not allergic to the essential oil you want to use.
Be careful if you intend to use Aromatherapy with Children or Pets. Children an Pets can totally benefit from the healing powers of essential oils, but certain oils can be dangerous. Make sure to research the topic and to dilute them properly. The use of essential oils is not recommended under age 3. And it is safer to start diffusing the oils, instead of applying them topically.
As you experiment with and learn more about aromatherapy, you will become more confident using essential oils. There is so much to explore, so be safe and have fun!
Aromatherapy For Travel: Essential Oils For Your Journey
Going on a trip is usually thought of as a wonderful experience, one that you and your family may have planned and looked forward to for some time. To have the most fun, to get the most out of the experience, it’s important that you and your loved ones have the means to overcome those little ailments and discomforts that can make the experience range from mildly unpleasant to downright unbearable. How can we include a little ‘trip insurance’ to our already overstuffed luggage? Aromatherapy has an answer with some readily available essential oils.
Motion sickness, bug bites, digestive difculties, and general travel weariness, to name a few, are common discomforts experienced when venturing away from home. A small collection of inexpensive essential oils can provide great relief from these amusement-threatening ailments.
Treatment with these oils is simple, ranging from inhaling a little oil from a tissue, to adding to a bath, to drinking a drop with a warm cup of water. And, thankfully, relief often comes quickly because of the oils’ powerful properties and compatibility with our own bodies.
Peppermint essential oil
I personally never leave the house, without my pepermint essential oil. It's the best remedy I know for stomach cramps and I have used it for years to bring relief to my belly aches, my period cramps or my occasional headaches...
It's also very helpful when traveling. By car, boat, plane, or otherwise, motion sickness commonly affects many people, particularly children.
This can easily make the ‘traveling’ portion of your experience absolutely no fun.
Peppermint has long been used to calm uneasy stomachs, and is easily used. One drop (it is strong!) in a cup of warm water, sweetened if you like, can be sipped before and during the voyage. For the fussy ones, a drop can be added to a small amount of honey and taken from a spoon for the same effect.
Peppermint can also be uplifting to the tired driver or passenger, a drop or two placed on tissues in the car or near your seat will release the aroma into your surroundings. Be careful with this oil however, as getting it on sensitive areas of the skin (directly under the nose, and certainly near the eyes) can cause irritation. Tissues with the oil on it should not touch these areas directly.
Ginger essential oil
Ginger essential oil is also known for its calming of upset stomachs, a little inhaled from a tissue or diluted in a carrier oil and rubbed on the abdomen can bring relief. One can also add a drop of ginger to warm water and drink it as a strong tea, this may be effective for some food-related stomach issues as well, particularly when combined with the abdomen massage method.
Lavender essential oil
Lavender has been called ‘a medicine chest in a bottle’ due to its wide range of effects. The aroma of lavender is uplifting and relaxing, useful for stress in congested airports or crowded highways. Breathing this very safe essential oil is effective for adults and children alike, inhaling drops from a tissue directly, or from one’s placed in your surroundings can help you and your companions be at ease.
Lavender essential oil is also an effective wound-healer because of its antiinammatory, mild antibacterial, and skin-regenerative actions. It can be used directly in case of burns, mixed 50:50 with tea tree and put on band aids to prevent infection, or blended with thyme linalol and eucalyptus (2:4:2) and added to a bowl of water for an effective disinfectant wash.
Lavender is very useful for treating bites and stings, just place a little drop (undiluted) on the affected area. This versatile oil is also a component of an insect repellent blend composed of equal parts of lavender, thyme linalol, and peppermint, and a double-dose of lemongrass essential oil. A drop or more placed on tissue or cloth about your room can keep the insects out of your space; 3 drops of this blend per teaspoon of carrier oil can be regularly applied to the skin, or you may mix a similar amount into any lotion you may have.
Lavender can also be used in combination with geranium, chamomile, peppermint and eucalyptus oils in relieving the effects of jet lag. Getting out of this weary state as quickly as possible makes any trip more enjoyable. This requires getting yourself and companions in-synch with local time, having good rest at night and perhaps a gentle lift in the mornings and throughout the day.
To get yourself into the swing of local time, relax and be ready for bed with equal parts of lavender and geranium essential oils, chamomile may also be used in place of the geranium, and works especially well for soothing children (if they are irritable for ANY reason). Add a few drops to a bath or use in a massage oil. For a morning eye-opener, do the same using equal amounts of peppermint and eucalyptus. You will find these useful at other times when you need a little clarity and lightening-up.
Lemon essential oil
Lemon also has some wonderfully diverse uses. It is effective as an antibacterial, but not so strong as to be an irritant. Adding several drops per quart to your drinking water will help purify it, and the water can act as a disinfectant to be used in washing your fruits and vegetables. The need for this certainly depends on your location, but it is not a bad idea whenever bacterial contamination may be a possibility. Further, regularly drinking water with added lemon oil can gently stimulate the lymphatic and digestive systems, helping alleviate that sluggish feeling that often accompanies extended plane and car travel.
Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus, the narrow leaf variety is a favorite – has a great range of uses as well. It can cool the body when too hot, and protect it when too cold. It is found in almost all formulas used to relieve congestion, can support circulation, and bring lightness to a travel-weary head.
Eucalyptus oil can be used like peppermint to uplift and invigorate during long intervals in an automobile. It can be added to a cool bath or used on a cold compress in cases of heat exhaustion and heat stroke (accompanied by, of course, copious amounts of water!), and used in a similar manner to reduce fever.
Eucalyptus oil may be blended with geranium as a massage oil (3 drops eucalyptus and 2 drops geranium per teaspoon of carrier oil) to relieve heat cramps. For congestion relief, to a drawn bath, add 1 drop eucalyptus, 3 drops lemon, 2 drops thyme, and 2 drops tea tree, soak and breathe deeply, or simply add a few drops to a steaming bowl of water and inhale.
These are just a few examples of ways to make your travel experiences more enjoyable with aromatherapy. With a little effort, you can expand your knowledge of these oils, discover further uses, and find other oils that work well for your particular needs. These essential oils are readily available, and fairly inexpensive, though caution should be used when buying oils, as some can be adulterated, and others are mass-produced with techniques that may limit their therapeutic benefits. The more pleasant and ‘well rounded’ an oil’s aroma, generally the higher the quality. Your nose will know! And as with any aromatherapy application, start slowly, essential oils deserve a healthy respect.
Using Aromatherapy To Cure Insomnia
Aromatherapy provides a natural way to deal with insomnia, relaxation, anxiety, and stress. The primary purpose of aromatherapy is to produce an odor that induces an effect on the human body. The smells from aromatherapy work on a subconscious level. Smell can affect the way that human beings react. Different smells can stimulate the brain and evoke feelings that are then associated with that smell. Aromatherapy is used for mental and emotional well being. The oils of aromatherapy are often used to stimulate or relax the person as needed.
Some aromatherapy oils are chamomile, patchouli, sandalwood, neroli, ylang-ylang, and marjoram. There are a few different ways that you can enjoy the smells of aromatherapy such as putting a few drops in your bath water, the oils can be used for massage, or you can even sprinkle a few drops on your pillow at night. Chamomile is a bit more versatile as you can drink it in the form of tea or use the oils in something similar to an incense burner.
If you look into aromatherapy for the sole purpose of insomnia there will be actual recipes that you can make yourself that act very well for insomnia.
One in particular is a mixture of two drops of jasmine and four drops of lavender. This can be used in a diffuser or you can place drops of it surrounding your bed. Just make sure that it is in a place where you will be able to smell it best. This mixture can also be used for a massage.
Aromatherapy candles are also available in the various scents that are mentioned above, they are a great added touch but likely do not release enough fumes to assist in combating something as tough as insomnia. In conjunction with aromatherapy, meditation and yoga work excellently as a way to free the negative energy from your body that is causing you to lose precious sleep. Besides helping with just insomnia it will lead you into a more healthy life in general.
The most popular aromatherapy oil used today is lavender. Lavender is very versatile and can ever be grown in your own backyard. It also works great for digestive related issues and as a very effective antidepressant. Further, it calms nerves, relaxes the body, and promotes sleep.
Sometimes the everyday stresses of life can build up and a combination of aromatherapy oils can be literally magical in creating a harmonic balance, a sense of well being and relaxation, and promoting sleep.
Aromatherapy For Healing
Aromatherapy works by inducing the olfactory nerve cells with aromatic oils, which then carries out the message to the limbic system in the brain. The limbic system is the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling memory and emotions. Aromatherapy is concerned in the workings of both the physical and emotional aspects of the person under treatment.
Physically, aromatherapy helps in relieving specic conditions through the stimulation of the nervous, immune and circulatory system. In emotions however, they may evoke pleasant memories and uplifted moods.
In Ayurveda, we use aromatherapy to balance the Doshas. If you know your dominant doshas, here are some essential oils that you may use to balance any dosha imbalance :
VATA: Vata can be pacified by following essential oils, that help to relax Vata's stressed nervous system and anxious mind :
PITTA: Pitta can be pacified by following oils to cool down Pitta's excess fire energy, that can cause anger and inflammation in the body :
KAPHA: Kapha can be pacified by following oils that help to reduce water retention, excess mucus in the body, congestion and overweight :
Essential oils have powerful properties that may also help with emotional imbalance or with treating certain aches and pains. Peppermint oil is indicated for head aches for example, whereas clary sage is good for relieving menstrual cramps. Buy a good book on the healing properties of each oil and start inviting them into your daily routine ! You will find that a lot of the oils may already bring tremendous relief. But just be mindeful and don't try to self medicate. Always consult a medical doctor in case of illness and disease.