It's the end of summer and the temperature is still soaring. Take time to chill out with aromatherapy! Whether you want to get rid of that frazzled feeling after work or inhale something energizing and refreshing to beat the heat, essential oils are a simple and natural way to change your mood and balance stressed-out, over-heated, and over-worked physiology.
Aromatics have been used for thousands of years in ancient cultures around the world including Egypt, China, India, Greece, and Rome. In France, the research of Rene-Maurice Gattefosse revealed the antiseptic properties of lavender supporting the work of Dr Jean Valnet and inspiring the use of aromatherapy in hospitals. Extensive research on the benefits of essential oils in the military following World War I also highlighted the beneficial effects of using essential oils to heal wounds and reduce infections without antibiotics. Many soldier's lives were saved due to essential oil treatments. In 1964 Jean Vlenet's also published The Art of Aromatherapy, inspiring health practitioners to take up the practice of aromatic medicine.
Essential oils are ideally sourced from organic and wild-harvested plants and are used to balance and normalize the physiology. Research on aromatherapy suggests that regular use of essential oils can result in higher levels of resistance to disease as well as faster recovery from stress and illness. Some essential oils are also said to be antioxidants as they have the ability to destroy free radicals. Essential oils have the ability to penetrate deep into the body to produce beneficial effects and enhance physical, mental, and emotional well being. Because of their molecular structure, the oils can cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier.
Some popular aromas and their effects are listed below.
Peppermint: Cooling, Uplifting
Lavender: Calming, Cooling, Good Sleep, Healing
Roman Chamomile: Insomnia
Rose Absolute: Good for the Heart, Emotions, Stress
Tea Tree: Disinfectant, Medicinal, Air Purifier, Bug Repellant
Ylang Ylang: Calming, Anti-Depressant.
How to Use Essential Oils for Aromatherapy
Today's modem aroma diffusers are great for people on the go, with plug-in car diffusers, wall diffusers for hotel travel, as well as small potpourri pots and nebulizers for long range home use. Tuck a bottle or two into your travel bag for use on the plane, when travel pressures or jet lag leave you stressed-out or overly fatigued. You can inhale the aroma by simply opening the bottle to enjoy a relaxing "travel pick-me-up!"
Traditional natural healthcare systems understand that each individual has a unique body type. With this in mind, there may be specific aromas which are more or less suitable to balance the predominant characteristics of each person's physiology. It's a good idea to take time to test out the many varieties of essential oils to see which aromas you enjoy most and which essential oils have the most balancing effect for your particular physiology.
So when indian summer days make the air start to sizzle, try aromatherapy to beat the heat, calm your mind, and balance your emotions. WF
Simi Summer, Ph.D. is a free lance writer with a background in natural health modalities.
NOTE: The statements presented in this column should not be considered medical advice or a way to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. Dietary supplements do not treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before altering your daily dietary regimen. The opinions presented here are those of the writer. WholeFoods Magazine does not endorse any specific company, brand or product.