Real estate brokers have known the benefits of aromatherapy for years.
Want to sell a house quickly? Have a fresh batch of cookies baking in
the oven when you show it. The warm, heavenly aroma will transport
potential buyers back to a pleasant place from their childhood. They'll
associate that cozy feeling with your home, and bingo , you have sold
your house !
Although aromatherapy has been in the
spotlight lately, it's anything but new. Religious ceremonies throughout
the ages have included the burning of special incense as part of their
sacred rites. And European doctors in the eleventh century often used
essential oils to prevent and to heal disease.
recently, however, that researchers have discovered what our ancestors
seemed to know instinct all along : certain aromas are more than just
pleasant to our noses. They can actually alter our brain waves, which in
turn can profoundly affect our moods. Scents can make us more alert.
They can calm us down. they can lift our spirits. They may even be able
to stimulate our immune systems. Scientists can actually study the
different parts of the brain that each scents affects. Orange, jasmine,
and rose, for example, alter brain waves in a way that produces calming
sensations and increases your sense of well-being, while oils like
rosemary and black pepper are more stimulating and increase your energy
response. Because they're so good for you in so many ways, many of the
recipes in this book call for a drop or two of essential oils of all
Ever wonder why one whiff from a bakery, a hay
field, or a familiar after shave open the floodgates for long-forgotten
memories ? It's because the olfactory nerve - the one found in the upper
regions of the nasal cavity - provides the shortest, most direct route
ton your limbic system, the brain's emotional mainframe and the
warehouse for stored memories. The limbic system also is directly
connected to those parts of the brains that control your heart rate,
blood pressure, breathing , memory, stress level, and hormone balance.
No wonder many holistic health practitioners incorporate aromatherapy
into their practices.
As if that weren't enough,
you also can use many of these fragrant healers topically. For example,
their astringent, antiseptic properties make them good killers of
infectitious germs on cuts and abrasions on the skin. They also are
great for nourishing mature, dry, or cracked skin.
you're new to aromatherapy , however, you 're best off exercising
caution when applying oils to your skin . For one thing, most of them
are very strong and should be diluted with water before application.
They can also cause allergic skin reactions, particularly among people
with fair skin or freckled complexions. If you want to use an essential
oil topically, perform a skin test first. Simply place a drop of oil on
a cotton swab and dab it on the inside of your wrist or inner elbow.
cover it up and keep it unwashed for twenty-four hours. If you don't
experience any itching, redness, or rash , you should be able to use the
oil topically\. Caution : Pregnant women should not use any oils
you can buy essential oils at many pharmacies.
But you 'll often end up paying a lot of money for a little bit of oil.
Instead , you can make your own essential oils by soaking herbs,
flowers, or roots in vodka or rubbing alcohol for ten to fourteen days.
You then pour a small amount of the oil in a potpourri burner and enjoy
the effects. The following primer will guide you through the most
commonly used essences and their best uses.
Basil : A
favorite in recipes of all kinds, basil is uplifting and refreshing.
Using basil in a bath is popular in Ayurvedic medicine for cooling and
warming the skin simultaneously. It also may be used as a bug repellant.
Black Pepper : Though inhaling too much at once can make you sneeze,
black pepper is good for increasing energy levels. It's derived from the
unripe fruit and berry of the peppercorn.
Cedar wood :
Popularly used to scent wardrobes and dresser drawers, cedar wood is a
sweet fragrance that clears the mind. Some people use it to relieve
topically itchy skin. It is also an astringent for oily skin.
Citrus Oils : the next time you come home growling from a bad day at
work, diffuse some citrus essence into the air. Citrus oils can chase
away foul moods and create a bright, uplifting atmosphere. orange,
lemon, lime, or grape fruit will do the trick.
: Another fine herb for combating depression, menstrual pain, and
premenstrual syndrome. when diffused into the air or used as a massage
oil, this essence is said to make you feel euphoric.
Eucalyptus : Popularly used in cold and flu chest rubs and cough drops,
eucalyptus helps clear stiffness and congestion. It's also a classic
antiviral and expectorant essence in aromatherapy.
Oils : We love the way flowers look. And we love the way they smell.
hands down, floral oils are the best for stress relief. They are also
the fragrances that people tend to like best. experiment with flower
essences of all kinds from the most basic rose to exotic wild flowers.
Geranium : Geranium is among the floral essences that relax you. It also
has special properties as an antiviral and antifungal agent. It's gentle
on the skin and works well topically.
Lavender : The
queen of essential oils, lavender may be the most healing of all the
fragrances. Researchers in hospital intensive care units have found that
this sweet essence can improve moods and relieve stress.
Mandarin : Made from the sweet mandarin orange, this citrus essence is
one of the most popular for alleviating anxiety and for lifting bad
Patchouli : Cool and invigorating , peppermint is
popularly used to relieve symptoms of cold, flue, and sinus congestion.
Just place two or three drops of peppermint essence in a bowl of hot
water and inhale. Peppermint also is a great mental stimulant.