Saturday, February 18, 2017

Aromatherapy Pt 2

Last week we talked about the history.  This week I would like to explore more about how Aromatherapy can be used.
We hear Aromatherapy & Essential Oils used almost interchangeably.  But this isn’t the full picture.  “Aroma” means “Fragrance” & “therapy” means ‘treatment”.  That means when we diffuse the oils we are utilizing a treatment plan of fragrances.  The essence of the plant is the fragrance oil, held in its cells.  So, whether we use the actual plant or the extracted oil, we are administering Fragrance Treatment or Aroma Therapy.
Now, once these fragrance essence oils or essential oils are extracted from the plant, they are diffused in several ways.  There is warming the oil by a heat source or burning incense, placing crystals or beads soaked in your favorite aroma, diluting oils to be applied to the skin, & more.  Let’s touch on some of these ways.
It appears the favorite way of infusing our space with oils today is to gently warm them.  If you’re in your office space, you may not be able to use a warmer.  The alternative is Diffusing Reeds.  They diffuse much slower & may not be as offensive to those who are sensitive.  Always be considerate & check before diffusing in open areas.
If you find you aren’t able to use the Diffusing Reeds, there is always the personal Diffusing jewelry.  I personally use a small, terra cotta disc worn around my neck with a hemp cord under my shirt.  I also place a couple of drops on the bottoms of my feet before putting on hosiery & shoes.  Doesn’t seem to bother those around me & yet has the desired effect on me.
Now, what about around your home?  I recommend that if you live with others, check how they feel about essential oils.  For some, a strong infusion of a certain aroma can trigger headaches, allergies etc., so always be considerate.  Aromatherapy is always meant to assist in the positive.
Your choices in your home are almost endless.  Candles stick or cone incense, diffusers, sachet bags, decorative bathroom beads, etc.  In my home my husband does not respond well to burning incense.  The smoke that tends to fill the rooms is unpleasant for him.  He’s also not fond of burning candles.  Again, the aroma is too concentrated for him
So I use a simple electric diffuser.  Some water & a couple of drops of the fragrance & it gently fills the air.  Mine runs for about two hours before automatically turning off.  I place it in our room, infusing the area with moisture & aroma.  When we retire for the night we fall asleep quicker & are well rested in the morning.
At the Yoga studio I visit there burns either the incense sticks or cones.  Occasionally candles are used as our fragrance source.  The ceiling is higher & the space open, so the concentration does not overwhelm the senses.  This is the goal you seek when you are using Fragrance Treatment.  You want the fragrance to waft around your nostrils, tantalizing your olfactory receptors.  This in turn triggers the limbic system of the brain.  This is where emotional behavior & memory get involved.  
Most aromatherapy is usually done with specific intention.  You might use lavender or chamomile to bring on feelings of relaxation.  Eucalyptus oils for helping to clear your breathing.  Wild orange oils to energize & up lift you for the day.  The aroma of Jasmine oils to bolster your confidence.
You can also use sachets filled with crystals or beads to keep you drawers smelling fresh & homey.  Cedarwood oil is a natural deodorizer & its pleasant wood smell improves personal outlook.  I find Pine oil to be rather comforting also.
You can use Peppermint Oil in your car.  Peppermint oil helps enhance alertness & stamina.  Good qualities when you must drive in traffic or long distances.
You decide what you want to surround yourself in & then look for the corresponding fragrance.  You can check out my links below.  They will take you to sites where you can learn more about moods & essential oils.
Thank you for joining me today.  May you be Blessed.
Never apply a pure essential oil directly to your skin. Essential oils are extremely potent in their undiluted form and need to be added to carrier oil, such as almond, apricot kernel or olive oil. Do not ingest essential oils. If you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition, check with your doctor before using essential oils, as some can interact with medications. Pregnant women and young children should not use essential oils unless under the guidance of a medical professional.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Aromatherapy Pt 1

I thought a good place to start would be to explain what are aromatherapy, meditation and yoga.  How can they help us to be better & how to use them.  We’ll look at the different facets of them & how they intermingle to affect our balance & spirit.
This week we will talk about aromatherapy.  We’ll look at the different ways we can infuse the air around us with aromas.  We’ll look at how aroma oils have been used to   ease many discomforts.
I feel Wikipedia covers it best for our purposes: “Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds for improving psychological or physical well-being.
It can be offered as a complementary therapy or, more controversially, as a form of alternative medicine. Complementary therapy can be offered alongside standard treatment, with alternative medicine offered instead of conventional, evidence-based treatments.”
Aromatherapists, who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of therapeutic essential oils that can be issued through topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion to stimulate a desired response.
There is no good medical evidence that aromatherapy can either prevent or cure any disease, but it might help improve general well-being.”
That being said, let’s take a quick look at aromatherapy history. 
Aroma Therapy (fragrance treatment) has been used for more than 6000 years, but the term was only recently coined.
Fragrant oils such as myrrh, frankincense, cinnamon, cedarwood & juniper berry are all known for their use in Biblical times.
China has a medical book, dated around 2,700 BC, that contains over 300 different aromatic herbs & how they were used as cures.
Hypocrites (400 BC), Father of Medicine, believed that a daily aromatic bath & scented massage promoted good health.
It was in the early 1900’s when a French chemist accidentally burnt his hand & immediately immersed it in the nearest liquid.  That liquid happened to be lavender oil.  His  injured hand healed quickly, without infection or visible scar.  Since then there  have been numerous studies conducted on the healing powers of essential oils.
Now you may be wondering just what is an “essential oil”?  It’s the essence of the plant’s fragrance.  The oil is produced then held in specialized glands of the aromatic plants.  It is usually extracted by distillation or expression (cold-pressed). 
There are other methods, but these are generally considered to be the best methods & the purest oils.
Essential oils are divided into two groups.  Some oils consider “hot” or “inflammation”.  These are generally the spices.  Cinnamon, ginger, oregano, clove, even peppermint need carrier oils for any kind of topical use.
Others are considered “cold” or “hypo-function” oils. Flowers make up this group.  Lavender, gardenia, plumeria & lotus are some examples.  These aromas usually calm & soothe.  Usually anti-inflammatory, excellent when mixed with Epsom Salt & dissolved in a warm bath.
Other terms I will be using for these two groups comes from Ayurveda & Chinese medicines.  The hot oils are consider of the sun or agni.  The cool oils are of the moon or soma.  We’ll talk more about that at another time.
Please join me next week for the next installment on Aromatherapy.
Be Blessed to our next meeting.  LB