Aromatherapy: Good for Your Mind and Body
I’ve used aromatherapy for years to relieve stress, give me the energy to get through a 12-hour shift, or just bring a warm, inviting feeling to my home.
So what is aromatherapy? Well, it’s a holistic medical treatment using natural plant extracts, or essential oils, to promote health and well-being. According to an article on Healthline.com, “Aromatherapy uses aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. It enhances both physical and emotional health.”
Aromatherapy works through your sense of smell or skin absorption by using products such as diffusers, lotions, oils, bath salts, and sprays or by adding essential oils to your laundry.
I recommend using a diffuser if you are just starting to use essential oils as some of them do have negative effects if you have certain health conditions or take certain medications when they are absorbed through the skin.
There are several types of diffusers available:
You have necklaces and bracelets, terra cotta diffusers, various types of mist diffusers, oil warmers, and bamboo stick diffusers are the basic types of diffusers out there but you can even use a few cotton balls in a dish if you need to. If you want to add some relaxation and excitement to the bedroom, try mixing 10 drops of lavender oil and 5 drops of ylang-ylang oil into a gallon ziplock of Epsom Salt, then put a half-cup into the washer with your sheets and wash as you normally would.
There are over 100 essential oils available for use in aromatherapy but I’m including this chart of the basic oils to get you started. I’ve always found that a combination of oils works better than a single oil, but everyone is different so you need to find the combination that works best for you. However, I would start with the basics so if you need to de-stress start with lavender, and if you need to get over the mid-day hump at work start with peppermint and then add one or two other oils that have the properties you want and that when combined have a scent you enjoy.
When buying essential oils, look for ones without any additives or synthetic ingredients; this way you know you will be getting a high-quality essential oil. I would suggest going to your local health food store or the herbal shop where they sell only natural bulks herbs, supplements, and essential oils. You can find essential oils online and even at Walmart but remember to check for unwanted ingredients before buying them.
If you decide you want to start using essential oils in your bath or in a lotion or oil, you need to research the oils you want to use so that you know you have the right oils and that you know if there are any risks associated with those oils. Your other option is to find a certified aromatherapist to help guide you on what oils to use and how best to use them, it is very important that you just don’t start experimenting with essential oils without knowing what their properties are and what their risks are because given the right circumstances those risks could be deadly.
However, lavender is one of the safest essential oils you can use so if you want to take a nice relaxing bath add 3-5 drops of lavender oil to 1/2 cup of milk, then add that to your warm bath water and enjoy.