Aromatherapy can act as a powerful self-care tool that can help ignite the senses and enhance our wellbeing. Essential oils each hold unique properties which can benefit our mental and physical health, working to calm the mind, stimulate the senses and reinvigorate the body.
To learn more about aromatherapy's nurturing benefits, we caught up with Pat Princi-Jones, author of A Scented Life: Aromatherapy Reimagined, and aromatherapy specialist and beauty and wellness consultant Mirella Chiodo.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is essential oil therapy. It is the use of essential oils in a variety of applications, including inhalation and massage, to promote physical and emotional wellbeing.
Aromatherapy is a therapy that uses aroma to engage the senses. It engages both the sense of touch and smell and is an essential component of wellness. It is a return to nature that allows us to reset and refresh aspects of our lives through the power of aroma.
Essential oils are the working tools of aromatherapy. They are super strong, concentrated liquids from specific plant parts such as petals, citrus peels, roots, stems, woods, grasses, and resins.
Essential oils have inherent properties. Some are sedating, balancing and relaxing.
What specific fragrances give you a different result?
Essential oils can be grouped into four common fragrance families.
Citrus (Sweet Orange, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin) are usually as vibrant and uplifting as the fruit they come from. They are cleansing, uplifting, joyful and have an unmistakable freshness.
A word of caution: Avoid exposure to sun 12 hours after application to the skin
Herbs (Lemongrass, Peppermint, Rosemary, Clary Sage, Marjoram) tend to be very stimulating and activating. They are used to detox mind and body and can kick start your day. They offer a reviving lift.
A word of caution: Use sparingly on the skin. Check manufacturer’s warnings for pregnancy, infants, and toddlers.
Woods (Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Tea Tree, Cedarwood, Sandalwood) are mostly grounding and are helpful when feeling overwhelmed, flighty, unfocused or unbalanced. They support meditation practice.
Florals (Lavender, Geranium, Neroli, Rose, Ylang Ylang) are said to be harmonizing, nurturing, and balancing. They are beneficial in creating stability and promoting comfort and care. They are renowned for their regulating effect. They can help open the heart chakra.
A word of caution: Check with the manufacturer for pregnancy use
How to use aromatherapy? (Body oils, essential oils, diffusers)
There are 3 main methods that can be incorporated simply and easily to get you started on your aromatic journey.
Remember, essential oils are very potent and therefore should never touch the skin unless otherwise directed.
Diffusing is one of the most popular methods, helping to scent your environment and create a sanctuary for your family and loved ones.
How To: Add a total of 6 drops of mixed oils to the water in your diffuser.
Massage essential oils into the body for many health and wellbeing benefits, from increasing blood flow, and helping muscles unwind and relax, to finding your inner diva and arousing the senses.
How To: Add a total of 6 drops of mixed oils to 12 ml carrier oil and apply gently to the skin.
An aromatic bath is another soothing self-care practice. Soaking in an aromatic bath has amazing benefits — it is relaxing, comforting and therapeutic.
How To: Add 3-6 drops of carefully chosen oils to 1 tbsp of Jojoba and add the mixture to warm bath water before stepping into the bath. Soak for 10-15 minutes.
A word of caution: Do not use Lemongrass or Sweet Orange in the bath
The importance of Aromatherapy
Despite being overlooked in the past, today, people are realizing that the sense of smell is probably one of our most important senses. It is linked directly to the brain via the limbic system, which is responsible for our emotional responses, our autonomic functions, and where memories
reside. This makes aromatherapy an instant mood-shifting and brain-engaging scent.
We assault the senses with so many synthetics including perfume, cleaning products, artificial flavors, and pollution. People are moving away from synthetic aromas and are seeking products that are natural and from mother earth. There is an emphasis on organic botanicals and essential oils are pure plant extracts.
With wellbeing at the front of people’s priorities, we have seen a shift in people’s attitudes to what constitutes natural. They want to discover simple, honest ways of tending to their loved one’s well-being. Rather than focus on the symptoms of a condition, they want to seek the root cause and work on the whole body and mind and emotions with complementary options.
Focussed breathing can shift our mood when we are anxious and stressed.
We don’t take the time to breathe deeply, but expanding our breath and exercising the lungs and airways are more important than ever.
What’s the best blend for a pick-me-up?
- For Emotional pick me up - Geranium, Neroli and Bergamot
- For Focus - Grapefruit, Rosemary, and Peppermint
- To Increase Vitality - Lemongrass, Peppermint and Bergamot
- Following a sleepless night - Peppermint, Lime, Sweet Orange
- Recovery – choose oils that fortify and strengthen the Central Nervous System such as Cedarwood, Eucalyptus and Lemon
- To get the creative juices flowing – Clary sage, Sweet Orange, and Frankincense
Do not attempt self-medication for serious or long-term conditions without consulting a healthcare professional. The information contained herein is general, the recommendations and blends are not prescriptive, and may not be suitable for everyone. A small percentage of people may react differently to certain oils. The use of essential oils is at the consumer's own risk, and we disclaim all responsibility for any adverse reaction caused by inappropriate use or the use of poor-quality essential oils