Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
Can’t Relax? Try Some Common Scents!
Laurel Dewey, Healthy and Natural Journal

Have you ever been so tired that you couldn’t get to sleep? You know the feeling. Your head hits the pillow and the endless tape starts to play. You could lay awake for hours, staring at the ceiling. You could count sheep until dawn. Or, maybe, you could “scent” your way to sleep with pure essential oils.

This age-old trick has been used for thousands of years. Cleopatra loved to sink into an oil-scented bath to calm her nerves after a long day of lounging on the Nile. What was reserved for the elite thousands of years ago, is available to you today via your local natural foods store. Pure essential oils are the steam distilled active “heart” of flowers, roots, barks and fruits. They are, in effect, the concentrated essence of a specific plant. Rub your fingers on the inside rind of an orange or lemon and the resulting aroma is that fruit’s essential oil.

Over the years, researchers have discovered that there are certain scents n the plant world that produce a relaxed state of mind and body. The scientific explanation for this mind/body scent-tual experience has to do with a part of the brain called the “limbic system.” As you breathe in the particular aroma, the scent is stored in the limbic area of the brain which is where we connect that odor to an emotional feeling. For example, one of the most famous essential oils for relaxation is lavender flower. Lavender’s clean, fresh, floral fragrance can trigger an emotional sense of calm and well. Lavender essential oil has been used to calm all ages, from a cranky baby to a nervous adult. Blue Chamomile is a potent essential oil known for it strong aromatic sedative qualities, especially for women and sleeplessness due to menstrual complaints.

Since essential oils are extremely concentrated it only takes a mere drop or two of the liquid to release its healing odor. How does one integrate pure essential oils into their life to gain the most benefit? It can be as simple as sprinkling a cotton ball with one or two drops of essential oil and placing it alongside your pillow. Some aromatherapists suggest scattering two or three drops of an appropriate essential oil right onto the pillow case itself to really get a full sensory experience.

Another popular way to relax with essential oils is to combine 10 to 12 drops into a tablespoon of odorless, light “base oil” (such as apricot kernel oil or grape seed oil which are also available at most natural food stores), and add the mixture to a hot bath. As you soak, the oil’s scent is activated by the hot water. Lavender essential oil works especially well for this purpose. Finally, the aroma can be diffused into the air via a brass or glazed ceramic lamp ring. To do this, place 10 drops of an essential oil such as Lavender into the ring’s reservoir and securely set it upon a cold light bulb that doesn’t exceed 60 watts. Turn on the light and within minutes the soft aroma will be released into the air. Now that you know you can relax naturally, doesn’t it all make scents?

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