Stress relief could be right under your nose! Aromatherapy, or the practice of using aromatic compounds like essential oils to enhance physical and emotional well-being, is a popular form of alternative healing that can easily be practiced at home.
Here are several ways to use essential oils:
Vapor Inhalation: Place a few drops of the oil into steaming water. Place a towel over your head and lean over the water to inhale the fragrance.
Infuser: Use a burner or infuser to convert a couple of drops into a delicate aroma that will fill the whole room.
Mist: Add a few drops of the essential oil to four ounces of distilled water for a room spray.
Bath: Draw a bath and add a few drops of the oil for an even more relaxing experience.
Massage: Blend an essential oil with a “carrier oil” or lotion and use it for an aromatic massage.
Compress: Fill a bowl with warm water, add a few drops of the oil and dip a washcloth into the mixture. Wring it out before using as a compress.
Ointment/Salve: Essential oils are highly concentrated, so before you use them directly on your skin, be sure to combine them with an ointment, carrier oil or lotion.
Not sure which oils to use? Just follow your nose! A scent that you don’t find overwhelming is the most important criteria; however the following oils have added benefits:
Jasmine: Enhances mood and reduces anxiety
Lavender: Promotes relaxation and a general sense of well-being
Vetiver: Often referred to as the “oil of tranquility” for its calming properties
Tangerine: Calms the nervous system and relieves stress, fear and sadness
Chamomile: Encourages calm, peace and patience
Grapefruit: Reduces fatigue
Women, Spring 2011