Our sanity is a precious and delicate thing. Before you begin to question my own on the basis of me starting out an article with that sentence, I assure you I’m not one to speak aimlessly for extended periods of time. Unless, of course, you catch me on a regimen of Holy Basil, in which case I make no promises on when I plan to shut up. But I digress. What I’m really talking about is being stress free, which, in our daily routine can be alarmingly difficult to achieve. People are back in school, the holidays are coming up, maybe you’re working a few extra hours every week. At some point, walking that fine line between feeling pretty good to pretty annoyed can easily become challenging.
Sure, you may have heard of all the good stuff to help you deal with the stress monster, like Holy Basil, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, GABA or even a little magnesium to ease that muscle tension. However, we tend to forget about our very own built in system that can conjure soothing worlds out of bottles – our nose.
The practice of using aromatherapy for emotional well-being has been around for centuries. When inhaled, these concentrated extracts of plants and flowers stimulate your brain’s Limbic system, which reacts in maintaining your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory receptors and even hormone balance. The aromatic molecules of these oils send signals to our olfactory nerves, generating feelings of alertness, euphoria, renewal and on the other end serenity, meditation and can even cause us to recall memories.
Whether through inhalation or topical use, there are a variety of ways essential oils can be applied to receive their enlightening benefits, but take caution. Essential oils are potent and, to some degree, caustic. When using essential oils always dilute them. Some great ways to use them – put a few drops into a relaxing bath, blend some into an unscented body lotion, or mix with a carrier oil, like jojoba, and dab it around your neck.
Some of the most notorious scents used for relaxation – Lavender, Patchouli, Chamomile, Sandalwood. Try making your own exciting blend by combining scents. My personal favorite is 3 parts Patchouli to 2 parts Rose Absolute. I like to call it “Midnight in Morocco”. Granted, I have no idea what Morocco smells like, much less at midnight, but it sounds exciting doesn’t it?