Hello Everybody! I am Olivia and as always I am happy that you could join me for another entertaining and informative session on essential oils! Today, we are doing things a bit differently! We won’t talk about treating a health problem with essential oils. Instead, we are going back to the basics!
So, let me ask you this – How many of you feel that aromatherapy and essential oils are synonymous terms? I am sure at least half of you raised your hands for that one. Yes, they are integrally linked like cooking and food, but not the same thing.
That said, I know you will agree with me when I say that if you know to cook well and know everything there is to know about cooking, you can not only whip up delicious meals but also get more from your food. Well, it is the same for aromatherapy and essential oils, which is why we are discussing this form of treatment.
Plato felt that a cure should not be aimed at one part of the body but the whole of you. Modern medicine constantly ignores his stellar advice, and frankly, does not have the capacity to treat more than one problem. But Aromatherapy with its multiple benefits can impact both the mind and the body. So, let us get to know more about it because this will help you to harness the true power of essential oils.
What Is Aromatherapy?
Did I hear you say, “Hey, it says aroma, so it must be something about fragrances”? True that! But, aromatherapy is so much more than just a way to put your olfactory sense to use. In fact, the “aroma” part of that word actually refers to the aromatic compounds/extracts that are used in this treatment modality.
Although today aromatherapy is considered an alternative treatment approach, about 5,000 years ago, it was part of mainstream Greek and Roman medicine. The Indians and the Chinese were using it even before that.
Fast forward to 2018 and you can find various forms of aromatherapy at work in hospices, massage parlors, palliative care centers, yoga studious and homes all across the globe. The ability of aromatherapy to channelize the antimicrobial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of EOs is being used for:
- Pain management
- Treating insomnia
- Alleviating depression, anxiety, nervousness and other psychological issues
- Dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy and other forms of cancer treatment
- Treating skin ailments
- Killing antibiotic resistant bacteria
- Keeping signs of skin aging at bay
- And more…
Aromatherapy in all its myriad forms!
Earlier, I told you folks that aromatherapy is not just about enjoying or using the fragrance of plant extracts, although this does form a part of the treatment approach. Broadly, this treatment is administered in 3 ways:
- Through the nose: This is done either through direct inhalation or by using a device for diffusion. This form of administration works exceptionally well when essential oils are used to help with mental health issues, mood changes, cold, cough and other nasal and pulmonary infections, headaches, for general wellbeing and in palliative care.
- Through the skin: A blend of essential oils is used for massage therapy after the essential oils are diluted using carrier oils or lotion. In rare instances, some essential oils may also be used undiluted on the skin. This form of treatment is used to deal with skin aging, muscle and joint pain, toothache, inflammation, general fatigue, issues with the circulatory and lymphatic systems, sleep disorders, wound healing, allergies and dermal infections.
- Through ingestion: This form of aromatherapy is restricted only to the use of a few essential oils that are considered safe for ingestion. This approach of aromatherapy is used to harness the antioxidant benefits of essential oils, for blood pressure regulation, diabetes, cholesterol, to deal with gastric problems, hormonal imbalance, severe bacterial/viral infection, general adaptogenic effects, to balance the immune system and for detoxification.
- Hybrid: The fourth way is a hybrid approach that uses both the skin and the nose to send the volatile oils into your system; think an essential oil infused bath here. This is one of the most potent aromatherapy techniques for relaxation, pain management and stress relief, not to mention that it also works wonders for your skin.
Can A Mere Fragrance/Aroma Actually Have Such A Dramatic Effect?
The most primitive of the five human senses, your olfactory system (read ability to smell and process aromas/stenches) is directly connected to the brain. As opposed to this, the other senses are connected to the thalamus, which in turn is linked to various brain regions.
Although our sense of smell is certainly not as developed as that of our canine friends, recent research revealed that humans can tell apart one trillion or more unique odors. So, when it comes to differentiating between stimuli, our olfactory abilities take the lead over all our other senses.
But, there is so much more to the power of your sense of smell. When an aromatic molecule acts on an olfactory cell, it literally triggers a chemical reaction/impulse, which travels from the olfactory bulb straight to the cerebral cortex. The olfactory bulb channels these impulses to two areas of the brain:
- The frontal lobe, where the odor is recognized/differentiated
- The limbic system, where the odor impacts memory recall, emotions and behavior.
In other words, what you smell will directly influence how you feel, think and what you recall at that moment. Apart from memory and behavior, the limbic system also controls many vital bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, perspiration and breathing rate.
If that is not enough, the olfactory bulb also has a connection with the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls the endocrine system. From mood to metabolism and from reproduction to growth, the endocrine system with its series of hormone secreting glands controls it all.
After that explanation, I am sure you now understand how and why the mere whiff of a particular perfume brings back the memories of a loved one or the aroma of freshly baked bread makes you feel hungry or why the smell of coffee is often enough to wake you up even before the caffeine in the brew hits you. With aromatherapy, you rally the deep reach of this sense, in your favor.
We are lucky to live in the golden age of aromatherapy!
I can truly say that in the last two decades, essential oils have come of age. Today, you can simply walk into any health food or natural products store and you are likely to find no less than 40 different essential oils on their shelves.
But, it is not the variety as much as the purity of the essential oils available at this time that makes this the golden age of aromatherapy. Although steam distillation is an ancient art/science, today it has been refined to perfection. So, in terms of quality and purity, the essential oils of the day are far better than the products that were available, say 40 years ago. Greater purity means greater therapeutic benefits, and that is exactly what you get from present day essential oils.
Why Do You Need Aromatherapy Today More Than Ever Before?
Because today as a generation, we are more stressed than any of our ancestors. Add to this the constant exposure to pollutants, spending hours upon hours glued to computer and TV screens, the easy availability of sugar, trans-fat and high carb laden foods and beverages, growing dependence on pain killers and the indiscriminate use of antibiotics and it is easy to understand why and how youngsters and otherwise healthy people are succumbing to something as simple and innocuous as the flu.
To cut a long story short, what we have done is put our bodies out of whack, and balance is quintessential for health. When you are sick or stressed, your body and almost all your vital systems get imbalanced, which leads to greater susceptibility to diseases and more stress. Can you see how this vicious cycle plays out? But, aromatherapy can stop the rotation of this sinister wheel of stress and sickness.
- Because aromatherapy impacts your emotions and your mood, it can change the very chemistry of your body and brain.
- Used correctly, this science can boost your immune system, bolstering your body’s ability to defend itself.
- Since many essential oils used in aromatherapy are known to fight off disease causing microorganisms (including antibiotic resistant bacteria), this form of treatment also offers protection to the body from the outside.
- Its ability to relax your body has a direct impact on the secretion of cortisol and adrenalin (the stress hormones). Lower levels of these hormones means regulated heart rate and blood pressure.
The mind impacts the body and the body impacts the mind. This explains why stress has physical manifestations and why prolonged illness causes depression. Aromatherapy works on the mind and the body at once, so it is possible to literally weed out the root cause of many ailments with this form of treatment.
But the proof is and should always be in the pudding. So, if you have never tried aromatherapy or want to take your use of this science one step further, here is information on some essential oils and a few recipes that will help you along:
What Are The Best Essential Oils For Aromatherapy
- For stress, anxiety and depression: Angelica, sweet orange, basil, lavender, eucalyptus, marjoram, patchouli, geranium, clary sage, rose.
- For insomnia: Ylang Ylang, Melissa, angelica, lavender, chamomile, bergamot, valerian, myrtle, juniper berry, may chang, ravensara.
- For alertness and mental clarity: Rosemary, lemon, sweet orange, eucalyptus, peppermint, citronella, amber, lemongrass.
- For mental exhaustion: Basil, helichrysum, peppermint, cajeput, sage, mandarin.
- For memory loss: Rosemary, ginger, bergamot, melissa, lemon, grapefruit, thyme, coriander, neroli, cypress, frankincense.
- For fatigue: Lime, lemon, basil, eucalyptus, peppermint, hemlock, rosemary, fir, thyme, sweet orange, cinnamon, cedarwood, pine, black spruce.
- For tummy troubles: Cumin, peppermint, coriander, fennel, ginger, oregano, star anise, grapefruit, aniseed, nutmeg.
- For antioxidant benefits: Clove, cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, basil, turmeric, clary sage, nutmeg, myrrh, chamomile, rose, coriander, fennel, cedar wood, manuka, marjoram, palmarosa, geranium, bay laurel.
- For antibacterial effects: Peppermint, eucalyptus, thyme, oregano, rosemary, tea tree, melissa, lavender, lemon grass, cinnamon, bergamot, basil.
- For pulmonary issues: Peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, pine, lavender, eucalyptus, myrrh, bergamot, frankincense, cypress, cedar wood.
- For skin aging: Frankincense, rosewood, geranium, cypress, neroli, ylang ylang, lavender, rose, carrot seed, myrrh, jasmine, sandalwood, turmeric.
- For immune boost: lemon, lavender, rosemary, clove, cinnamon, bergamot, chamomile, pine needle, myrrh, sandalwood, oregano, frankincense.
- For pain relief: Clove, wintergreen, eucalyptus, lavender, German chamomile manuka, rosemary, marjoram, clary sage, camphor, sweet marjoram, peppermint.
- For hormonal balance: Anise, licorice, geranium, clary sage, lavender, basil, myrtle, lemon, frankincense, ylang ylang, bergamot.
- For tissue healing: Lavender, geranium, carrot seed, chamomile, helichrysum, frankincense, rosemary, calendula, copaiba, borage, cedar wood, hyssop, neroli, sandalwood, eucalyptus.
- For regulating circulatory and lymphatic systems: Lemon, orange, geranium, fennel, mandarin, rosemary, cinnamon, juniper berry, cypress, frankincense, wintergreen, bay laurel, ginger, eucalyptus, cumin, coriander, black pepper, neroli.
- For anti-inflammatory effects: Clove, sweet marjoram, fennel, turmeric, wintergreen, rosemary, clary sage, yarrow, camphor, blue tansy, ginger, thyme, peppermint, helichrysum, chamomile, vetiver, juniper.
- For sex and libido: rose, jasmine, clary sage, neroli, ylang ylang, sandalwood, cardamom, rosewood, cinnamon, lavender, geranium.
- For hair and scalp health: Lemongrass, peppermint, arnica, chamomile, clary sage, rosemary lavender, cedar, thyme, patchouli, tea tree, vetiver
Recommended Essential Oils for Aromatherapy
Remember you can always grab the L’orpur Organic Kit which has 5 of the most popular essential oils (Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, peppermint, Tea Tree) and you get to keep the carry bag and you also receive an e-book with a ton of recipes.
Top 11 Aromatherapy And Essential Oil Recipes For Healthier And Happier Living!
1. Inhalation for soothing and clearing the lung
Whether it is a cold, stuffy nose, cough or just life’s blues that are getting you down, this inhalation blend will lift you right out of your “gloom and doom” state. You will need:
- A medium large bowl of steaming, hot water
- 2 drops each of ginger, eucalyptus essential oils
- 4 drops peppermint essential oil
Once you have the hot water ready, add the essential oils to it and place your head a couple of inches away from the surface of the water. Cover your head with a towel and keep your eyes closed. Inhale the uplifting and warming steam for about 5 minutes and you will feel your nasal passage and mental fatigue clear up.
2. A blend for when fatigue has you in its grips!
This recipe is for when you are feeling down and out. It will make your spirits soar and instantly put a bounce in your steps. You will need:
- In equal parts, bergamot, melissa (lemon balm) and rosemary essential oils
Mix the essential oils and store in a dark glass bottle or soak the wick of a personal inhaler in the blend and take a few whiffs when you are feeling sluggish and exhausted. The blend can also be used for diffusion or for steam inhalation.
3. Blend to get the heat back in between the sheets
If things have cooled down in the bedroom or if you want to set the mood for a romantic evening, use this libido sparking blend: You will need:
- In equal parts jasmine, rose, sandalwood (optional) ylang ylang essential oils
Mix the essential oils and store in a dark glass bottle. To use, add a few drops of the blend to the diffuser in your bedroom.
4. “Happy you” foot massage blend
Personally, I feel that a tootsie rub can outdo even a full body massage, when it comes to stress relief and general relaxation. So, if the day has been tough and you are in dire need of TLC, try this blend on your feet or have a special somebody treat you to a feet massage with it.
You will need:
- 30 ml carrier oil or unscented lotion of your choice
- 7 drops each of lavender and jasmine essential oils
- 4 drops each of fennel and cypress
Mix the essential oils with the lotion or carrier oil of your choice and store the blend in a dark glass bottle away from direct heat and sunlight. Use as you would any massage oil or lotion but on the soles of the feet.
No time to make up your own concoction, why not try the L’orpur Foot Therapy Gel.
5. Age-proof skin night time serum
This recipe works well for all skin types and can be used in combination with any other skincare product. Use the serum as soon as you hit your thirties to delay signs of skin aging and in your forties to stop age related skin damage in its tracks. You will need:
- 30 ml argan oil (dry skin) or rosehip seed oil (oily skin) or sweet almond oil (combination and normal skin)
- 3 drops carrot seed essential oil
- 4 drops each lavender and geranium essential oil
- 3 drops frankincense and rosewood essential oils
- 2 drops rosemary essential oil
Add the essential oils to a dark glass bottle and top it up with the carrier oil. Roll the bottle in between your palms to mix the lipids. Let the blend mature for about 24 hours and then use it as you would any night time moisturizer or lotion. If you are already using another serum, use the lightest product first and then the richest/thickest. For best results, massage your skin with upward strokes for a few minutes after application.
6. Pain go away blend
Whether it’s a vigorous workout, spring home cleaning or a sudden fall that is making your hurt all over, this blend will make the aches and pains and muscle fatigue vanish in no time at all. You will need:
- 30 ml carrier oil of your choice
- 5 drops each of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil
- 4 drops marjoram and chamomile essential oils
- 2 drops each of birch and wintergreen essential oils
Use a roller ball top bottle for this recipe, so that the blend can directly be applied on the sore areas of the body. Add the essential oils to the dark, glass bottle and top with the carrier oil. Close with the roller ball lid and roll the bottle in between your hands to mix the oils. Apply as you would any liniment or pain-relief balm.
7. Blend to soothe a sore throat
When cough, cold, congestion or too much shouting leave you with a sore and itchy throat, this blend will offer instant relief. You will need:
- A cup of warm water
- A drop each of ginger and peppermint essential oil
- Raw honey (preferably manuka) to taste
Add honey to a cup of warm water and stir. Then, add the essential oils and mix well. Enjoy the soothing beverage while still warm.
An excellent preventative measure for sore throat and gum diseases is to regularly use the all-natural L’orpur Soothing Throat and Gum Spray.
8. Detox blend to keep the liver in top shape
Stress and unhealthy eating can put intense strain on your liver and your body in general. Use this blend to purge the toxins out of your system and give your liver some much needed support.
You will need:
- A glass of warm water
- A drop each of lemon and grapefruit essential oils
- A tsp of raw honey
Add the honey to the warm water, followed by the EOs. Stir till you don’t see the oils floating on top. Enjoy the warming and detoxifying beverage first thing in the morning. Wait for 30 minutes to have anything else after this detox blend.
9. Smoothie to stop free radical damage
Free radicals attack from the inside and the outside and wreak havoc on just about every part of your body. Fortunately, just as you can shield your skin from oxidative stress by using the right blend of essential oils topically, you can give your system an antioxidant boost from the inside. For this, you will need:
- 2 ripe bananas
- ½ apple
- A teaspoon of raw manuka honey
- Clove, cinnamon and nutmeg EOs (mix all three EOs in equal quantities and store in a dark glass bottle and start by using 1 drop of the blend first and work your way up to 3 drops)
- 2 cups milk (dairy or plant based)
- Ice cubes as needed
Combine all the ingredients and whip up a smoothie in your blender. Enjoy the revitalizing drink for breakfast or anytime during the day.
10. Fatigue and pain relief soak blend
Often acute fatigue and muscle pain will cause enough discomfort to chase away sleep. If you have been spending your night’s tossing and turning, enjoy this soothing soak in the evening and you will drift off to dreamland even before you know it. You will need:
- 6-7 drops black spruce essential oil
- 8 drops each of frankincense and lavender essential oils
- A tablespoon of milk
Mix the oils with the milk and add the blend to a bath tub filled with warm water. Soak yourself in it for 20-30 minutes to calm those rankled nerves and enjoy restful and rejuvenating sleep.
11. His and her bath soak blend
Haven’t done anything romantic in a while? Date nights are great but nothing beats soaking together in a bath tub and giving each other relaxing back rubs. Try this bath blend and the romance will continue long after you are out of the tub. You will need:
- 15 drops each of neroli and jasmine, sandalwood essential oils
- 10 drops each of rose wood and cedar wood
- 1 tsp milk
Mix the oils and store them in a dark glass bottle. Use about 10-15 drops of the blend mixed with a teaspoon of milk (any). Add the mixture to your bath along with a few rose petals thrown in for good measure. Enjoy a romantic soak and some leisurely “touch each other” time.
As you can see, aromatherapy can yield amazing results in whatever form it’s used. However, I always tell people to be realistic with their expectations. While essential oil recipes will offer quick results against fatigue and workout related body aches, if you suffer from a chronic joint problem that is causing the pain, you will need to give the oils and aromatherapy some time. There is one option to this – L’orpur Pain Relief Blend which has proven to yield incredible results instantly. Ditto for skin aging, we’ve got you covered with the L’orpur Skincare Range.
On the other hand when it comes to detoxification, the results can only be experienced after months of sustained use because there is really no scale that can be used to measure the beneficial impacts of aromatherapy on your body as a whole.
The one thing to remember is to always practice moderation. Let me simplify this with an example – Would you gulp in 10 antibiotic pills just because you want to kill your infection in one day? I know you would not, so don’t overdo things with EOs either. Stick to the prescribed dilution ratios and you will be just fine. A 1% dilution rate is recommended for young kids and the elderly while the dilution rate for healthy adults can be in the range of 2-5%.
Overall, aromatherapy is a very safe science and extremely beneficial if practiced as recommended. However, some oils don’t work on people who have sensitive skin and you should always exercise extra caution if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay tuned for more on this.
With that, it is time for me to head to another topic. So, until next time, here is wishing all you folks stress-free, pain-free, happy and romance-filled days for years to come!