Monday, September 8, 2008

Aromatherapy for relaxation

Make a little space in your day to relax with soothing essential oils away from the stresses and strains of your hectic schedule.

Aromatherapy essential oils have powerful effects on your moods, as the part of the brain that detects smell messages from the nose (olfactory bulbs) is closely linked with your emotional centre in a part of the brain called the limbic system. Oils are also absorbed from the skin into the circulation and can have powerful effects on the body. Even Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine, recommended the use of aromatic essential oils for their relaxing properties.

Some essential oils are so relaxing that they help to promote sleep, especially geranium, juniper, lavender, neroli, lemongrass, sandalwood and ylang ylang. Try sprinkling a few drops of your chosen oil(s) on a cotton-wool pad or hanky and tucking it under your pillow. Alternatively, scent your bedroom with an oil using a burner. However, the oils need to be varied every four or five days to maintain their beneficial effect, as your body and brain start to adapt to them.

Ways to use them effectively
Aromatherapy essential oils may be inhaled, massaged into the skin, added to bath water, or heated in a variety of ways to perfume the atmosphere. Oils that come into contact with skin should always be diluted with a carrier oil (eg, almond, avocado, jojoba, sunflower, wheatgerm oils). Dilution is important, as oils that are too concentrated may have an adverse effect or cause skin irritation.
Where possible, use natural rather than synthetic essential oils, as these have a greater therapeutic benefit. Similarly, 100% pure essential oils are preferable, as they are not mixed with alcohol or other additives.

Essential oils that help to relax the body and mind to relieve stress include:
Chamomile roman
Clary sage
Ylang ylang

When making up a blend, choose oils whose aromas you like and experiment with different quantities of each. If a blend isn't quite to your liking, add more drops of one or more of the oils – or introduce another that you feel is missing. Keep a note of the total number of drops used so that you can ensure it is correctly diluted by adding extra carrier oil. Altogether, every five drops of essential oil should be balanced with 10ml of carrier oil.

Enjoy an aromatic bath
Aromatherapy is wonderfully relaxing when used in the bath. Choose a single favourite sensual oil, or a blend of up to three. Add five drops of essential oil to a tablespoon (30ml) carrier oil (eg almond, avocado) and mix. Draw your bath so that it is comfortably hot, but don't add the aromatic oil mix until the taps are turned off. Close the bathroom door to keep in the vapours and soak for 15–20 minutes, preferably in candlelight.

After cleansing your body, you can also dip a wet sponge in the oil mix and use it to gently massage your whole body before rinsing. Lie back comfortably, and close your eyes. Allow the scent to fill your entire body and imagine it coursing through your veins, bringing relaxation and a renewed sense of energy.

1 comment:

Jose said...

sounds wonderful, thank you for sharing

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