Posts Tagged ‘aromatherapy headache’

Making Scents – Instant Aromatherapy

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Homemade AromatherapyAromatherapy: the science of smells. It’s a word that’s become as common in spa vernacular as “sauna” or “facial.” But what does it really mean? And more importantly, how can you use it to attain instant relaxation?

While I consider closing my eyes and breathing in the intoxicating smell of maple-syrup-poured-over-a-warm-stack-of-pancakes a form of “aromatherapy,” the art of scents goes far beyond the notion of “smells that we like.” It’s a form of alternative medicine based in the healing and restorative power of essential oils, concentrated liquids extracted from plants, herbs, and flowers that we come in contact with on a daily basis. Basil, lemon, lavender, rose, thyme, cinnamon, citronella … the list is endless, but oh so familiar. Which actually makes everything about aromatherapy all the more appealing and all the more instant: there’s almost no plant, no herb, no essential oil whose primary ingredient you haven’t heard of. Who knew that aromatherapy could be as easy as a trip to your pantry?

Before leaving a world of non-scents for an olfactory nirvana, first figure out what type of oil or fragrant element you want to use (different scents for different gents). Every aroma has a unique and fantastic effect, from alleviating stress and fatigue, to relieving pain and elevating your mood. A quick cheat sheet:

  • For headaches: Basil, Lavender
  • As an aphrodisiac: Jasmine, Rose, Sandalwood
  • De-stressors: Lemon oil, Peppermint, Chamomile

With aromatherapy, the options are about as limitless as the fragrances! Purists say that using essential oils is the only true form of aromatherapy, but don’t limit yourself. Candles, incense, bath beads, infused lotions – even grated citrus zest in a bowl – can be part of your aromatherapy experience. Want real instant aromatherapy? Place sachets of herbs or flower petals in the pockets of your bathrobe, or dip cotton balls in your favorite herbal tea and leave them (inconspicuously!) around your bathroom. Doesn’t get much more instant than that.

Essential oils sound more intimidating, but I promise, they’re just as quick and easy to use. My favorite application is to infuse fragrance into my towels with essential oils; there’s nothing better than stepping out of a steam shower and wrapping yourself in terry cloth towel kissed with a hint of lavender. Before you dry your next load of laundry, put some drops of your favorite essential oil on a small washcloth and toss it in with your wet towels for instant aromatherapy! Or add a few drops to water in a spray bottle for the quickest air freshener you’ll ever find. And any unscented candle can become instant aromatherapy when you add a few drops to the hot wax as the candle burns. Just remember: with essential oils, less is more. You’re looking for the essence of rose, not a garden growing out of your steam shower.

Aromatherapy – it’s a big word for a really simple notion: fragrances with restorative powers. And in your home spa, there’s no easier way to make scents.


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