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Create Your Own Relaxing Scents:
Aromatherapy Essential Oils Can Improve Mood


Stress detracts from beauty, causing lines and wrinkles, prematurely graying hair, baggy eyes from insomnia and all sorts of illnesses. If you haven’t already given in to the aromatherapy craze, you may decide to go for it to achieve a little synaptic peace of mind, without the antidepressants (more about antidepressants later). Everything claims to be aromatherapeutic these days: they even invented little chemical plug-ins that are supposed to mask the stinkiness of daily life while promoting restful contemplation. But aromatherapy is based on the science of scent, and permeating your nostrils with a chemical that sort of smells like lavender is not the same as using the real, essential oil.

Using Essential Oils

Essential oils are extracted from plants either by using steam of by dissolving the oils out using solvents, then evaporating the solvents. What’s left behind is the soul of the plant –the essence without the physical form. Romantic, isn’t it!

--Editors Tip ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Stress-Free Mornings By Waking Up to Relaxing Aromatherapy

Wake-up stress freeHow do you feel when you wake to smell bacon frying? Bread baking? Do you like the sounds of birdsong or ocean waves? How about the scent of lavender, to calm or energize your morning and provide the day's first pick-me-up? Natural, soothing sounds can wake you gently instead of an alarm blasting you out of bed. Aromatherapy scents with flowers and herbs, set up the expectation that maybe the world can be a beautiful place—even before your morning coffee.

The way you start your morning tends to color your experiences of the day. There's no law that says your moment of waking should be stressful: don't you get enough stress in the daytime? Try a gradual awakening; soft sounds and a glowing light that grows gradually and a sweet, natural scent. Imagine that: starting your day with an experience that wakes you up-- without freaking you out.

See how you can wake-up stress free and gradually to soothing light, soft sounds and relaxing aromatherapy.

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If you’ve shopped for aromatherapy products before, you’ve probably noticed that most of them are lavender. It’s true that this herb is supposed to have calming and restorative properties, but lavender isn’t the only aromatherapy choice out there, and it’s not for everyone. You can get essential oils for nearly everything, and can experiment with spice, herbs, flowers and woodsy scents to find the things you like best.

Rules of Creating Aromatherapy Blends

The first rule of aromatherapy is to know yourself. The part of the brain responsible for olfaction (sense of smell) is partly surrounded by the part of the brain that handles long-term memory, and is also part of the limbic system, which handles emotion. The central position of your olfactory sense is why when you smell something you smelled as a child, it will often bring a flood of memories and emotions with it. That’s why scent is a highly individual thing: we all have different associations to the smell of roses, to Old Spice aftershave and to baking bread. All this is to say that the smell of sweet orange oil may make one person feel cheery and another unbearably sad. It all depends.

Aroma researchers have found that in general, men like the smell of vanilla and the smell of lavender. That’s no reason to choose either scents as a perfume, though: men are also crazy about the smell of pizza! Most people love the smell of something sweet baking, and one do-it-yourself aromatherapy is to bake a loaf of bread. Other activities that have an aromatherapeutic element include taking a bubble bath, drinking a fragrant wine, walking through a eucalyptus grove, or hanging out in a cedar sauna.

Some years ago, psychology researchers found that piping the smell of the ocean in to the air significantly helped people feel less depressed. (They weren’t sure if it was going to the beach or just the smell of the beach that worked on depression, so they tried it with just the smell, and it worked).

Chooing Aromatherapy Products: Tips and Advice

When you choose aromatherapy products, try to get samples before committing to buy. Go with essential oils over synthetics, but if Aqua Velva reminds you of being a kid, happy and excited to be riding on your Dad’s shoulders, then buy a bottle of aftershave and sprinkle it around the room. Aromatherapy means using what works for you.

If you have allergies or asthma, chemical-based aromatherapy may be fraught with danger. Synthetic scents are derived from chemical compounds, many of which can cause strong allergic reactions such as wheezing, coughing, hives and itching or even nausea and vomiting. Don't fall into the trap of believing that, just because a product claims to be aromatherapy-based, it's automatically good for you. (I remember once reading that the flavoring that makes banana popsicles (the bright yellow ones that don't contain any actual banana products) was the same chemical used to tan leather. )

Many people have allergic reactions to perfectly natural products. I have a friend who is highly allergic to rosemary. His face balloons up, his eyes water and his nose runs if he gets anywhere near the fresh herb. Rosemary is an ancient herb that's been used in shampoos, skin care lotions, perfumes and nearly anything scented, but he can't stand the stuff. If you have allergies, make sure you read the back of any product you're considering before shelling out money for something that may make you sick.

Ideally, aromatherapy will help you feel happier, rejuvenated, stronger and more calm. Some of the scents I love are almond, cedar wood, clover and cucumber. I use peppermint oil in everything, from shampoo to foot cream because I love its clean, sharp fragrance.

Avoid scents that bring back unhappy memories or that make you feel heavy and sleepy (unless you’re using aroma for insomnia). Chamomile is commonly used for a sleep aid, but I prefer eucalyptus, myself because it reminds me of evenings on the cool, northern California coast...



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