Scents can evoke powerful emotions, and essential oils, the concentrated fragrance of a plant or flower, are the best way to infuse your home with a bouquet of healing aromas. Because your sense of smell is connected to the emotional part of your brain, which also creates memories, a whiff of a favorite essential oil can affect your mood and help manage stress, sleeplessness and anxiety.
Nyssa Hanger, owner of Upward Spiral Center for Healing and Transformation in Seminole Heights, where you can purchase the essential oils, has been using them all her life.
“My mom was teaching aromatherapy before I was born, so essential oils were always a part of my life,” she says.
Hanger says that one way to help manage stress with essential oils is by pairing a scent with a massage, meditation or other relaxing activity. Later, you may be able to recreate that feeling of contentment by inhaling the scent with a beautiful oil diffuser.
Medicinally, essential oils can be powerful tools against colds and coughs — try mixing lavender and eucalyptus in olive or coconut oil and rubbing it on your chest. In fact, Hanger says you that you should always dilute any essential oil you are using.
“Unless you are consulting with a physician or a professional aromatherapist, I would caution against taking essential oils orally,” she explains.
When you’re ready to start building your aromatic collection, make sure to look for the botanical or scientific
name, the country of origin, the part of the plant used and the method of extraction — steam distilled, expeller pressed or cold pressed — on the bottle to ensure it’s the real deal. Also check to see if it is a blend or pure. If it is a blend, the label should include what oils are in the mix and the percentage by which it is diluted.
Oils and diffusers aren’t the only olfactory options. Try making a scrub with salt, oil and essential oil to use on your face, body or hands, or put a few drops in unscented lotions or creams to create your own unique perfume. The possibilities are endless.
Interested in learning more? The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy offers workshops and training programs.
Find out more at atlanticinstitute.com.
The Essential Essentials
Lavender – reduces anxiety and emotional stress, improves sleep, restores skin complexion and reduces acne, improves eczema and psoriasis, alleviates headaches
Eucalyptus – decongestant, prevents dandruff, improves allergies and sinus issues, removes odors, air cleanser, kills mold, spot remover, treats respiratory problems
Bergamot – antidepressant, relieves joint and muscle pain, aids digestion, soothes skin irritations, cleans oily skin, kills germs and bacteria, relieves stress, reduces cough
Rosemary – improves memory, soothes digestive issues, relieves muscle aches and pains, benefits hair growth, detoxes liver, lowers stress
Tea Tree – treats acne, soothes dry, flaking skin, kills bad bacteria, relieves skin inflammation, treats toenail fungus and athlete’s foot, kills mold, eliminates body odor