Last weekend I took an aromatherapy workshop at my yoga studio because…why not? I’ve always been interested in aromatherapy, but I’ll be the first to admit that my exposure to it has been limited to mass-produced room and pillow sprays (bath & body works lavender spray anyone?), which I know is not the real deal. I think scent is one of the most powerful senses and I have always been more drawn to products that have a natural aroma like lavender, lilac, eucalyptus or tea tree. Even at my yoga studio, just the incense and lotion used during savasana has an immediately calming and relaxing effect on me. I figured if I could learn just a few ways to incorporate the power of scent into my life at home, I would be in heaven.
As it turns out, there is a lot to aromatherapy. We learned about essential oils, how they are created, what to look for when purchasing your essential oils, how to apply them in your life, and most importantly, what the benefits of each oil are. There are so many essential oils that we would have been there all day smelling and learning if we had discovered them all, so our instructor selected the most common and most versatile essential oils to review:
- Lavender: The grandfather of essential oils. Lavender helps relieve headaches, pains, and sleep disorders, works as a mosquito repellent and is antibacterial.
- Lemon: Energizing and uplifting oil that works as an antiseptic and provides relief for colds, flu, acne, and headaches.
- Peppermint: Revitalizing and cooling oil that calms nausea, fever, and muscle pain.
- Eucalyptus: Invigorating and balancing oil that treats asthma, bronchitis, cough, and sinus infection.
- Bergamot: Uplifting and normalizing oil that reduces anxiety, stress and depression.
- Tea Tree: Invigorating oil that treats acne, cold sores, cuts, and colds/flu.
- Rosemary: Clarifying and invigorating oil that provides mental and physical energy and stimulates mental recall.
I’m still digesting everything I learned and am thinking now about how to incorporate these scents into my everyday life. There are many applications for essential oils. I could add them to a bath, use a diffuser, create a room spray, do steam inhalation or in a few select cases, apply the oil topically. I left the class with my own creation of rosemary and eucalyptus and took my instructor’s advice. She suggested putting a few drops into some standing water at the end of my shower (I put the drain cover in as I am wrapping up) and allowing the steam to carry the scent and also the oil to be absorbed through my feet. Because rosemary is an oil that provides mental and physical energy, it’s a great way to start the day.
Do you use essential oils or any form of aromatherapy? Don’t you agree that scent is one of the most powerful senses and can have such a profound effect on our mood, atmosphere and memories?