If you've ever wished that you could relax more easily, tame your appetite, or - on a "blah" day - lift your spirits, the solution might be just a sniff away. Studies have shown that certain aromas may help with both physical and emotional woes.
Want to try it for yourself? Many natural food stores, beauty supply stores, and even bed/bath chains and specialty shops feature aromatherapy sections. Although aromatherapy e-retailers abound, "real world" shopping usually is preferable in this case. The reason: you can usually find tester vials to make sure that the scent appeals to you.
Here's what to consider as you venture into the fragrant world of aromatherapy:
Essential oils as well as essential oil blends offer different advantages. Your choice depends on the results that you want. For example, if you want to reduce your appetite, both Jennifer Lopez and Carmen Electra supposedly use vials of grapefruit oil for that purpose. Some say that by inhaling the aroma of grapefruit oil 15 minutes before a meal, you can eat less without suffering from hunger pangs.
However, by blending different oils, an experienced aromatherapist can sometimes concoct a more effective product for a particular purpose, such as reducing nervous tension.
In general, you will want to use a carrier oil. Using undiluted essential oil can cause your skin to become irritated, so diluting it with a carrier oil can allow you to use it with a reduced risk of a reaction. If you have sensitive skin, be sure to test a very tiny patch or your skin (such as on your inner wrist) before applying more extensively. Just as with essential oils, carrier oils vary dramatically, and you may want to try different ones to see which works best for you.
Now that you've acquired some "scentsability," consider experimenting with...
One of the most well-known aromatherapy options for stress relief, lavender has also been shown to help with insomnia, severe headaches, and depression. Tip: for insomnia, try sleeping on a lavender-scented pillow.
If you're hip to the "flower child" era of the 1960s, you'll feel nostalgic when you catch a waft of patchouli. This popular oil can help with the full spectrum of aches and angst, from blemishes to blahs.
If you had a grandmother who loved rose-scented perfumes, she just may have had a very good reason - keep rose on hand to help you cope with PMS or stress.
Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary
Just remember rosemary and clary sage if you have memory problems. Both may help when you "can't remember what you forgot."
If you have an important meeting and are feeling hesitant about it, try magnificent myrrh instead of a mega-muffin to fortify you! Myrrh can help you to focus and feel empowered.
When you're tired and just can't concentrate, basil may be the solution. Reinvigorate your mind and refresh your spirit with basil.