Aromatherapy... It's all in the scent!

You’ve heard the word “aromatherapy.” You’ve seen the candles, oils, soaps, and potpourri. But, do you know what aromatherapy is actually all about?

Aromatherapy is mostly about scents and their relationship to the mind and body. The word literally means “therapy through aroma or scent.” The practice is based on the belief that what we smell impacts how we feel, both emotionally and physically.

In therapeutic aromatherapy, pleasant scented essential oils (extracted from plants) are used to help improve health and well-being. The fragrance can be breathed in directly or used to scent an entire room. The oils can be massaged into the skin or added to bath water. Many aromatherapy enthusiasts credit these oils and their aromas with providing a wide array of benefits — from helping to reduce stress and anxiety to eliminating insomnia and easing pain.

If you’re thinking about trying aromatherapy, the best place to start might be with your own physician. Ask if he or she thinks there are benefits to the practice.

Of course, you could just pick some fresh flowers, light your own candle, or bake some cookies, and then inhale deeply. It might just be enough!

Aromatherapy and essential oil tips…

  • Speak with your doctor. Some essential oils should not be used by people with certain medical conditions. For example, there are some that should be avoided if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer. Your doctor can tell you if an essential oil is safe for you to use.

  • Purchase only high quality oils from reputable sources. The quality of essential oils can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Do a little research before purchasing. Be sure to use only 100 percent pure essential oils, because you want to make sure no harmful additives or fillers have been added. Trustworthy companies list details of the plant from which the essential oil has been derived. Check the country of origin to see if the plant is native to the area.

  • Do not mix eyedroppers. Use a separate glass eyedropper for each bottle of essential oil to keep fragrances potent and to avoid cross contamination.

  • Keep essential oils away from your eyes. If you get oil in your eye, flush it out with large quantities of warm water and immediately seek medical advice.

  • Store safely. Store essential oils in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight and out of the reach of children and pets. Do not store or use around heat sources, especially an open flame or fire.

Using a spray bottle

You can add just a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water to add fragrance to a room. There are many recipes for using essential oils in spray form that can be easily found on the Internet. Always make sure to shake the bottle well before spraying. Avoid spraying fabrics and surfaces in the environment that might stain.

Using a diffuser

An oil diffuser breaks down essential oils and spreads them throughout a room without changing their delicate chemical structure. Make sure the device is in an open area in the room. Keep your diffuser away from windows, direct sunlight, and fans to keep its fragrance lasting longer. Never place it immediately below a surface to avoid damaging whatever is above the diffuser. Also keep diffusers out of the reach of pets and children.

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