by Reena Daruwalla, guest writer for Nancy Hayssen.com
We have touched on mood enhancing colors, food, sounds and touch before; our sense of smell can equally as well enhance our mood and be used as therapy to cure ailments. In fact aromatherapy has long been viewed as a very effective treatment for not only physical but also emotional and mental problems such as stress etc.
The history of aromatherapy dates back thousands of years before Christ, when the Egyptians burnt incense in the hope that the smoke would carry their wishes and prayers heavenward. The Kama sutra also talks about the importance of perfume in personal grooming and deodorizing, for instance incense smoke was used to make hair fragrant. Ancient Indians used incense and other perfumes for ritual prayer and making an offering to the Gods.
Aromatherapy is the precise art of using Essential Oils. Flowers, leaves, grass, roots, bark, seeds and fruit rind are used to extract and distill these essential oils, which are very concentrated and powerful. So it is generally advised not to use them undiluted or directly onto the skin. The process of extraction is itself very painstaking and costly. For instance thirty roses yield only a single drop of rose oil.
When aromatherapy is used as massage oil, or added to bathwater, Inhaled molecules of these extracts stimulate the olfactory nerve, sending messages to the brain’s limbic system (the seat of memory, learning, and emotion) that are said to trigger physiological responses (e.g., eucalyptus relieves congestion, lavender promotes relaxation). Aromatherapy is also sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medicine such as when blends of essentials are used in hospitals for sedative purposes.
Our faculty of smell and the use of essential oils can help us overcome insomnia, insect bites, indigestion, anxiety, acne or aches. As for the aiding and abetting us in the bedroom, the sense of smell is very effective since smell can expand your consciousness or arouse erotic sensuality.
Since lavender is my favorite smell I often use it in the diffuser to suffuse the whole house with a beautiful smell. Sandalwood is another favorite of mine, and the smell of the sandalwood incense that my husband burns everyday is wonderful to me.
Aromatherapy has been touted as the alternative therapy of the 21st century. What do you think?