Aromatherapy can get a bad rap: there are those who think it’s some kind of quackery, and others who dismiss it as a pleasant, but ineffective gift basket filler during the holidays. In reality, aromatherapy is an effective, yet subtle way to enhance moods and cure minor ailments (and yes, they smell nice, too).
While the power of fragrances might seem like voodoo to some, the science is simple: you’re breathing in trace amounts of oils and other ingredients that modify your body chemistry. You can, of course, use candles or store-bought sprays, but here are some elementary, homemade ways to feel better and create a more pleasant environment:
Image Courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt/Wikimedia Commons
This is probably the most complicated concoction on the list and it’s still not quite rocket science. Starting with a base of 8 ounces water, add 20 drops of lavender essential oil and another 20 drops of either tangerine or lemon balm oil. You can let it diffuse into the room, but it’s more effective when used as a spray.
If you’re using a previously used spray bottle for any of these, be sure to flush it out thoroughly.
Give your day a little boost by combining ten drops of each of the following oils into two ounces of water: black pepper, cinnamon and orange; then spray.
Bonus tip: to make sprays that last longer, use one ounce of water and one ounce unflavored vodka, then store in a cool place.
For times when you need to be alert and concentrated, some scents are a boost. While there is no precise recipe, experiment with different ratios of these oils:
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For tension in the neck and head, you’ll want to mix 2 drops of both lavender and peppermint essential oils with a teaspoon of almond oil into a small receptacle. Moisten each index finger with the mixture and massage your temples, the ridges above your eyebrows and the bony area behind your ears.
For true serenity, you can use one of either two levels of sleepy scents. You can simply dab a few drops of lavender on the edge of your pillow, or mix the following together and do the same:
• 5 drops clary sage
• 5 drops bergamot
• 2 drops lavender
• 10 drops roman chamomile
Cuts and Scrapes
Aromatherapy can do more than just make you feel better; it can even speed up the healing process of minor wounds. In ½ cup of water, diffuse 5 drops of both lavender and tea tree essential oils. Add just a touch to the bandage before you secure it, and if you haven’t already cleaned the wound, the antiseptic nature of tea tree oil makes this mixture a great topical cleanser as well.
There’s no cure for the cold, but placing the following into a vaporizer or diffuser will take away some of your congestion:
• 5 drops eucalyptus
• 5 drops ravensara
In general, make sure that you don’t go overboard with the doses and avoid direct contact with undiluted oils. With sprays, a good method is to pump a few bursts into the air and then walk through the suspended particles (in the same way you might with perfume). While you should be conservative with the oil-to-water ratios, try experimenting to find aromatherapeutic blends perfectly tailored to you.
– Guest post by Marcela De Vivo
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from California whose writing covers everything on health, including fitness, cooking, meditation and holistic medicine. She loves aromatherapy and often uses various essential oils to improve her mood and overall performance.