*Inhale* it’s Aromatherapy Awareness Week
Although we really are at risk of stating the obvious, aromatherapy oils, or essential oils, smell incredible. While simply smelling something might not seem to have much of an upside, our sense of smell and the linkages with the rest of our brain, nervous system and even other parts of the body are quite incredible.
Smells, specifically aromatherapy smells which come from essential oils that are burned in an oil burner, released into the air or placed (if skin-friendly) on key trigger and pulse points around our body, can release good chemicals and physical responses which help reduce stress, improve sleep and calm down.
Some essential oils such as tea tree, cedarwood, lavender and eucalyptus even have antiseptic qualities (and get rid of unwanted bugs such as moths). Essential oils are rooted (sorry we couldn’t resist) in the natural world - the plants, herbs, flowers and other lovely things that essential oils are derived from can help us feel good, naturally.
While not all aromatherapy or essential oils come from plants, they still have their merits, and incorporating essential oils into our lives is not only very on trend, it’s worthwhile too. Lots of yogis use aromatherapy or essential oils to bring focus and clarity to their practice when they first step onto the mat, or create the right conditions for a savasana. The transition of the aroma in the air allows the yogi or yoga class goers to move through the different phases of the yoga class and use the change in smell and atmosphere to adjust their mental and physical states.
To make the most out of essential oils, it can help to know what to use and when. Our aromatherapy ‘how to’ below is perfect for participating in Aromatherapy Awareness Week and a great step into a more relaxed and lovely-smelling wellbeing routine. Go on, breathe it all in…
When feeling down, worried, anxious or tired, essential oils can be a real tonic. Neroli, orange, rose, jasmine, marjoram, ylang ylang, pine, rosemary, cloves and lavender are our go-to when feeling low or overwhelmed. There are various ways to introduce these little life savers into our day, but we like to use a burner or drop a few drops onto a wet cotton pad which we wave in front of our face. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Citrusy oils such as grapefruit, lemon, bay laurel, geranium, basil, black pepper and bergamot can make us feel peppy and revitalised. Skin-safe peppermint on acupressure points and lemongrass roller balls can provide a pick-me-up when feeling sluggish and provide a refresh; it’s the aromatherapy equivalent of cold water on the face.
Rosemary, chamomile, tea tree, eucalyptus, juniper and cedarwood are said to have antibacterial properties but can also also help with pain, tension and swelling.
Arnica is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties and can really help with bruising. Ginger is just as celebrated for its warming and nausea-reducing properties (it can be ingested provided it’s food-grade ginger or included in food stuffs such as ginger tea, ginger beer, ginger sweets, or crystallised ginger).
Perfect for a yoga practice
Sage is great for cleansing the third eye and bring our bodies and minds to a place of alertness but acceptance, while removing negativity; follow this with palo santo, patchouli, frankincense or sandalwood for a savasana. These heady, smoky and soporific scents which make the air heavy can help us to relax. They also work very well in a bath after a class.