I recently had the pleasure of spending a whole day at a wellness spa. Much of my day there was spent in a candle lit room with scents of warm vanilla and cinnamon in the air. Soft music playing - barely audible. Thick, cozy robes and slippers warmed by a fire. Vanilla jojoba oil massaged into my tense, tight neck and shoulders. It was a special day, and a very relaxing day, but it is definitely a splurge treat for me and not something that I have either the time for or the money for on a regular basis.
The good news is, since my spa day, I've learned a lot about aromatherapy and how our brains and bodies react to scents, and I want to share some of that knowledge with all of you today. We can all have a day spa right in our own home, and don't you think that is exactly what the Doctor ordered for all of the stress and anxiety many of us are feeling? We can use the mindful breathing techniques that Dotti taught us on Monday while breathing in aromas that have positive effects on our bodies and emotions.
Our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, which is the most primitive part of our brain, and is sometimes called the "seat of emotion." Aromas consist not only of the sensation of the odor, but of the experience and emotions associated with these sensations. What comes to my mind when I read this is the scent of freshly baked bread. It's not just the heavenly aroma of the bread that makes me feel good, it's the memories of home, of my childhood and my grandmother, of comfort and worry-free days.
Enjoying the benefits of aromatherapy at home is quite easy. We can use essential oils, burn scented candles, use scented body washes and lotions, and drink tea with herbs or citrus.
Some of my favorite scents are:
1. Vanilla. Vanilla stimulates the brain to release "happy hormones" and calms the mind.
2. Rosemary. Rosemary is invigorating. It improves memory retention, fights physical exhaustion and mental fatigue.
3. Chamomile. Chamomile is said to help reverse irritability. When it's used in a massage oil, it soothes muscular pain and improves inflamed joints.
4. Lavender. The calming properties of lavender help relaxation and sleep and it can relieve nervous tension.
5. Lemon. Lemon is crisp and uplifting. The lemon scent promotes concentration and clarity.
6. Eucalyptus. The earthy scent of eucalyptus helps give you energy when you're sick or feeling sluggish.
7. Peppermint. Peppermint is an energy booster that invigorates the mind and promotes concentration.
What are your favorite scents? Is there one that brings you a feeling of peace and happiness? Can you find a way to add that scent to your bath? Or burn a scented candle as you read by the fire? Maybe sip a cup of warm tea with rosemary or chamomile? Share with us how you use your favorite scent to improve body and mind.
Aromatherapy has made a world of difference for me in just a few short weeks. I feel more relaxed and ready to take on the day. I hope you can find a scent that brings you relaxation and peace this month.