Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Simply Breathe

by Judy

 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. 


Sandra said...

How wonderful, a day at a spa! Aromatherapy is wonderful and I did a course on it sometime ago. My favourite essential oils are lavender and geranium. I also adore Litsea and Petitgrain.

AFishGirl said...

I'm a big rosemary fan. I also like a hand balm that has patchouli and lime in it. All the evergreen scents thrill me but some of the candles in them I find too overpowering except "Thymes Fir."

Anonymous said...

Special spa days are the best...and I love the aromatherapy and use it all the time! I love them all, but I have to say that my favorite is a pillow mist that I use nightly...Camomile and Lavender..can't sleep with it! Thanks for sharing!

Dotti said...

This is a perfect follow up to my Monday post! I've heard and read about aromatherapy, of course, but I've never practiced it. This will have to change! I do have to be cautious, though, as any candle or scent that is too overpowering triggers my husband's asthma. Each evening I have a cuppa chamomile tea. Thanks for the information, Judy! Pretty soon we'll be the most relaxed bunch of ladies ever!

kelly said...

it's amazing to me how something as simple as a lovely scent can induce such a feeling of wellness. thanks for sharing this great info judy!

terriporter said...

I just booked a day at the spa that my youngest son gave me for Christmas and I can't wait! Just walking in the door and smelling all those wonderful aromas is so calming, not to mention the massage that follows! But why wait for a spa day? I should look into ways to bring aromatherapy home. I am allergic to many scents but, for some reason, these types of natural scents never bother me. I have several candles around but never seem to think to light them. That is going to change!

Cathy H. said...

A day at the spa would be wonderful! I haven't tried aromatherapy. Sounds relaxing to me!

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