***This Saturday, at Bed-Vyne Brew in Brooklyn, will be my book signing, scented oils release, and wine!***
Got a case of the winter blues? A lot of people get sad this time of year — the days are short and dark, it’s cold and dreary and we spend most of our time shut away indoors. You’re listless, don’t have much enthusiasm and generally just feel blah.
If you’re also experiencing changes in your eating or sleeping habits, feeling hopeless or worthless or thinking about suicide, you could be suffering from a serious form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In this case, seek medical attention as soon as possible. But if you’re symptoms are less dire and more doldrum-y, you may benefit from aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils and plant extracts to maintain and promote physical, mental and spiritual well-being. According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, the French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse coined the term his 1937 book, “Aromatherapie.”
Inhaling these aromatic essential oils stimulates the sniffer’s olfactory system, which sends a signal to his or her limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions and retrieves learned memories. This signal causes a release of chemicals that can make the subject feel calm and relaxed or alert and stimulated, depending on the scent and the individual’s emotional response to it.
The scientific community has no hard proof that aromatherapy can directly heal you from a physical ailment, but there is ample evidence that it can make you feel good and boost your mood. This study found a link between aromatherapy and mood enhancement, and as William Malarkey, professor of internal medicine and one of the study’s researchers pointed out, “If an individual patient uses these oils and feels better, there’s no way we can prove it doesn’t improve that person’s health.”
Using Aromatherapy to Boost Your Mood
Aromatherapy is practiced by rubbing the essential oil on the skin or inhaling the scent. These oils can also be included in massage oils, lotions and candles. Here’s a guide to get you started:
- As an air freshener. Citrus (particularly lemon) oils are a great way to stimulate the senses and help you feel energized. Add a few drops of the essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water and spray the room a few times.
- In the bath or hot tub. Geranium, lavender and bergamot reduce anxiety and stress. Add 6-8 drops of these to your bath, or add crystal beads and elixirs scented with these oils to your bath or hot tub.
- As you relax. Essential oils of juniper, rosemary, lavender, fennel, carrot, grapefruit, lemon and cedar wood are all said to increase feelings of happiness and well-being. Add a few drops to a warm, wet wash cloth and place it on your forehead as you relax.
- In lotion and massage oil. Add several drops of chamomile, sage or clove oil to your favorite unscented lotion or to jojoba oil.
- In a plain, unscented candle. Light an unscented candle and add a few drops of jasmine, juniper berry, peppermint or ylang ylang oil to the melted wax as it burns.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match your oils. Keep trying combinations and delivery methods until you find the combination that works for you. You can find essential oils at health food stores, alternative/New Age shops and, of course, online.
**I hope to see you all at Bed Vyne, we will also perform sensual massages demos with the new body oils. Share with me your favorite scent!**