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This is a sample article from the current issue of Infinity, which is available at various locations throughout the Tri-state area.
The Appeal of Aromatherapy
by Dr. Barbara Ut
Love comes in many forms – from romantic love, to the kind-hearted love and adoration of friends and family. And it seems that openly-showing love and affection to one-another is a natural instinct within all of us, although it sometimes gets hidden underneath the barriers of past hurts, obscured by the clouds of low esteem, or perhaps buried below the burdens of daily responsibilities and worries.
In ancient legend, St. Valentine is often credited with uniting kindred spirits, so this seems a perfect time of year to discuss re-opening to the joy that connecting with others can bring.
It is no mystery why Valentine's Day is a busy day of the year for florists. Simply recognizing someone with the gift of flowers can open a pathway to their heart. Flowers can raise one’s spirits or ignite a feeling of romance. Researchers often cite the impact of aromas on the limbic system, the seat of emotions, and the pure scent that fresh flowers emanate can be delightful.
Alas, that glorious scent and beauty of cut flowers can also be fleeting. Fortunately, you can capture and extend the scent and enchantment of flowers using Aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is the use of naturally-extracted aromatic essences from plants, called essential oils. The most common method of obtaining these oils is by steam distillation. Aromatherapy oils, if properly stored (tightly capped and kept away from heat and direct light) can be stored for long periods of time.
After years of studying and working with essential oils, I have found they can offer many possible benefits. Since aromas have the potential of influencing our frame of mind, I present here the emotional properties of a few oils:
There are a wide variety of ways to use aromatherapy essential oils either singly, or in a blend of multiple oils.
The most common methods of using essential oils is via inhalation, such as diffused into the air or simply dropped onto a tissue, or diluted in a carrier or base oil for external use. Essential oils are diluted in carrier or base oils before application to the skin to help ensure safety. Carrier or base oils are usually vegetable, nut or seed oils such as almond, jojoba, grape seed, olive or sunflower oil.
When you wish to show your affection for others, human contact can be very effective. The alchemy of combining a specially-chosen essential oil with gentle touch or massage can generate feelings of genuine tenderness and caring.
Other easy ways to use essential oils include putting a few drops in your bath, or even putting a drop or two on your hairbrush before using.
There are many wonderful local and online stores that sell high-quality, therapeutic grade essential oils. Most aromatherapy companies clearly label their oils as pure, or as 100% derived from the listed plant source. You can also buy oils that are pre-diluted at a lower cost, or you can make your own dilutions. Hydrosols, the fragrant water left over from the distillation of essential oils, are a less concentrated and less-expensive option to 100% essential oils.
Aromatherapy is a natural and beautiful way to indulge yourself and those you care about – enjoy!
PLEASE NOTE: None of the information in this article is intended to constitute medical advice or treatment. Essential oils used in aromatherapy are concentrated oils of plants and therefore, very strong by nature, and some oils can stain. Of course, essential oils can have physical effects as well, and individuals are encouraged to understand the full impact of essential oils prior to using them. Caution is recommended.
About the author: Dr. Barbara is a Doctor of Naturopathy and Certified Aromatherapist, teaching various health & wellness courses at area colleges and nursing schools, including nutrition, integrative/ holistic health, personal wellness, etc. Dr. Barbara also holds seminars and workshops on a variety of additional topics including holistic nutrition, herbology, aromatherapy, flower essences, emotional well-being, etc. For more information, Dr. Barbara’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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