Aromatherapy 101: An Introduction to Essential Oils , 0 Comments

The strongest sense tied to memory is that of smell. This is a fact that I have come to exploit in my health-centric lifestyle, by indulging in scents that have proven effects on the body. While in the winter I favor long, hot baths infused with essential oils, summertime requires a different kind of pampering. I have found that the easiest ways to utilize aromatherapy in the warmer months is by  either mixing my own massage & body oils, or creating custom blends for my candle diffuser (which I light during meditation and stretching sessions). Different people have different needs and varying preferences when it comes to aromatherapy, but becoming accustomed with some of the more popular essential oils is a good step in discovering your personal inclinations in this area of DIY therapeutics. I recommend first reading our articles to discover which oils will best suit your needs (are you looking to relax, to balance yourself, to invigorate, to heal, etc.), and then stopping by your local health food store to sniff at their selection of oils. Happy hunting!

  • Lavender - arguably the most popular, and well-known, essential oil, so much used because of its relaxing and therapeutic effect on the body. It is soothing to many of the body's systems, including but not limited to the circulatory, digestive, muscular, nervous, and respiratory. Not to be confused with lavandin (which is a lavender hybrid, and much more camphoraceous), it is generally acknowledged that the best lavender is grown in the mountainous regions of Provence, France. 
  • Peppermint - a scent that is familiar to most, it is cooling and refreshing. Very effective in allaying digestive woes, problems with the head (sinusitis, headaches, bad breath), and menstrual pains. The oil is distilled from the leaves and flowering tops, and English peppermint is reputed to be the best.
  • Ylang-ylang - popular in the perfumery business, it is often called 'the poor man's jasmine.' A relaxing scent, it is especially well-suited to treating disorders of the nervous system (depression, insomnia, tension), and has been said to aid in lowering high blood pressure. It mixes well with most oils, but is most frequently paired with sandalwood.
  • Frankincense - relaxing and rejuvenating, it was much prized in Biblical times (hence the offering to baby Jesus). It is excellent for treating conditions of the respiratory system, particularly those associated with inflammation of the mucous membranes. Distilled from a resin that is harvested from the bark of trees that grow in East Africa, the ancient Egyptians used it to make rejuvenating face masks.
  • Camphor - warming and stimulating, this oil is perfect for treating muscular issues, such as aches and pains, rheumatism, and sprains. It is also reputed to soothe nervous system issues like hysteria and shock, and improve circulation. It comes from trees which grow naturally in China and Japan, but are now cultivated in Sri Lanka and California as well. 

As these are just a few of the essential oils, you'll have to check back with us for our up-coming, in-depth articles. For now, I will leave you with 3 of my favorite aromatherapy combinations. 

  1. Ylang-ylang and clary sage
  2. Peppermint, bergamot, and mandarin
  3. Lavender, chamomile, and benzoin

- Maria Vasylivna