Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Why you should never fake it - using Aromatherapy in my 30 Day Mind & Body Detox

The more I learn about aromatherapy, the more fascinated and impressed by its efficacy I become.

It's pretty widely accepted common knowledge that aromatherapy can have mood-enhancing effects such as helping you relax or waking you up, hence your zesty citrus morning shower gel or lavender-scented evening bubble bath. The most effective and healthy way to harness the power of aromas such as these is to use organic essential oils rather than synthetic scents, and when you do these powerful essences of plants can have profound effects on our physical state too.

Essential oils are the concentrated essence of plant and protect the plant from disease and infestation as well as attracting bees and butterfiles for pollenation. If you have ever rubbed a mint leaf and smelled the fragrance released then you have experienced the very freshest of essential oils :) This pure concentrated plant essence is very powerful and is also the only truly safe and natural way of fragrancing beauty products, perfumes, room sprays and candles if you want to avoid damaging petrochemicals and "parfum".

When you use essential oils it is important to remember not to apply them directly to the skin - they must be heavily diluted in a cream or in an oil. When you apply creams containing essential oils to your skin the oils then get to work in two ways, absorbing into your bloodstream in seconds and getting to work on reducing inflammation and encouraging healing, lowering blood pressure, reducing depression, boosting immune system and more. They also enter our limbic brain (the part that deals with emotions and memories) through the simple action of breathing in the scent and can trigger memories, relax you, give you more focus or energy and help relax you for deep sleep... just some of the reasons I have incorporated aromatherapy into my Mind & Body detox - it really ticks the boxes of both those categories!

Studies recently conducted have proven that aromatherapy either by inhalation or massage can lower blood pressure and improve sleep quality. In one study, patients undergoing arterial stent insertion who did 10 deep inhalations of a blend of lavender, Roman chamomile and neroli essential oils burning on aromastones before and after the procedure significantly reduced anxiety levels, reduce blood pressure and increased sleep quality.

In a second study, a weekly aromatherapy massage and daily body lotion containing a blend of lavender, marjoram, ylang ylang and neroli essential oils also lowered blood pressure and improved sleep quality. Interestingly, the placebo group also received massage and body lotion but with synthetic fragrance in it and did not get the desired results. As if we needed another reason to go natural and go organic! I use, recommend and sell only Neal's Yard Remedies. They are the only brand I trust to be truly green, clean and organic and to work as well as I want them to. I always think, our products smell lovely naturally so you will smell lovely, naturally...

Here are my top 10 tips for incorporating essential oils into your life:
1. Rub them into your skin via a base oil (such as in an aromatherapy massage) or your skincare products - avoid anything with "parfum" in it!
2. Put a few drops in the bottom of your shower - the warm water will make the scent infuse throughout your shower, or a few drops into your bath or into your bath foam - you'll absorb the oils through the water and inhale them through the steam.
3. Burn some in an aromastone - it's so safe and never overheats so you can even leave it plugged in all night.
4. Put a few drops in your hoover bag and scent the house as you clean.
5. Put a couple of drops on cushion covers and then tumble dry them.
6. Use candles, room sprays and reed diffusers scented only with essential oils to ensure your home not only smells nice, it's good for you too! You can also put little bowls of water or eggcups on your radiators with a few drops in too - this will also reduce the drying effects of the central heating.
7. You can pick up vaporiser bottles or little spray bottles very cheaply - try mixing a few drops with mineral water for a refreshing summer spray (keep it in the fridge for extra freshness).
8. Put a few drops on a hanky and keep it in your handbag to sniff when you need to relax or perk up.
9. Use a roll-on treatment to aid concentration, sleep, a sense of tranquility...
10. Clear your head and nose with a good ol' fashioned inhalation... add 4-6 drops to a bowl of steaming water and lean over the bowl covering your head with a towel. (Do not do this if you have asthma or are claustrophobic).

Don't worry too much about what oils to use; of course it would be ideal to visit a trained aromatherapist if your have a specific complaint to address but if you would just like somewhere to start then try a pre-blended mix to relax, energise, balance or cleanse. Alternatively, have a smell of a few oils and trust your intuition - you will often know the one you need.

My Personal top 5 oils are:
1. Bergamot - uplifting and focuses the mind, whilst relaxing
2. Women's Balance - an absolute must for all women
3. Night Time blend - peaceful and sleepy
4. Ylang Ylang - sensual and an interesting one to burn before bed ;-)
5. Roman chamomile - relaxing and calming

I have started burning bergamot essential oil all day every day! It's just lovely and lemony and comforting. I also love Night Time blend before bed and I often moisturise with Beauty Sleep body butter before bed too; I swear it makes a difference :) So have a go and let me know how you get on.

Mmmm... I can smell you from here! x

A safety note: You should not use essential oils on young children or if you are pregnant without consulting a professional aromatherapist.
Thanks for info in this post go to Neal's Yard Remedies and Natural Health News.

Sarah is an Holistic massage & beauty therapist, owner of Edge of Eden and Senior Consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies. You can call her on 01277 220301, email at sarah@edgeofeden.co.uk or comment below and she’ll get back to you x

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