By Julie Gondzar
As a society, I think we tend to underestimate the power of the human senses. We were born and raised in a materialistic and increasingly technological world. These types of advances tend to phase out value of our natural senses. We have computers models to tell us what type of weather is coming. We have GPS to tell us where to go and the easiest path, books to tell us what to eat and pharmaceutical medicines to heal us. We are not forced to think with our bodies anymore. Society has lost the practice of how to use our sense of touch, taste, smell and sight to heal the inner and outer body.
The use of essential oils can help us re-ignite our deepest and most natural senses. Healing our bodies and our minds will allow for more harmony and balance in our daily lives. For many of us, that’s just enough to create a happier and healthier life!
Essential oils are made by extracting the concentrated oils out of a plants leaves, seeds, flowers, bark, roots or blossoms. We’re basically tapping into the plants life-force and reaping the medicinal properties in the form of a pure oil.
Essential Oils Make Your Body & Mind Happy
The power of essential oils is really amazing. Let’s take a look at the facts. Using essential oils through aromatherapy triggers emotional and chemical responses in the brain. Science and medicine tell us that our emotional state directly affects our physical state. Happy and positive feelings release chemicals that increase blood flow and release endorphins. Using essential oils topically allows the medicinal properties of the oils to absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. This can have a healing effect on outer and inner parts of the body.
Our deepest intuitive sense is directly connected to all of our other naturally physical senses. In particular, one could argue that our sense of smell is the most powerful of the senses because of its connection to the limbic system (a network of nerves within the brain, sometimes called the “emotional brain”). This is the very reason our sense of smell triggers memories and often an emotional response. Each human has hundreds of olfactory receptors in nose, which are connected to the limbic system. When essential oils are used for aromatherapy, the unique chemical components in the oils bind to one or more of your olfactory receptors and tells the brain, “This is lavender!” Depending on the oil’s specific properties, there is a specific emotional response. This triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or dopamine. Getting the brain to release these neurotransmitters is the primary effect of aromatherapy to keep our bodies healthy and immune systems happy.
We can also use essential oils topically. Although, never put a pure essential oil directly on the skin. Always blend essential oils with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. By using oils topically, they are absorbed through the pores of the skin and carried into the bloodstream. Many essential oils have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Similar to how we may apply Aloe to a burn, essential oil blends can help heal abrasions on the skin, bruises or other skin aliments. They can also help reduce headaches and depression.
Essential Oils for Spring
Spring is all about light, re-growth and renewal. The air is warm and fresh, and there is a feeling of “lightness” in the atmosphere. Usually, spring essential oils represent a “coming out winter”. Citrus and florals are common oils for this time of year since they energize and uplift.
These oils are perfect for your uplifting your spirits and even assisting in spring cleaning marathons! They are fresh, anti-microbial, energizing, warm and light. Citrus oils are also known for their anti-depressant properties to keep you feeling happy and positive!
- Lemon Oil
- Orange Oil
- Tangerine Oil
- Grapefruit Oil
- Lime Oil
- Bergamot Oil
Room fresheners – This is the best way to use citrus oils in my opinion (since they are not recommended for the skin). Put a few drops in a room diffuser, or in simmering hot water on the stovetop.
Surface cleaners – Add a few drops (I love lemon and bergamot) to a naturally made surface cleaner, or dish soap. The anti-microbial properties of citrus will work to keep your counters clean and fresh. You can even try this with laundry detergent for sheets and towels.
Shower “bomb” – A hot, steamy shower with a few drops of citrus oil will be the perfect aromatherapy treatment to start (or end) your day!
Cautionary Note: Some citrus oils are phototoxic (always check the label). They contain a chemical called furanocoumarin that reacts to ultraviolet light (consistent sunshine). If the oil is applied to the skin (even if diluted), it may cause a rash, burn or the start of blistering. Try to avoid using citrus oils in skin-care products.
The smell of flowers pairs well with spring as we see new growth, bright colors and buds blooming for the first time this year. Floral aromatherapy can help inspire creative thoughts and calm the body and mind, and as a result reduce stress. Lavender and geranium oils are my two favorites in the floral category.
- Lavender Oil
- Chamomile Oil
- Jasmine Oil
- Rose Oil
- Geranium Oil
Dilute and rub on neck or wrists – Lavender is one of the few oils we do not need to dilute before putting on the body. For the rest, dilute and rub on the skin. The aroma and absorption effects will help keep the body and mind in balance. For new and unfamiliar oils, start with only a small amount.
Add to shampoo – Rosemary oil is another one that could be on this list, and a great oil to add to shampoo. Try rose, chamomile or lavender also.
Huge thanks to this months contributor Julie Gondzar for a fabulous article!
I look forward to featuring more amazing guest bloggers like Julie in the future!