The last two years have been nothing but stressful for many. The constant state of uncertainty and feeling of stagnation has left us all feeling hopeless. It is becoming increasingly difficult to stay positive and many are locked up mentally in a perpetual state of contemplation.
It is understandable, considering the grim times we are living through, feeling positive is not an option anymore. However, it is the need of the hour. The Bridge Chronicle is trying to find ways for people to uplift their moods, and also promote positive living because it is the need of the hour.
One such positivity inducing activity is Aromatherapy.
Remember as children, parents or grandparents at home would light incense sticks in the house in the evening time? The smoke and fragrance of the burning stick would fill up the whole house, and suddenly the house would begin to feel fresher and positive.
The science behind aromatherapy goes far behind the burning of incense stick. It dates back almost thousands of years when ancient cultures such as China, India, Egypt incorporated aromatic plants in compositions made for balms and oils. These natural substances were known to be used for medical and religious purposes and were believed to have physical and psychological benefits too.
Around the 19th century, the concept of medical doctors set in and they began using chemical drugs to treat people. But the French and Germans still recognized the role of Natural botanicals in treating illnesses.
What is it?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that engages natural plant extracts to promotes physical and mental health. Aromatherapy also utilises the power of natural essential oils that lead to a kind of healing in the body, mind and spirit. Despite the long history, it is only now that Aromatherapy has gained popularity for its holistic healing capabilities.
How does it help?
Apart from using aromatherapy in massages, there is a simple way to utilise its benefits — through our sense of smell. Our sense of smell is linked to the brain and that is why we react to different scents differently. Understand this by imagining a situation, where if you smell the piping hot chicken soup, you feel hungry. Or when walking next to a garbage can, you automatically are repelled by the smell, whereas scents attract us. The sensory nerves in our nose also recognise smells and link them to good or bad memories, evoking similar emotions.
Aromatherapy though in use as a mood enhancer for a long time, is now being recognised as a science, and is listed on The NHS Directory of Complementary and Alternative Practitioners. It is also widely used alongside conventional medical treatments, especially in psychological or trauma-based treatment.
Which essential oils to use for what
Lavender oil: The scents extracted from the oil of the lavender plant is known to promote calmness and wellness. It is also said to reduce stress and anxiety. The benefits of lavender though discovered long back, clinical dating was first observed when trying to ease the pain through lavender aromatherapy. Diffusing lavender oils in the room can also help you sleep better and feel more at ease. It also helps to clear thoughts.
Tea tree oil: The benefits of tea-tree are already known when it comes to skin, hair and overall health. But did you also know that tea tree oils are excellent for respiratory disorders? Especially considering the times we live in now, using tea tree oil becomes extremely important. It also gives you a sense of purification.
Rosemary oil: Apart from being an Italian herb, rosemary is also an essential oil that can help promote great health benefits. Especially since most of us are working from home, rosemary can be an excellent addition to your room as it helps with increasing focus, brings clarity in thoughts and also promotes ease of breathing.
Tangerine oil: Fruity smells are generally associated with freshness and vibrance. Similarly, tangerine oil also helps boost your mood and bring in a sense of freshness into the room. It also helps in balancing emotions and also releasing tension.
Peppermint oil: Apart from having a refreshing fragrance peppermint is often associated with the winter season which makes people feel comfortable and at home. Apart from that peppermint oils are known for their health benefits that boost athletic performance and also improve conditions related to bowel syndrome. Even inhaling peppermint oils can make you feel calmer in your stomach.
How do I create a therapeutic experience?
The nicest thing about aromatherapy is that like spas and aromatherapy centres, we can also create a therapeutic experience at home. It is just a matter of habit that can change how we experience aromatherapy at home.
Candles are a great way to create a therapeutic environment. especially scented candles can be a very good way to boost your mood and absorb the positivity created by the aroma of the candle. Along with that playing good soothing and calming music can enhance your experience.
Essential oils in baths are also another way to relax and rewind. Here is India we often do not have the luxury of a bathtub. But adding a few drops of essential oils to our bath can help relax and destress.
Using oil diffusers in the room is also another way to engage in aromatherapy. Be it during the day or at night, use oil mixes to create a therapeutic space for you to work. Or during the evenings use oil diffusers to set a tone for healthy sleep by diffusing lavender oil in the room.
Studies show many elements of our moods are related to the smells present in the environment and that can alter our mood from good to bad or vice versa. Aroma has neutralising properties that reduce the number of unwanted ions in the house atmosphere hence keeping you positive.
The subconscious is stimulated by aroma. Positive and creative thinking can be infused by a light mild scent. It relieves stress in the mind, relaxes the muscles, and clears the mind of negativity. It brightens the mood and makes it easier to work and think.
The fragrance also energises the mind's positive emotions. Empathy, appreciation, and humbleness are only a few of the emotions and causes that are boosted by aromatherapy. It relieves tension, restores equilibrium, and activates and refreshes the memory.
Especially as we live through testing times, being peaceful in the mind and body become very important. We must do as much as possible to find peace and comfort at home.