The buds are bursting, crocuses and hyacinth are blooming, butterflies are transforming themselves, all in celebration. Spring is a wonderful time to pause, or at the very least slow down enough to explore, refresh, and renew YOU! In a few simple steps, you can create “rituals” all your own in celebration of this glorious time of year.
As a certified aromatherapy health practitioner, I know the value of aroma and its direct relationship to our brain and nervous system. Our sense of smell is the only sense that has a direct link into the brain. Our olfactory nerve (our “sense of smell” nerve) is directly tapped into the limbic portion of our brain, which is responsible for things such as feelings, perceptions, emotions, learning, and memory. Therefore, our sense of smell has a powerful influence on our moods and behavior, and can even counteract stress and reduce high blood pressure!
Essential oils—non-oily aromatic liquids occurring naturally in various parts of plants, flowers, fruits, woods, and spices—contain the life force of the plant, and have the ability to directly influence our central nervous system, strengthen our immune system, and stimulate our body’s natural healing abilities. Aromatherapy, both an art and a science, utilizes these essential oils to balance, harmonize, and promote the health of body, mind, and spirit. This holistic method of approaching health can be used both actively and preventively.
Just being mindful and adding a few essential oils to your daily rituals will make your bath and beauty routines a meditation on health and wellness! Start by creating rituals with essential oils around breathing, bathing, and beautifying. This is a holistic method of approaching your health and your life, and a way to discover the power of aromatherapy. The only thing you “must” do is make the time for your rituals and buy the best quality essential oils you can find.
- Breathe. Place a drop or two of lavender oil or rose geranium oil on a cotton ball. Sit in a quiet spot, feet flat on the floor, shoulders relaxed, and hands resting on your legs. Take notice of your breath for a moment. Where do you feel your breath? In your throat, chest, or belly? Now take a really full breath and watch it spread throughout your entire body. Imagine each and every cell receiving this beautiful gift of breath. Do this for a minute or two, several times a day. You are designing a ritual that is tailor-made for you!
- Bathe. Make bathing a ritual! Early birds, place two or three drops of peppermint, eucalyptus, or pink grapefruit essential oil onto the shower floor (in a spot not hit hard by shower water). Inhale the divine, refreshing, and awakening aromas. Love a long bath at the end of the day? Need to unwind? Combine one cup (eight ounces) of Epsom salts or pink Himalayan salt with thirty drops of your preferred essential oil. I recommend five to six drops of EACH of the following essential oils: clary sage, patchouli, vetiver, ylang-ylang, and lavender. If you do not have one of the oils listed, or prefer one aroma over another, add a few more drops of the essential oil you prefer to equal thirty TOTAL drops. DO NOT place essential oils directly into bathwater; essential oils and water do not mix, and the salts have many minerals that are beneficial to your body.
- Beautify. Add ten drops of essential oil to two tablespoons (approximately one ounce) unscented body lotion. Inhale as you apply to your body after bathing. Or make your own massage/body oil blending the essential oil into jojoba or sweet almond oil. For all skin types, I recommend either lavender, palmarosa or ylang-ylang alone, or combined (again, ten drops total). These oils are calming, emotionally supportive, and skin beautifying, and have amazing aromas! Breathe deep and reap the benefits.