If April Showers Bring May Flowers, What Do May Flowers Bring? Aromatherapy, of Course!
May 01, 2016 02:02AM
by Nancy Tegan
Aroma = Scent Therapy = Treatment
When given the opportunity, most of us can’t resist burying our faces in flowering jasmine, roses, lavender or an entire bouquet of flowers to breathe in the fragrance. This is basic aromatherapy, but that pure enjoyment of the scent is only part of the magic.
Aromatherapy, also referred to as Essential Oil Therapy, is the art and science of using naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to promote health in the body, mind and spirit. The French perfumer and chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse coined the term “aromatherapie” in 1937 with the publication of his book by the same name.
Essential oils are highly concentrated and made from distilling or extracting the different parts of plants such as flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind, roots and stems. They have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that, among other benefits, can help reduce stress, alleviate depression and increase energy. Lately, these oils are regaining popularity as natural remedies with no side-effects.
So, how do they work? On a basic level, these oils stimulate nerves in the nose which send impulses to an area of the brain responsible for memories and emotions. Depending on the oil, these effects can be either stimulating or calming. For example, sprinkling a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow before bedtime has a calming effect, while a few drops of peppermint oil massaged on the back of your neck has a stimulating effect. As massage therapists, we often incorporate essential oils into our healing sessions. We mix the oils with another substance such as oil or lotion, then apply them to the skin.
Below is a recipe that I make and share with my massage clients, friends and family. Enjoy!
Lavender Bath Salts
1 cup Epsom Salts
½ cup Sea Salts
2–3 Tbsp Baking Soda
8 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Mix the salts and soda together. Add oil and stir gently. Store in tightly sealed jars, then use about one-third cup for each bath.
If you are interested in learning more about aromatherapy, the East West College of Natural Medicine offers this training as part of the Massage Therapy Program (MM 32746). Nancy Tegan, B.S., MAEd, LMT, NCBTMB, is the Lead Instructor of this program. The East West College of Natural Medicine is located at 3808 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For more information, call 941-355-9080.