Why aromatherapy? True healing is holistic and should take the whole person into consideration. Our bodies and souls are interconnected and wellbeing is the balance between them. I believe scent is the sense that unifies the body and the soul, it is physical yet so elusive and its effects on our entire being are undeniably powerful. Olfaction (sense of smell) in humans is the first sense to develop, and it’s already given to babies inside the mother’s womb. The sense of smell is embedded in the amygdala in our brain, precisely where emotions are born and stored. Healing with scent is a natural approach to wellness, and for the skeptics, research reveals the virtues of aromatherapy beyond any doubt.
How to do it? Most people use essential oils for aromatherapy. Essential oils are the quintessence of a plant or flower captured and concentrated. Since this requires a massive amount of plant matter to produce a tiny amount of oil, they can be expensive and are very strong. The good news is you can practice the art of aromatherapy with OR without essential oils:
*MAKE YOUR OWN FLOWER ESSENCES~pick the freshest flowers possible at a time when they are full of life and their scent is at their peak. Place them in a glass bowl and leave it under the soon (or moon) for at least 3 hours. strain the water and bottle the liquid. you can add some brandy as a preservative.
*SURROUND YOURSELF~cook with them, sleep with them, put them in vases and bowls around your house. There is nothing quite as comforting as the smells of cinnamon wafting throughout the house, or relaxing as a bathtub exuding the scents of roses and lavender. Keep a dish of coffee beans nearby your desk at work to perk you up midday, it’s as effective as drinking it!
*STOP+SMELL THE ROSES!!!~The simplest and purest way to reap the benefits of the flowers is to surround yourself with them in their natural habitat. Taking a moment to sit outside near a flower and smell its essence is medicine. Find or grow an aromatic garden where you can breathe in nature’s medicine anytime.
Some flower essences + their effects: (based on Ada Muir’s Healing Herbs of the Zodiac)
angelica: gives feeling of protection and guidance from spiritual sources
basil: helps balance physicality+spirituality
borage: builds self confidence
chamomile: gives serenity
red clover: imparts self-awareness+self-containment
dandelion: gives energy+balances inner forces
dill: promotes gratitude
echinacea: heals trauma
goldenrod: balances selfhood+social consciousness
lavender: heightens spiritual awareness+sensitivity
nasturtium: radiates warmth
pennyroyal: promotes clarity of thought
rosemary: corrects disconnect between body+soul
st. john’s wort: illuminates consciousness+gives strength
sunflower: gives balanced sense of individuality
violet: elevates spiritual perception
Aromatherapy has received due attention in our society, but to many people it remains a distant, idyllic treatment only attainable at a spa. But I want to point out that it doesn’t just mean going to a fancy spa and inhaling exotic, mysterious vials of oils. Aromatherapy is all around us, if you just seek it out. As Lady Barbara the wise herbalist says, “just Alice-in-Wonderland it.” Happy smelling!