Monthly Theme: Sensing
This week’s word is Aroma
Fond memories are often enveloped by aroma. Grandma's apple pie baking in the oven. The sweet scent of our lover's cologne. Our lives are punctuated by the smells that surround us. The brewing pot of coffee first thing in the morning wakes us up and prepares us to face the day. The soft fragrance of shampoo in our child's hair. The pungent stench of diesel fumes from the eighteen wheelers on the highway.
On those days when nothing stops we can often overlook the aromas of our lives. We are zeroed in on the tasks at hand. Do this, go there, talk to this or that person. We find it a challenge to slow down and smell the proverbial roses along the path of our life. By embracing several of the wellness practices we have already discussed - Awareness, Self-Compassion, Breathing, and Release - we can enfold a heightened sensory experience that invites a rhythm of life that is deliberate yet not chaotic. We give our full attention to what is in front of us. We acknowledge it. We appreciate it. We savor it. It may be unpleasant, like the lingering musk of a skunk's spray, but we can come to recognize life in it.
This week notice the smells and aromas around you. Take a deep inhale over your meal before digging in and appreciate the mingling scent of ingredients. Notice the fragrances held in the steam of your morning shower. Stop by the florist department during your next trip to the store and enjoy the perfume of a bouquet or two. Try a lotion or laundry detergent with a new scent. Give yourself permission to slow down long enough to take in the world around you.
Quote of the Week
10 Amazing Benefits Of Aromatherapy by John Staughton (BASc, BFA)
“What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a fascinating alternative medicine that involves the use of volatile plant materials, also known as essential oils that can be aromatically inhaled by patients with a wide variety of health conditions. It is often used to improve mood, change cognitive states, and can also be utilized as a supplemental medicine.
Aromatherapy has been around in some form for thousands of years, but it wasn’t well-known until the 11th century when steam distillation first made it possible to properly extract essential oils from plant materials. Since then, cultures around the world have utilized aromatherapy for a wide range of functions. Perhaps the most common countries to find aromatherapy being practiced would be in India, France, England, and the United States, although it can be found in dozens of other countries as well.
There is more to it than simply using essential oils; aromatherapy can be quite complex, involving carrier oils, absolutes, herbal distillates, vaporizer oils, and phytoncides. These scientific elements would need an article on themselves to describe, so if you are getting involved in aromatherapy treatment, simply ask the administrator of the treatment for literature on various components and applications.
An important element of aromatherapy is synergy, which is the combination of numerous essential oils that can actually create a more powerful effect than the oils would have on their own. This is why blending essential oils is such an important area of study for alternative healers since the range of possibilities is almost endless. However, it is important to always do your consultation with trained aromatherapists, as some essential oils can trigger allergies, and can actually be toxic if mixed improperly. Furthermore, most aromatherapy treatments with essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil of some kind, to make the effects slightly less potent. If you use too strong of a concentration of essential oils in aromatherapy, it can result in a wide range of negative side effects.
While there is an infinite number of combinations that have been tested and used around the world, not all of them would be approved or recommended by normal doctors. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t legitimate or effective. That being said, you should pay close attention to your body and its reaction whenever you use aromatherapy as a therapeutic solution for a medical condition.
Health Benefits of Aromatherapy
The most common health benefits of aromatherapy are explained in greater detail below.
[Note: More information for each of these benefits and a list of suggested essential oils for each are included in the original article. Click the link below to read more.]
Acts as Antidepressant
Increases Energy Levels
Speeds up Healing
Strengthens Immune System
Whatever your condition, and whatever essential oils you choose to use, always consult your doctor before embarking on a new treatment plan. Also, be sure to only acquire essential oils from approved sources and don’t attempt to mix and use oils unless you have been trained as a professional aromatherapist. Happy inhaling!"
Soak in a Tub with Candles
"Water is a necessary part of living. One of the best ways to regain your balance is through relaxing around water. As long as you have a bathtub in your home, you can create a cozy water amosphere. You might think that you don't have enough time to take a long soak in the tub. If you can fit twenty to thirty minutes in your schedule, you can still reap the benefits of a cozy bath without having to use up a lot of your time.
When it comes time to take your bath, be creative with the atmosphere. As the tub fills with water that is as hot as is comfortable for you, sprinkle in your favorite bubble bath, fragranced Epsom salts (which are especially good for helping sore muscles), or baking soda and oils. Scents can help you relax, and there are wide varieties of them on the market. The heat of the water is also soothing to achy muscles and joints, and the steam can help clear your nasal passages. Light a few candles, take a glass of your favorite beverage to sip on, and turn off the bathroom lights. You'll create a cozy glow in the bathroom and around the tub, which makes your time in the water even more relaxing. Make sure you have a washcloth so you can soak it with hot water and then place it on your face. It's a great way to open up your pores.
Using intention during your bath can help you let go of negativity. As you're sitting in the tub, clear your mind of all the excessive chatter, stop thinking about the things you have to do, and instead just imagine your mind getting quieter and quieter. Replace your thoughts with feelings. Feel the water on your skin; its heat absorbing into your muscles. Watch the flickering of the candle flames, let their movements lull you into deeper relaxation. Now, once you're completely at one with the water and the cozy atmosphere you've created, feel the water push all of the negativity that has accumulated within you out through your pores and into the water, where it is stabilized. At the end of your bath, you emerge from the water feeling warm, cozy, and invigorated while the negativity you left behind drains away with the bath water. "
- The Simplicity of Cozy: Hygge, Lagom & The Energy of Everyday Pleasures by Melissa Alvarez
For a deeper dive on aromatherapy...try intentional smelling something! Below is a couple articles with a few suggestions including household items, trees, food, spices, extracts, and essential oils.
11 Scents That Can Do Wonders For Your Well-Being by LIFE magazine
There are many types of essential oils that can reduce anxiety. For some suggestions, visit the website below. The Sources section at the bottom of the article provides additional websites with further information about the benefits of aromatherapy.
Have a GREAT week!