Tuesday, March 03, 2009
10 Healing Essential Oils...
How does aromatherapy work?
Aromatherapy sounds like something an 18th-century apothecary might administer, but it’s actually a powerful technique for battling conditions like stress or an upset stomach, as well as for lifting your mood and easing you to sleep. Aromatherapy uses essential oils (liquids distilled from plants, leaves, flowers, seeds and bark), which science shows enter the nervous system when you inhale them, thereby affecting your physical health and emotional state, says Beth Bluth, a North Carolina–based expert on essential oils. While essential oils can be found in most health-food stores, Bluth warns that there are no industry standards, so it can be difficult to know whether you are getting the best and purest product. She recommends the Young Living essential oils brand. Since oils may irritate some people’s skin, place a drop on a small area (like the inside of your bicep) and wait five to 10 minutes. No reaction? You’re good to go. Here, the best aromatherapy oils and methods to heal what ails you.
Rx for: Fatigue
Essential oil: Rosemary
How to: Mix two drops of rosemary with two drops of olive oil (called a “carrier” oil) in the palm of your hand. Using the fingers of your opposite hand, rub the oils in your palm in a clockwise motion (like swirling a glass of wine to open the flavor, this releases the aroma). Close your eyes. Using the index fingers, rub the oil combination in a circular motion onto your temples, along the hairline and at the nape of your neck until it is absorbed. Sit with your eyes closed for three to five minutes, taking deep breaths.
Rx for: Stress
Essential oil: Cedarwood
How to: Place two to four drops in the palm of your hand. Cup your hand over your nose, close your eyes and breathe deeply for two minutes.
Rx for: Anxiety
Essential oil: Ylang-ylang
How to: Combine two to four drops of ylang-ylang with two to four drops of olive oil in the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together, and then rub your palms over your chest and heart center. Breathe for three to five minutes
Rx for: Bad mood
Essential oil: Tangerine
How to: Need a pick-me-up? Combine two to four drops of tangerine oil with two to four drops of olive oil in the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together and massage the oils onto the bottoms of your feet. “When you place essential oil onto the feet — and you can do this with any of them — it enters every cell in the body within 21 minutes,” Bluth says.
Rx for: Headache
Essential oil: Peppermint
How to: Place two to four drops of the oil on the index fingers. Being careful to stay away from the eyes, rub your fingertips along the hairline, forehead, temples and nape of the neck. Take three to five minutes to inhale it with your eyes closed. “Peppermint is a powerful headache remedy because it blocks the pain receptors,” Bluth says.
Rx for: Trouble sleeping
Essential oil: Roman chamomile
How to: Put three drops of the oil on a cotton ball, and place it next to your pillow before you hit the hay. You can also combine two to four drops of the oil with olive oil and rub it on your shoulders, stomach and the bottoms of your feet before bed.
Rx for: Muscle soreness
Essential oil: Basil and peppermint combination
How to: Combine 1/4 cup of Epsom Salt with two drops of basil oil and two drops of peppermint oil. Let it sit for two to five minutes while you prepare a warm bath. Pour the salt and oil combination into the water and take a soothing soak.
Rx for: Sadness
Essential oil: Geranium
How to: Fill a pot with water and bring it to just about boiling on the stove. Either take the pot directly to a table or pour the water into a glass bowl. Place one or two drops of geranium oil into the water. Using a bath towel, cover your head over the bowl with your face at least six inches away from the water, creating a tent effect that traps the aromatic steam. Breathe deeply until the water stops steaming.
Rx for: Trouble relaxing
Essential oil: Lavender
How to: Create a warm compress by placing two to four drops of the oil on a washcloth soaked with warm water. Lie on the ground with your legs up the wall, and drape the washcloth over your forehead. Stay in this position with your eyes closed for three to five minutes.
Rx for: Upset stomach
Essential oil: Ginger
How to: Combine two to four drops of ginger oil with olive oil in the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together, then gently massage your belly. Another technique: Place two to four drops of ginger oil on a warm washcloth. Create a sandwich effect by placing a dry towel over your stomach, the warm washcloth over that, and another dry towel on top. Lie comfortably for three to five minutes.
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