Aromatherapy: Simple Tips for a Healthier You
Sick of winter? Feeling bored or even antsy about a deadline or dental appointment?
Relief could be right under your nose.
"The quickest way to change a mood, state or emotion -- quicker than with any other modality -- is smell," says Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder and neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.
In fact, a study conducted at King's College London found that patients who were exposed to lavender scents while waiting for their dentists reported feeling less anxiety.
To conjure up that feeling of calm and usher spring into your home, try these simple aromatherapy tips:
1. Invest in high-grade essential oils.
Studies show that, besides lavender, apple and cucumber scents also reduce anxiety. On the other hand, citrus aromas like lime and orange boost energy. "Put three to five drops of essential oils in your bath or add a few drops to an eye pillow and inhale," says Charity Greene, director of spa and retail operations at Devil's Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colo. She recommends using concentrated essential oils to avoid allergic reactions from additives.
2. Think beyond the coffee table.
Make aromatherapy a seamless part of your everyday environment: Greene recommends essential oil tablets that fill your shower with soothing or energizing scents as they slowly dissolve, and plug-in diffusers for your car, which provide a mood boost on your morning commute.
3. Wrangle an inexpensive massage.
Cash in those favors your significant other owes you for doing the dishes and ask for an aromatherapy massage. Add a few drops of your favorite scent to a neutral carrier oil, such as sunflower, safflower or grapeseed. Considering you're saving money, using aromatherapy and getting a massage, your stress won't stand a chance.
Gabrielle Gayagoy is a lifestyle editor and book reviewer in New York City. She has written for national publications, including Shape, Self, Seventeen, Women's Health, Weight Watchers and VIVmag, the first all-digital luxury magazine for women.
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