CrossCurrents: The CIIS Blog "Wellness Tips"
Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
This series of posts from an Integrative Health Studies alum provides information about how to get and stay well.
Aromatherapy is a natural way of healing the mind, body, and spirit through smell or fragrance. In many ancient civilizations like Egypt and China, aromatic plants have been used for their therapeutic properties for thousands of years.
Essential oils, used for aromatherapy, are the volatile liquids that are extracted from plants, leaves, seeds, bark, stems, flowers, fruits, and roots.
The use of aromatherapy in holistic medicine has gained popularity in recent year. There are different types of aromatherapy. One type is "Cosmetic": oils contained in products for skin, body, face, and hair. These products are used for cleansing, moisturizing, drying, and toning.
"Therapeutic" aromatherapy is used to help people with a variety of issues. Pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils should be used in this type of aromatherapy, because they embody the regenerating, protective, and immune-strengthening properties of plants.
The essential oils also affect the brain through activation of the olfactory bulb in the limbic system that is responsible for processing emotion, memory, and smell.
Many people use essential oils to:
• Reduce anxiety (Lavender, Lemon, Ylang Ylang, Roman Chamomile)
• Improve mood (Cedarwood, Lemon, Orange, Petitgrain)
• Increase alertness (Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Orange, Rosemary).
While some essential oils can be taken internally, here are 3 ways to apply essential oils externally:
a. Apply 1 to 3 drops on the bottoms of the feet, on the wrists, back of neck, temples, behind the ears, chest, and abdomen. (Avoid the eyes, broken or injured skin.)
b. If using on infants and small children, or massaging a large area, dilute the oils by 15 to 30 percent with fractionated oil (i.e., coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil, for example.).
a. Direct inhalation of the oil to affect moods and emotions. Either hold an opened essential oil vial near your nose, or put 1-2 drops of oil in your hands, cup your hands over your mouth and nose, and inhale.
b. Use a nebulizing diffuser for 15 minutes out of an hour to add a fine mist of the whole oil to the air for inhalation.
Add 3 to 5 drops of essential oil to the bathwater while the tub is filling.
Teresa Visini holds an MA in Integrative Health Studies ('12) from CIIS and certification in Wellness Coaching from CIISBA in Dance from Chapman University. As a pilates, yoga, dance and movement instructor, Teresa uses a variety of methods to enhance people's alignment, movement, and energy flow. She teaches special population groups such as cancer patients, people with Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, special needs, and eating disorders. She is also a Reiki Master/Teacher and has been part of the Stanford Health Care Reiki Program for the past 10 years. www.movingtoheal.com