Heinen’s Wellness Consultant, Andrea, shares tips for staying grounded with the help of essential oils.
The vast majority of people feel some level of stress and are seeking a sense of relief. Are you one of them? Aromatherapy is a wonderful option that can support your mind, body and spirit all year round.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy defines aromatherapy as: the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants (referred to as essential oils) to balance, harmonize and promote the health of the body, mind and spirit.
Aromatherapy dates back to ancient Egypt, and for thousands of years, people have used plants and their aromatic qualities to:
- Purify and cleanse the air
- Influence mood
- Bring clarity of mind
- Cleanse the body and spirit
- Relax and bring a sense of calm
- Support meditation
Aromatherapy has also been used for medicinal, culinary and cosmetic applications.
Aromatherapy and Wellbeing
While “joy to the world” and “peace on earth” might be our hope during the winter, life circumstances may not be so harmonious, resulting in extreme stress.
Seasonally, as the weather gets blustery and cold, and you pack on the layers, the shorter days and lack of sunlight can impact your mood as well. At this time, we are now also collectively experiencing multiple additional worldly stressors that bring out additional emotions such as anxiety, insecurity, sadness, depression, fear, frustration and anger.
How do you stay happy, or at the very least, calm, emotionally balanced, and centered?
Open your mind to aromatherapy.
Of all the senses, smell is the most sensitive. When inhaled, natural chemical constituents in a scent can trigger a psychological response, impacting your mental and physical state to create a profound sense of relaxation and wellbeing.
When essential oils are inhaled, they have the ability to bypass the switching system in the brain. They are able to penetrate and travel directly to impact the part of the brain that controls memory, stress levels and hormone balance, thereby creating some very profound psychological (and physiological) influences. Frankincense essential oil is the only substance that is known to have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Applied topically, essential oils can rapidly penetrate cell membranes and enhance cellular function, taking only 20 minutes to fully travel throughout the entire body, which is what makes them so effective.
Essential Oils vs Synthetic Fragrances
Essential oils were used extensively in the food and body care industry, until the development of synthetic fragrances. These fragrances are used in everything from air fresheners, candles, skincare, shampoos and soaps to bath and body products. They are not internalized by the body or brain like essential oils because they are man-made chemicals. Synthetic fragrances do not come from living plants and are not aromatherapy, nor do they offer any therapeutic benefit…even though advertising may lead you to think differently.
True essential oils—which are the distilled, natural fragrance and life-force of the plant—are aromatherapy and can offer many therapeutic benefits. Nature still does it best! These oils can be derived from leaves, bark, tree resins, flowers, fruit (peels), seeds and roots of aromatic plants.
Essential oils are highly concentrated volatile aromatic oils, sometimes 60-100x stronger than using the straight herb. While generally safe, it is always best to educate yourself and do your research so you know how best to use each essential oil specific to its qualities and properties, and any safety issues that it may present. There are precautions for pregnant women and children under 12 as well as some contraindications to be aware of.
The Importance of Using a Carrier Oil
Due to a high evaporation rate and the concentration of essential oils, using a carrier oil is recommended. They help dilute the potency of essential oils and keep it in contact with your skin until it is fully absorbed into the body.
Many carrier oils have therapeutic qualities that should be considered part of the effectiveness of the recipe. The general application is for body massage, applying to a specific area on the body or for a roll-on applicator.
Carrier oils include:
- Apricot seed
- Grape seed
- Liquid coconut oil— Since it is not a penetrating oil, coconut oil is best used for surface skin applications.
- Sweet almond
Dilution Chart for Essential Oils (EO) Applied Topically to the Body
Therapeutic Properties of Essential Oils
The effects of an essential oil can be physical, mental/emotional and/or spiritual.
To ensure their survival, plants create compounds in response to stresses in their environment. This is important because it’s these very compounds, found in many essential oils, which offer immune, antibacterial and antiviral benefits to us humans. That is a physical benefit we can all use…especially during these times!
Heinen’s brand essential oils:
- Bergamot: calming and relaxing, yet uplifting and refreshing; enhances a sense of wellbeing
- Cinnamon: warming, reduces nervousness, good for depression, tonic
- Clove: warm and spicy; good for memory and a strong antiseptic
- Eucalyptus: calms strong emotions; helps with mental clarity and concentration; invigorating; good for the respiratory system
- Frankincense: warming, calming, relaxing and helps to create a sense of peace; helps clear negative thoughts and open the mind
- Pink Grapefruit: citrus, floral and fruity; uplifting and stimulating
- Lavender: very calming and relaxing; supports a sense of wellbeing; good for insomnia
- California Lemon: cleansing, refreshing, uplifting
- Lemongrass: lemony; natural sedative, tonic and revitalizer
- Lime: citrusy and tart; very refreshing, stimulating and invigorating
- Sweet Orange: refreshing and uplifting; brings a sense of peace and joy; helps with nervousness and insomnia
- Peppermint: cooling action on anger; invigorating; stimulating; eases headaches
- Rosemary: stimulant; refreshing; tonic; improves brain function and memory
- Tea Tree: warm, fresh, camphorous; strong antiviral, antiseptic, fungicidal, bacterial; decongestant
- Defense: a respiratory/ immune blend
- Tranquility: a centering blend
- Dream: a relaxing blend
- Uplift: a refreshing blend
Refresh Your Day Room Spray
- 1 4 oz. Zevana brand aromatherapy approved glass spray bottle (sold at Heinen’s)
- 1.5 oz. purified, distilled or spring water
- 1.5 oz. 80 proof grain alcohol (acts as a preservative)
- 50 drops Orange
- 40 drops Lemon
- 25 drops Pink Grapefruit
- 10 drops Bergamot or Lime
- Add all ingredients to a spray bottle and shake before spraying.
Peace and Calm Diffuser Blend
- Purified, distilled or spring water
- 14 drops Lavender
- 5 drops Frankincense
- 1-2 drops Bergamot or Lemongrass
- Add water to indicated mark in the diffuser.
- Add essential oils.
Uplift and Focus Roll-On Blend
- 1 10 ml. Zevana brand aromatherapy roll on bottle (sold at Heinen’s)
- Carrier oil of choice
- 6 drops Lime
- 3 drops Lemon
- 1 drop Rosemary
- Add all ingredients to a roll-on bottle and shake before using.
- Roll across your wrists, temples, base of throat, back of the neck and/or chest. NOTE: when using citrus oils topically, do not expose your skin to strong direct sunlight or UV rays for 48-72 hours.
Natural Branch DIY Reed Diffuser
- 5-8 reeds, twigs or bamboo skewers (untreated, uncolored and unsprayed)
- 4 oz. (or larger) glass bottles with narrow necks
- ¼ cup carrier oil of choice like jojoba or almond oil
- 20 drops Orange
- 10 drops Cinnamon
- 8 drops Clove
- 4 drops Lemongrass
- Make sure bottles are clean and dry.
- Place carrier oil in the bottle and then add essential oils and mix well.
- Drop twigs into the bottle opening and let soak 3-4 hours.
- Turn the twigs over every day to let the aroma fill the room and allow the other end to reabsorb the blended oil.
Your local Heinen’s Wellness Consultant can offer assistance in selecting the right diffuser and essential oils to meet your needs. We are here for you, so pay us a visit.