What memories do you have when you smell a freshly baked apple pie? Or bread, or freshly mowed grass in the summer? Everyone has fond memories of some smells – or bad ones. With those feelings, associated with smells, you can also do a lot of different things. Laying old fears to rest, or recall feelings of relaxation and wellness with a nice scent. That is what aromatherapy is all about.
A short while ago, I found a little bottle of shower oil by Aromatherapy Associates in my Look Fantastic Box. Since I have been reading (and experimenting) into aromatherapy in the past, I thought it would be nice to share some basics (and my experience) on that.
Of course you can always bake a good apple pie and get all happy smelling that wonderful scent of goodness while it’s in the oven. Aromatherapy takes the smells one step further bij using essential oils from herbs, flowers and plants.
Essential oils? Yes! You know, those teeny tiny bottles you can find at Holland & Barrett? Inside is a concentrate made of a whole lot of flowers or plants (I still don’t really understand how you can turn a huge heap of flowers into a tiny bottle of oil). Many people buy them to use in an oil diffuser and spread a lovely, comforting scent in their home.
Pure and essential
The oil in those bottles is (preferably) as pure as possible. That means no added substances and no chemicals. Great! But that does not mean you can freely use it for anything you want. The concentrate can be very strong, so it’s not always suitable for direct use on the skin. Because it’s aromatherapy and not skin care, that’s okay! You can also sprinkle some on your clothes or your pillow, or use a diffuser.
If you want to use it on your skin anyway, as a moisturising oil or massage oil, you can add a few drops of your favourite scent to a neutral plant oil. For this purpose, I often use almond oil, because it has a very neutral scent. It can take other scents very well and pass them on easily.
New agey stuff…. or not?
A lot of people think aromatherapy is a bit new agey. I get that, but it’s also just what you make of it, yourself. If you don’t like to be floating between the chakra’s and mantras or the healing power of chi, just be practical – that’s what I prefer, too!
Just pick a scent that appeals to you, experiment and see what suits you best. Personally, I like to consult a plant- or aromatherapy guide to have an idea of which plant can sort which effect. Most people know the smell of lavender has a calming effect, but what can you use in your workspace if you want to concentrate? Or to relax easily, but not fall asleep? Usually, such a guide is my starting point and I will just go my own way from there.
The fun thing about aromatherapy is that you can do everything your own way. You can use it just for a nice scent in your home, you can use it as a massage oil, to relax and fall asleep or to stay fresh and alert.
I like to experiment with combining scents, myself. If you take something fresh as a base, like lemongrass or rosemary, you can make a lovely combination with something sweeter or heavier, like neroli or jasmin. That way, you can create your own personal scents.
How do you feel about using scents to create a nice or relaxing atmosphere?