Ayurveda is really healing through our 5 senses, we can use color, taste, touch, scent, and sound to bring our bodies into balance every day. It is just a matter of knowing the different ways smells, colors, foods, oils etc affect us so we can make informed decisions about what we want to choose.
Today I want to focus on smell.
This is one of our most powerful senses because it is directly linked to our brain.
Smell has been used as a healing agent for everything from dementia to head colds. It is just knowing what to pick!
Often when we talk about aromatherapy we immediately think of essential oils. While they are important, and I will write about them, I want us to broaden our perspective first.
Aromatherapy is everything we smell and how it affects us.
This is everything from the sweaty locker room, to the spices we cook with, to the flowers we smell. Be specific about all of our activities and their scents is a way of incorporating aromatherapy into our daily lives.
What actually are essential oils?
Essential oils are powerful plant medicine. (not perfume!) each bottle is a highly concentrated amount of the plant. It is important to be careful and knowledgeable about how we use them! Other than simply smelling them, we can use them in the air (diffuser) and on our bodies in diluted forms. I’ll give you some recipes at the end to try at home!
What scents do what?
To dip your pinky toe in the world of aromatherapy I like to give 4 general categories of scents and how they affect us. This is a super broad brush stroke, but a nice way to start thinking about how to choose certain scents to curate your day.
1. Floral - calming & soothing, literally for our skin and for our mind. Florals are often used in skin care products and brought into our homes as it gets hot out (when we are most irritated.)
2. Citrus - positive & enlivening. Think about cutting open an orange. This is a super fresh, bright scent that helps bring our mind into a better, more present place.
3. Minty - the smell is invigorating, helps to wake up our brain and catalyzes movement. Mint also helps soothe headaches, clear head colds and softens our muscles.
4. Earthy - grounding & warming, think of going for a hike, the smells associated with the outdoors helps clear our mind and bring focus. Earthy spices (thyme, rosemary, allspice, cinnamon) literally warm up the inside of our bodies. It is no wonder we start to use them more as it becomes colder outside.
Now for some recipes!
Body & Hair Oil - use any cold pressed oil (avocado, jojoba, and grapeseed are good options) and a few drops of essential oil - 3 drops of each, in a 4oz glass jar of base oil
Bug Spray - ½ witch hazel, ½ water, 10 drops of peppermint, 10 drops of tea tree, 5 drops of lavender, 5 drops of rose geranium in a 12 oz spray bottle
Multi Purpose Cleaner - ½ alcohol or white vinegar, ½ water, 5 drops of any essential oil (I love eucalyptus or lavendar)
Every essential oil and every plant has a ton of healing properties. If you have an interest or affinity for one, in particular, I encourage you to look up more about it and discover all its’ capabilities.
Special shout out to my class at Philadelphia Works for their excitement about aromatherapy and desire for this blog!