by Gaia Reel, Gaia's Light
Posted with Permission

Recently there has been a renewed interest in Aromatherapy, the use of scents to improve health, mood and mental ability. A study at The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, England demonstrated the health benefits of Aromatherapy through the use of aromamassage. Thirty-six patients in the ICU and CCU were given massages, some with aroma oils and others without. The results showed a reduction in heart rate of 91% for the group treated to aromamassage, only 51% in the other massage group receiving unscented oils and only 41% in the control group which received "standard care" treatments.


Smell is one of the most powerful of the senses. Neurologist Dr. Alan Hirsch M.D. the director of the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Foundation in Chicago was quoted as saying,"...Odors that are pleasant induce a positive mood state and strong evidence suggests this positive mood boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure and even prevents colds". Various studies support this. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center found 63% decrease in patient anxiety when the air was scented with Heliotropin-a vanilla-like scent. The Medical Chemical Sciences Center in Philadelphia sited lemon oil as improving a person's sense of health and well being. Green apple scent was found to reduce the severity and duration of headaches in a study done by the American Association for the Study of Headache.


A perfume company did a random survey of customers to find what scents they liked best. Cinnamon rolls was the overwhelming favorite. It brought to mind home, hearth, a special treat, warmth and childhood. (I wonder when cinnamon buns cologne is due out?) There are various scents or combinations that have had direct effects on performance. Floral scents are said to improve math scores and the scent of butterscotch enhanced childrens abilities to memorize word lists.


The newest form of aromatherapy is aromapsychology . How does it work? Each scent has it's own properties( lavender reduces stress, chamomile relieves insomnia etc...) just as each of us has our own personality. A psychological profile of the patient is combined with the properties of the individual fragrances. Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Fragrant Mind determined that the personality types can be classified into nine separate groups. By identifying your personality type (what you actually are not the type you wish to be), she can match you to your most compatible fragrances.


Some researchers now predict that by the year 2010 physicians will be prescribing aromatherapy scents right along with traditional medications in treating ill patients. While this is not news to many natural therapists, it does show the allopathic medical communities willingness to accept the benefits of such natural treatments.


When using essential oils remember to dilute the oil in a carrier oil like olive oil, almond oil, or avocado oil if you plan on using for massage. A few drops on a cotton ball or tissue/handkerchief can provide quick relief from such problems as anxiety or depression. Other popular methods of use are diffusers, and potpourri pots. In a pinch pour a few drops on your light bulbs, before you light them, or a few drops in a bowl of hot water. Adding to bath water can provide a wonderful release from a long day's tensions. Use sparingly. Only a few drops are needed for maximum effect. Too much can cause the opposite effect not to mention be expensive.


Many use different scents for more spiritual or magikal uses. Harnessing the elements of air and fire, aromatherapy in the form of incense can help magikal workings as well as reaching deep meditations. Many good sources for the correspondence of this kind are found in Scott Cunningham's books. Anointing oil is often scented with aromas that embody the characteristics associated with the sabbats, new moon, full moon, or spellwork being done. Altars are often "cleansed" with incense like cypress, myrrh, or frankincense. Cinnamon, bayberry, tangerine, hyssop, and mints are said to draw prosperity to you, while rose, jasmine, coriander, and violet draw love into your life. Pine and rue will reverse negative energies and break hexes.


However you decide to make use of this powerful sense, the fact remains that aromatherapy is a fast growing trend. Many healthfood stores now carry essential oils and various mail order and internet companies are cashing in on this art form. A number of books and videos are available on the subject, but practice and experimentation is the best way to learn what best suits you.

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