By Renae Leith-Manos
The use of essential oils to improve our health has been practised for centuries, and as our lives get busier and more stressful, they provide a natural, healthy way to stay on top. The best thing is you can bring essential oils into your work place or home very easily.
Ancient civilisations in Greece, Spain, Egypt and even our own Aborigines used aromatic herbs as part of folk medicine to treat a range of medical problems. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant derivatives or extracts, so they are 100% natural. These days essential are even used in hospitals alongside traditional medicine to help people physically and psychologically.
“Essential oils are enormously powerful to give people a lift or conversely to relax them,” aromatherapist teacher and practitioner Ms Vara Miranda explains. “Oils can effect human behaviour, balance moods and emotions and help humans with tasks as well as balance the relationship between their mind and body. The medical profession in Australia has acknowledged their powers too, as many hospitals use essential oils in labour wards, and most private health funds give rebates for going to see aromatherapists.”
Oils can effect human behaviour, balance moods and emotions and help humans with tasks as well as balance the relationship between their mind and body
“Scientific studies have already been done on the effect of essential oils on the body, and when rosemary, basil, and black pepper are inhaled, there is an increase in beta waves, which is in increase in mental alertness,” Ms Miranda says.Essential oils probably already play a part in your life, without you even realising it. From the sports field to the teas we drink, the powers of natural ingredients are all around us. ”On the sports field, menthol is used on aching muscles, which is actually derived from peppermint oil, “ Ms Miranda says.
“We all eat herbs like sage, parsley and basil which contain essential oils, and fresh flowers, teas and even candles often contain essential oils.”
Having studied the benefits of essential oils for over 25 years, Ms Miranda understands the power of every essential oil, and here she explains the most popular ones:
Lemon – Lemon is highly antiseptic and helps uplift and clear people’s minds. It is great to use as a performance enhancer, in fact the Japanese have used a few drops in air conditioning systems since the late 80s to help keep staff awake and alert.
Lime and Orange – Any citrus is excellent for cellulite, and a glass of water in the morning with a squeeze of pure lemon or lime juice flushes the system. Citrus is not recommended in facial products as it is too astringent.
Lavender-Helps relax, and de-stress, and it is a sedative. It works on the lymphatic systems and in skin products, helps balance oily skin and helps you relax.
Sandalwood – Used a lot in meditation, it calms the mind and spirit. It is anti-inflammatory and is great in winter as it can help bronchial infections. In skin products it is suitable for all skin types.
Rose – Nourishes and moisturises the skin, and has a beautiful natural perfume as opposed to the synthetic ones we have around us most of the time these days.
Neroli – This feminine, romantic scent will help lift you out of depressed or stressed feelings. It is very good in skin products, suitable for all skin types
Jasmine – This oil helps heighten sensual awareness. It is reputedly an aphrodisiac and encourages self-confidence and optimism.
Geranium – Balances the sebum, in the skin, and is excellent for combination skin.
Frankincense – Very good for all skin types, especially irritated or combination skin. It helps calm and relax you.
The power of these oils is more than simply folklore. Clinical trials and research is being conducted regularly to test the power of each oil.
– For massages, essential oils need to be mixed with carrier oils because they are too concentrated on their own and can causes rashes or burning on the skin. Carrier oils include sweet almond, apricot or hazelnut oils.
– Vapourisers can be purchased at department stores and usually have a candle at the bottom, and you put your essential oil in the top mixed with water so the vapour is not too strong. These work very well in small spaces.
– Many candles are infused with essential oils, check the labels.
– A few drops in your washing can bring the natural oils into your home, especially when washing sheets and towels.
– Tea Tree Oil or lavender can be applied directly to the pulse points, but others need to be diluted first as they are too strong.
– A few drops on a cold light bulb really fill the room when the light bulb is turned on and heats up.
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