by Ann Marie Byrd, PHD
Our lives move at a rapid pace, and each and every one of us has demands on our time and energy on a daily basis. One very simple way to obtain a few precious moments of peace and tranquility—even during the most hectic day—is through the use of aromatherapy.
Reflect back on a happy memory in your life: a day on the beach, cookies baking in the oven, an embrace from someone you love. Do those memories have a certain smell that you associate with that unique moment? Probably. As human beings, smell is indelible, permanently marked on our memory. A musty book might remind us of a day wandering in an antique market; the scent of a lily garners a moment picking flowers for a special celebration; salt water stirs emotions of a first day learning to surf.
Recalling these moments, we know that smell has the power to trigger specific memories and responses—but can it possibly change our moods, perhaps even improve our health?
Aromatherapy, otherwise known as essential oil therapy, is “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process” (NAHA).
Interestingly, aromatherapy has deep cultural and historical roots that can be traced as far back as 2,500 years ago in Egypt, China and India, burning incense and plants, for medicinal health and spiritual cleansing.
In France in 1937, the perfumer and chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, promoted the use of essential oils for physiological ailments in European culture, and the benefits became a trend that eventually emerged in American homeopathic medicine.
Now, in Southern California, a luxurious visit for a massage usually involves a pleasant, popular essential oil such as lavender, eucalyptus, or peppermint. These oils calm the senses and elicit powerful emotional responses.
As a means to alleviate stress and anxiety in your day-to-day life, use essential oils in either a roll-on form for your wrists or neck, or pre-mixed and diffused spray to refresh and rejuvenate your spirit throughout your day. Keep these products nearby in your car or desk so that when you feel the tension rising, you can breathe, spray and relax.
Essential oils are available at your local health food store, and samples are plentiful so you can experiment and explore as to which scent is best for you!
Enjoy in good health!
-Dr. Ann Marie Byrd is the Manager of the Marque Mission Viejo clinic, due to open in July 2016.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.