Ever feel like everything has just turned upside down on you? A great way to de-stress when things get rough is to incorporate some aromatherapy into your life. Aromatherapy is the wonderful use of natural essential oils to treat a wide range of ailments.
Relaxing Essential Oils
One of my favorite ways to use essential oils is to help calm my nerves. Some of the best essential oils to use for that are:
- ylang ylang
- clary sage
Buy individual oils and use them individually or blend them together. You can also pick up some really nice blends, like Aura Cacia Relaxation Essential Oil Blend, which marries sweet orange, tangerine, lemon, bergamot, lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang and sandalwood.
Great places to buy essential oils in San Francisco: Rainbow Grocery (in the Mission) and Whole Foods (in SOMA, Potrero Hill, Noe Valley, the Haight and on Franklin).
The oils I listed can work wonders when incorporated into mists, massage oils, balms or just added directly into a bath. Aura Cacia shares several DIY recipes on their website, including this great one for a calming mist:
Mix the following ingredients into a spray bottle.
- 4 ounces water
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
- 20 drops geranium essential oil
- 20 drops clary sage essential oil
It works best if you shake the bottle each time before you give it a spritz. You can pick up some nice spritzers at health food stores.
A little background on aromatherapy…
The Soul of the Plant
Pure essential oils are the “quintessential life force of aromatic plants, sometimes called the ‘soul’ of the plant,” says aromatherapy expert Tom Havran, who is a product developer for Aura Cacia, a leading aromatherapy company. He says essential oils that are safely diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba, absorb into the fluid surrounding the cells beneath the skin’s surface for a variety of effects including deep cleansing, nourishing, rejuvenating and balancing. And some can improve your mood when diffused into the air.
Why Natural is Better
Havran says there are significant differences between synthetic and natural oils. He says synthetic fragrance oils are blended with aromatic chemicals and are primarily derived from coal tar. They’re usually much cheaper and may smell like something botanical, but they don’t give the same benefits you get from the complex chemical components in a natural essential oil straight from the plant, which contain hundreds of organic constituents, including hormones, vitamins and other natural elements that work on many levels.
Essential oils are highly concentrated A single drop of essential oil is distilled from a whole lot of organic matter. 150 pounds of lavender go into a single pound of lavender essential oil. While it takes 2,000 pounds of rose to make a pound of rose essential oil (that’s why rose oil is so much more expensive than lavender).
(This article originally appeared on Hello Beauty.)