Expert's Guide to Aromatic Oils
By Kyle Roderick
Did you know that essential aromatic oils are medically proven to benefit mental awareness, vision, memory, and even other people's perceptions of you? Here's an overview of essential oils and how they can help you.
"Essential oils are the natural by-products of plants and have been proven in various studies to exert uniquely beneficial properties" says Erich Worster, founder and owner of Anakiri, an organic skin and body care line (www.anakiri.com). Lavender, which helps slow down brain waves and promote relaxation, can also help soothe sunburned or irritated skin, minor scalds, and even insect bites. Keep a vial of lavender on top of your desk and sniff your way to stress management; apply lavender to your temples before you go to bed; or spray it in your house. Find it at www.anakiri.com (which contains an extensive dictionary of essential oils), www.aveda.com, or at www.findbliss.com.
"Essential oils that contain unadulterated, 100 percent pure organic botanicals are best for your health and the planet because they are the most natural" counsels Worster. "Oils made from organically grown plants will be free of toxins, pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals that your body was never designed to absorb through the skin" adds Anita Bowen, who leads healing plant workshops at Rancho Tres Estrellas, the onsite organic farm at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico (www.rancholapuerta.com).
Citrus oils such as neroli, lime, and grapefruit are "clarifying, uplifting, and good alternatives to caffeine" says Susan Miller, owner of Bella D'Ora Spa (www.belladoraspa.com) in Carlsbad, California. "Use these to energize your mind and body before driving, working out, or going online. Essential oils are powerful and can irritate some people, so be careful to test a drop on the inside of your elbow before liberally scenting yourself"
Rosewood is a balancing, soothing scent that promotes inner peace, focus, and attention, says Penelope Camacho, spa manager of Elemis at Mohegan Sun (www.mohegansun.com) in Uncasville, Connecticut. "Sprinkle two or three drops in your bath or blend some into some massage oil" she recommends. Given that sandalwood has been used for millennia in sacred and meditative spaces, Camacho suggests using sandalwood "as part of an at-home relaxation or meditation ritual."
"Carry essential oil vials anywhere in your pocket, purse, or car" says Andrea Scott, owner of Skoah Spa (www.skoah.com) in Vancouver, British Columbia. "One vial can last a very long time, so the investment is quite reasonable" says Gaye Rappaport, founder and owner of Kai fragrance (www.kaifragrance.com). Sprinkle a few drops of your favorite oil on your dryer's lint screen to scent your sheets, towels, and clothing. Or dab a few drops on a tissue and pack it in your purse, computer bag, or luggage.