By Katrina (Kat) Farber, LMT, BCMT
It is an undeniable truth that certain smells bring back some of our most treasured memories, and often make us feel more at peace and relaxed. We often enter a room or a space that brings us into an immediate state of tranquility due to scents in the air. We also attempt to recreate this peacefulness in our own living spaces for everyday life. We all know this feeling; we seek it out, sometimes with more success than others.
Essential oils have a remarkable ability to influence our general state of calm, as well as reduce anxiety. We have begun to increase our awareness of the psychosomatic conditions in life; those conditions that begin mentally, but manifest physically. Yet we continue to deny that mental states, such as chronic stress, are important enough to warrant changes in our behaviors or lifestyles. Sometimes, these changes aren’t immediately possible so we rely on other options, such as creating a dedicated serene space.
Which essential oils we use to define our own space must be determined by each individual. As our sense of smell is also closely tied with our memories, smells that are calming to some can have the opposite effect on another who may have a negative association with it, whether the cause for the negative association is remembered or not.
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) is a commonly used essential oil for creating a serene environment. It is often used in churches and other spiritual places for focused prayer. It is said to assist with rhythmic breathing for meditation and prayer. It is also a sedative.
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is also commonly used for relaxation and anxiety relief. It helps with insomnia and nervous tension. It is a widely used essential oil, but as with many essential oils, there are several different species of plant. It is important to identify that you are purchasing the exact one you desire; in this case, Lavendula angustifolia.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is also a wonderful essential oil for creating a calming space. It is a sedative and antidepressant, with an uplifting effect. Many citrus essential oils provide this uplifting effect with their fresh, clean odors. Most are also antiseptic, therefore providing a cleansing effect in the room which they are being used, most commonly through diffusion.
Please be certain to research any essential oils before using them on yourself, your loved ones, or in your home. Pets and small children are more sensitive to the strength of essential oils. Some essential oils do have contraindications. In addition, the use of essential oils are not a replacement for medical care; please consult a physician or medical health provider.
For more information about the safe use of essential oils, please read this article.
About the Author: Katrina (Kat) Farber, LMT, BCMT
Katrina (Kat) Farber is a licensed and board certified massage therapist, certified manual lymph drainage therapist, and certified aromatherapist; currently working towards her Masters in Public Health. She has focused much of her training and practice to orthopedic and oncology care. She operates a wellness center in Memphis, Tennessee and hopes to expand the field through practice and research.
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