and the Mind-Body Connection
beings gather information with the privilege of our five senses and learn to
navigate the world around us with the benefit of sight, sound, taste, touch,
and smell. Our senses, rooted in the physical world, also mitigate the
immaterial world. Phenomenon that's less tangible, like memory, can be directly
influenced by aromatherapy. The olfactory system, linked to the olfactory bulb
in the anterior region of the brain, signals the limbic system in the brain
where memory recognizes odor. Aromatherapy effectively taps into our sense of
smell and all of those learned memories we’ve stored throughout our lives as a
way to regulate mood and emotion. If you have childhood memories of baking
Thanksgiving pies with your grandmother, for example, it’s very likely that,
years later, the smell of a fresh-baked apple pie instantly draws that memory
phenomenon occurs our brains release chemicals that relax and calm us. This
direct connection between mind and body is the essence of aromatherapy. Even
more exciting, when aromatherapy is used in conjunction with other healing
arts, such as massage, the healing experience is enhanced.
aromatherapy used in a therapeutic setting?
utilizes natural essential oils to promote psychological and physical
well-being. Essential oils have different properties and convey a myriad of
benefits depending on the specific oils and the ways in which they are blended
and used. People receiving massage often request essential oils because they
add another level of complexity to the healing experience. Essential oils enter
our bodies through the nose and through the skin to promote health and to
restore a sense of balance in our bodies and minds. Some oils have restorative
qualities that help reduce inflammation and pain, while others are thought to
boost our immune systems.
One of the
most valuable aspects of aromatherapy is its accessibility. A hot bath enhanced
with a few drops of lavender oil can provide a calming, therapeutic respite.
The lighter notes of ginger, grapefruit, and peppermint can help relieve
fatigue. The aromas of cypress, basil, and lemon are believed to improve
essential oils come from?
oils are extracted from the flowers, stems, leaves, bark, and roots of plants.
The whole plant is capable of producing oils and this whole plant mirrors how
aromatherapy treats the whole person. Because essential oils are highly
concentrated, they are typically diluted in carrier oils such as jojoba oil,
grape seed oil, or avocado oil. In this form, they can easily be added to
massage oils and skin creams or diffused into the air via candle or incense.
When diluted with water, essential oils can be sprayed into the air in an
aerosol mist. Some essential oils are toxic in pure form and can irritate the
skin, which is why they are best used in small amounts and with the guidance of
a professional. When acquiring essential oils it is best to select high quality
natural oils, steering clear of artificial, chemically produced fragrance oils.
Again, a professional who understands the nuances of essential oils guides and
directs proper use.
practice of aromatherapy is a mixture of art and science. At Rasa Spa, our aromatherapist has hand crafted and hand blended three signature
oils: Shanta, the peace rasa, to inspire calm, deep
relaxation, and internal balance; Shringara, the love
rasa, which is heart-centered and helps connect us to feelings of love,
devotion, and beauty; and Adbuhta, the wonder rasa,
which energizes us by evoking feelings of curiosity, mystery, and expansion.
Each blend combines seven or eight essential oils to meet different needs. Our aromatherapist also works with people to create individual
blends specifically for that person.
can act as a gentle agent of change during times of stress and illness. I urge
you to explore the possibilities for balance and healing offered through
aromatherapy. You may be pleasantly surprised at the impact it can have.
Hogancamp is the co-founder of Rasa Spa, in partnership with Cayuga Medical
Center and Island Health and Fitness. She is a licensed massage therapist and
has taught classes at the Finger Lakes School of Massage. She can be reached at
(607) 273-1740 or at firstname.lastname@example.org