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Have you ever noticed how certain odors will immediately catch your attention and create a reaction? A certain perfume or cologne will cause a person to completely turn around to see who is wearing it. The smell of food causes your mouth to water when you are hungry. Fragrant flowers, even in the grocery store, will draw you to them for a closer sniff. A walk in the woods will have anyone breathing in deeply to enjoy the fragrance of the plants. The smell left behind by a brief rain shower excites people causing them to want to breathe in the clean air. All of these reactions can be attributed to aromatherapy.
For centuries people have consciously and unconsciously used aromatherapy as a means of enhancing moods, creating healing within the body and for relaxation. Around 1000 B.C. the process of distillation of plants, trees and flowers was discovered in Persia signaling a change in the way people viewed aromatherapy. Our sense of smell has created reactions in us since birth. When we smell a fragrance we like, we breathe deeper to take in as much of the fragrance as we can. An unpleasant smell, as well as negative situations or reactions such as stress, fear, or anxiety, will automatically cause us to take shorter, more shallow breaths. It is believed that scent messages enter the body through the nerves and are passed on to the olfactory epithelium, which is part of the limbic system and the oldest part of our brain, where they are passed along to our brain and interpreted as odors. Nerves and hormones are then instructed on how the body should react.
Aromatherapy in the form of natural oils, plants and woods can be used in many ways to enhance your day. Adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your morning bath will create an invigorating feeling all day. Eucalyptus oil or Rosemary oil added to a burning candle can help relieve bronchitis and colds. Rose oil, lavender oil and cedar oil, placed in the bedroom, will help you sleep. Rosemary and lavender added to your bath will help relax muscles. Frankincense and bergamot are excellent fragrances to aid the body and mind when meditating. A few drops of clary sage waved under the nose of a person in shock will have an amazing effect. Ylang ylang and marjoram will help lower blood pressure. Orange and lemon oil used in the kitchen will help eliminate odors. Always be sure to use only 3 to 6 drops of essential oils because they are highly concentrated. You can also use the raw herbs, tree bark or flowers by placing them in a steaming bowl of water or in some cases, burning them like incense. To use raw herbs in the bath, make a bag of cheesecloth and tie them so the water runs directly over them.