Sweet Almond Oil Oak Harbor WA
Oak Harbor, WA
Lopez Island, WA
Mount Vernon, WA
Mout Vernon, WA
Port Townsend, WA
Port Townsend, WA
By Colleen K. Dodt
Feeling weary or down in the dumps? Or perhaps you’re just looking for a psychological boost. The fragrance of essential oils may be just the pick-me-up you need.
It’s common knowledge that smell effects how we feel. What we consider as “good” smells can lift our spirits, while “bad” smells can drag us down or even agitate us. In fact, the French word sentir means “to smell” and “to feel.” We tend to “feel” scents rather than logically process them—understanding them more through associations and images than by analytical methods. This is because the human brain processes smells in its limbic region, which appears to be primarily responsible for our emotions. Interestingly, the limbic system is often called the rhinencephalon or “smell part” of the brain. Several studies show that emotion and odors are directly linked and have been found to produce some of the same electrical impulses.
Essential oils contain natural phytochemicals that impact the limbic system. When you inhale the scent of an oil, the brain releases various neurochemicals to create physiological changes in body, mind and spirit. When you smell lavender, for example, serotonin gets released, producing a calming influence in the body.
Pure essential oils are extracted directly from plant parts, including flowers, leaves, stems and roots, as well as the rind of their fruits. Outside of their direct healing properties these oils simply smell good, make us feel happier and serve as great stress and pain relievers. The easiest and most common way to benefit from their essence is through aromatherapy—placing a few drops of diluted oil directly on your skin and inhaling the aroma. (Note: always cut the essential oil with a base oil—see suggestions below.) Or you can add drops to your bath or to a special aromatherapy diffuser, which heats the oil and allows the smell to permeate the room. Choose from a multitude of oils, ranging from bergamot (Citrus bergamia), which has a balancing effect, to sandalwood (Santalum album), which is known for its sensuous properties (see sidebar).
Base oils, also called carrier oils, make essential oils more versatile by cutting their strength without greatly reducing their effectiveness or aroma.
Some recommended base oils include:
• Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis, P. amygdalus). With no scent of its own, sweet almond oil is mild and well tolerated by most people. Make sure you have sweet almond oil, though, never bitter almond. Use this oil by itself or blend it with other carrier oils to make a base. It’s especially good as a base for massage oil. Use caution if you have nut allergies.
• Rose-Hip Seed Oil (Rosa rubiginosa). Used alone or as a base oil blend, rose-hip seed oil is like liquid velvet. It especially nourishes and benefits the skin, making it wonderful for a facial oil blend.
• Avocado Oil (Persea nubigena, P. americana). Excellent as a softener for hair and skin, avocado oil absorbs nicely and is rich...
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