Aromatherapy for Relaxation and Stimulation

Pure essential oils are plant essences that, when mixed with a carrier oil (such as almond oil), may be used in a bath, by massage, or in a diffuser to scent a room. Recent research has proved beyond doubt that many plants have potent mood-altering properties and can be used for increased concentration, relaxation, mood improvement, or as aphrodisiacs. Patrick Holford and Dr. Hyla Cass suggest some of the best essential oils for each of these purposes.

Relaxing Essential Oils

Certain essential oils have proven to have particular biological effects on those who inhale their scents – marjoram oil stimulates serotonin secretion, for example, while lavender increases soothing alpha-waves in the brain. Holford and Dr. Cass cite Dr. Hirsch, who provided the following list of essential oils in descending order of sedative power:

  • lavender
  • bergamot
  • marjoram
  • sandalwood
  • lemon
  • chamomile

Dr. J.J. King, a psychiatrist at a hospital in Worcestershire, also mentions rose, cypress, and balsam fir as effective calming agents.

The following recipe combines fragrances to aid in relaxation:

  • 4 fluid ounces sweet almond oil
  • 10 drops each lavender and lemon essential oils
  • 2 drops each marjoram and sandalwood essential oils

Stimulating Essential Oils

Other aromatherapy oils have demonstrated an impressive capacity to boost concentration and extend concentration for longer periods of time that are normal. This is effected without activating the stress response that caffeine and other stimulants induce, however; essential oils actually counter fatigue from using stimulants. Some of the most energy-boosting essential oils include:

  • clove
  • ylang-ylang
  • cinnamon
  • lemon
  • cardamom
  • fennel
  • angelica
  • peppermint
  • eucalyptus
  • basil
  • jasmine
  • black pepper

Rose, patchouli, lemongrass, and sage have been found to have similar, but less powerful, effects.

A stimulating fragrance combination can be created using this recipe:

  • 4 fluid ounces sweet almond oil
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1 drop each cinnamon, peppermint, clove, patchouli, benzoin, and/or sage essential oils (as available)

Aphrodisiacs and Aromatherapy

Some plant essences have been found to be both relaxing and stimulating, fostering a state of mind both chilled out and tuned in – just right for getting turned on. In studies, public areas and offices have been spiked with aphrodisiac scents, and friendliness noticeably increased. Some of the most potent aromatherapy oils for sex include:

  • ylang-ylang
  • rose
  • patchouli
  • sandalwood
  • jasmine
  • vanilla
  • musk

Holford and Dr Cass also mention Arabian Nights, in which the stimulants cinnamon and coriander were used to this end.

The following is a recipe for an aphrodisiac fragrance:

  • 4 fluid ounces sweet almond oil
  • 10 drops each lavender and sandalwood essential oils
  • 2 drops each ylang-ylang and vanilla essential oils
  • 1 drop each cinnamon and jasmine essential oils

Other Aromatherapy Uses

Essential oils have also been found to improve mood, as is certainly the case with marjoram. Clary sage and lemon balm have also been known in Europe for hundreds of years to allay depression.

Aromatherapy has also been employed extensively in religious ceremonies: Dr. Bruce Berkowsky has authored several books on this topic. Holford and Dr. Cass suggest a potentially entheogenic fragrance of their own: 10 drops lavender essential oil and 2 drops each of mandarin orange, geranium bourbon, ylang-ylang, and patchouli essential oils.

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