Healing Through Scent: Lavender
By Stephanie Tingle
Have you ever walked into a space and felt instantly at peace, or perhaps rejuvenated after a long day? Many times this is due to the use of specific scents to enhance the mood of that space. Restaurants, department stores, hospitals, and other businesses have long been aware of the ability of scent to influence behavior. You can reap the same benefits in your own space through the use of aromatherapy and essential oils.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using scent to influence mental and physical well-being. An easy way to benefit from aromatherapy is by using essential oils, which are the pure essences of plants, flowers, or herbs. These pure oils are collected by various methods, including steam extraction and pressing. Essential oils can greatly benefit your body and change your emotions through their natural scents. While they can smell pleasant, “fragrance oils” do contain synthetic ingredients and do not offer the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, so for the greatest benefit, be sure to use only pure, good quality essential oils and products that contain them.
The first oil that I’d like to talk about is Lavender. Lavender is truly an all-purpose essential oil. It is one of the few essential oils that can be used straight out of the bottle and applied directly to the skin without diluting it first. In my home, Lavender oil is the first thing we reach for when one of us has a cut, burn, or insect bite. Its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it the perfect addition to your first aid kit. It is also a potent anti-spasmodic, which means that it can help relax the muscles, making it perfect to combine with some Epsom salts for a soak in the tub after an overzealous workout. These properties can also help unwind the muscles and reduce inflammation in the joints for those who suffer from issues such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis. If you suffer from insomnia, try mixing 40 drops of pure Lavender essential oil with water and misting it lightly on your pillows before bed - it’s heavenly! For women experiencing hormone imbalance, the same spray can be misted directly onto the face and body to help reduce hot flashes and anxiety. Lavender oil’s scent goes far beyond being pleasant and soothing. Sniffing this oil can actually reduce blood pressure and heart rate, thereby reducing your stress level.
Lavender spray is also a great choice to use with children and teens to help them stay calm and productive while doing homework and household chores. I mix bottles of this and other aromatherapy sprays for my kids to keep in their rooms. You can make them extra special for each child by adding personalized labels. I love to add Unakite chips to the bottle for a “Homework Helper” spray, or Amethyst chips to the bottle for “Sweet Dreams” spray. By adding crystals to the mix, you infuse the water and essential oil with their properties, boosting the calming and healing power of the spray even more!
I love to use aromatherapy to help balance the body’s chakras or energy centers. Try placing a drop of Lavender essential oil directly on top of the head to help balance the Crown chakra. You can also place a drop of Lavender oil on an Amethyst crystal and place it on the Crown chakra or meditate while holding it. When the Crown chakra is balanced you’ll find that you easily cope with life’s pressures and that you feel firmly connected spiritually. Lavender and Amethyst make a wonderful pair as they are both so healing and versatile.
Allowing the clean and herbaceous scent of Lavender to permeate your home will help de-stress your entire household…adults, children and pets! Try adding a few drops of Lavender oil to an essential oil burner or diffuser and normally tense activities will suddenly cause much less anxiety. The Balance and Harmony Lavender Candle, which uses an environmentally friendly soy wax scented with pure Lavender essential oil, is a fantastic way to spread this scent throughout your space.