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Sniff Your Way to Relaxation: Part II

Last month we began discussing aromatherapy. We overviewed why the body reacts so strongly to scent and how your brain links an emotional state with smells. Scents can create a sense of relaxation and well-being- if you pick the right ones. Let’s start by outlining some common scents and the emotional/ mental/ physical properties they invoke.

Lavender: The most well-known of relaxing scents… and for good reason. Lavender studies have shown the fragrance slows down the sympathetic nervous system (the body system that responds to stress). Lavender reduces stress, relieves tension, is an anti-depressant, and helps with insomnia. It is also known as a strong anit-inflammatory & antiseptic, skin balancer, and immune stimulant.

Recommended use: place 2-4 drops of its essential oil on hands or add to 2-3 cups of boiling water and inhale the vapors

Chamomile: Often used in tea, this little daisy-like flower packs a very relaxing punch. It can treat a cough and helps with insomnia. Chamomile has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects as well as antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. *Not recommended for use if allergic to plants such as ragweed, or if pregnant*

Recommended use: pour a cup of boiling water over 2-3 tablespoons of dried chamomile; soak for 10 minutes and drink

Ylang-ylang: Ylang-ylang oil has a euphoric and sedative effect on the nervous system and helps with anxiety, tension, shock, fear and panic. It is particularly useful with rapid breathing and rapid heartbeat, it can also help with reducing high blood pressure and is useful for intestinal infections.

Recommended use: add 4-6 drops to ½ cup of Epsom salts and add to a warm bath

Tangerine: Though not commonly thought of as a ‘relaxing’ scent, tangerine- and many in the citrus family of fragrances- is a mood booster. It is also restorative (helping you get over the ‘wiped-out’ feeling), fights acne, and balances the nervous system.

Recommended use: add a few drops to diffuser *remember to clean you diffuser regularly to prevent unwanted scents from mingling*

Try one, or combine a few scents and smell your way to a more relaxed state of mind! If you would like more information about these and other relaxing scents, I recommend visiting

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