Try Sensational Scents

Bringing home your cherub for the first time is intensely gratifying, and day by day your heart is filled with love and wonder. However, rounds of washing and cleaning squeezed between the baby's needs, while single friends are gallivanting to the next hot spot, can leave you feeling frazzled, dazed and stressed out. Remember, your family's well-being depends on your own, so here are a few aromatherapy tips from experts to help you de-stress, pamper and rejuvenate your body and mind.

V?ronique Vivier


Ease your stress
Experience pure bliss with an aromatherapy bath. To create your own home spa, massage therapist, Pamela Taschner recommends sprinkling a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a running bath. Surround yourself with fresh rose petals, candles and classical music and voil?! Clean towels, a thick white bathrobe and the colors green and white will create a spa effect, she says, and fresh plants will bring inner harmony.

Aromas stimulate the limbic part of the brain that deals with memory and emotion, so essential oils with citrus smells will recapture carefree spring days, florals like jasmine and rose create a sedate, hypnotic effect, turning your mind from negative thoughts. Essential oils also affect the nervous system and reduce blood pressure according to research by Dr Gary Schwartz, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Yale University.

"Massage therapy with essential oils relieves many of the mental and physical problems caused by daily or prolonged stress. It creates a general sense of well-being, increases circulation and movement of lymph fluid, therefore waste products. Massage counteracts aging. Young mothers are relieved of stress caused by the newborn or energetic babies. The body comes to rest and the mind lets go," says Taschner. "I use German chamomile, immortelle, yarrow and tagetes as these contain the component sesquiterpenes which moves fluids in the body, is anti-inflammatory, sedative and is an immune stimulant."

For a self-massage, mix two to three drops of essential oils in a tablespoon of sweet almond oil. Warming it between your hands, use the effleurage method -- light-stroking motions all over your body, always moving in the direction of the heart

Aromatherapy also helps you stay alert. According to researchers at the Miami School of Medicine, aromatherapy has a significant affect on our brain (EEG) activity. Tests proved that people massaged with lavender showed increased beta power and were able to perform a math skill test faster and more accurately.

Body beautiful
Essential oils give you a silky smooth skin, too. Renowned aromatherapist and author, Valerie Ann Worwood in her book, The Fragrant Pharmacy(Corgi, March, 1991), advises The Harem Special as an unforgettable experience, leaving you with a glowing skin and feeling pampered all over.

The Harem Special
1 teaspoon ground, dried citrus fruit peel
3 teaspoons ground almonds
2 teaspoons oatmeal
1 pinch clove powder
1 teaspoon crushed, dried rose petals
1 pinch nutmeg powder
2 tablespoons almond oil
2 drops neroli (or a citrus oil, lemon or orange)
2 drops sandalwood (or patchouli)

Create a paste by blending the ingredients and placing the paste on your entire body, focusing on drier areas especially. Blend the paste in and wipe off any excess with a dry cloth.

Breast attention
Women often despair too quickly at the state of their breasts after pregnancy. Aromatherapy expert, Michelle Jirard of Mussidan, France, recommends a combination of pectoral exercises, good posture and aromatherapy. Rosemary, geranium and lemongrass are some of the essential oils that tighten breast tissue and eliminate stretch marks, she says.

Sensuous tresses
Temporary hair loss often occurs after pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Aromatherapy is a safe and effective treatment for Alopecia areata (severe hair loss) according to research by the Department of Dermatology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Scotland.

"My hair was thinning from too many colorings and blow-dries. The aromatherapist at Le Graine D'or in Dordogne, France, recommended I massage my hair every day with a blend of rosemary essential oil and jojoba. I was thrilled by the results," says Candice Favard of Paris, France. Massaging with rosemary reportedly encourages blood circulation to the scalp, while jojoba adds shine and luster.

Skin glow
"I started using essential oils 15 years ago, when my face was scarred by a bad car accident. By recommendation, I used vitamin E oil together with essential oils. "I was very pleased with the results. The scars faded and people kept commenting about my glowing complexion. Rosehip oil is also effective for skincare," says Jirard. Rosehip oil is rich in essential fatty acids: olein, linoleic and linolenic (responsible for maintaining a healthy skin), and contains tretinoin, a natural derivative of Retinol (helps rebuild skin tissue), and natural vitamin E.

Cellular regeneration is the key to a youthful skin, states Worwood. The nutrients and proteins in essential oils help to maintain collagen and encourage regeneration of new cells. The circulation-stimulating properties of oils oxygenate the blood and energize cells, allowing regeneration to take place, she states in her book. Other oils have skin firming properties, giving it a more youthful appearance. Violet leaf, clary-sage, fennel, neroli, rose, lavender, patchouli, frankincense, lemon and oregano, to name but a few, reportedly have anti-aging properties.

"No matter what creams a woman uses, the best anti-aging treatments is a relaxed and organized day," says Taschner. "Take care of your baby, but also take care of yourself. Ensure that you get relaxation time every day and that you do regular exercises, not forgetting to have a bit of fun time."


Sexy aromas
Essential oils have constituents, which closely mimic pheromones, the chemical constituents of natural body aroma responsible for attracting the opposite sex. Essential oils can be powerful aphrodisiacs and are often the base of perfumes. However, not all oils have aphrodisiac properties. "I enjoy my wife wearing oils to bed, but it must be a floral smell like jasmine. Eucalyptus and lemon have a medicinal smell and only make me feel good when I'm sick. The right oils, with relaxing music and candle light are a powerful combination for a perfect romantic evening," says Frederick Bell, of Nassau, Bahamas.

Here is a list of essential oils that reportedly have aphrodisiac properties to get you started on your unsuspecting beau! -- Angelica, cardamom, cinnamon, clary-sage, ginger, jasmine, neroli, patchouli, rose, rosewood, violet and ylang-ylang.

Aromatherapy is not a magical potion, but will help you along your journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. Bon voyage!

Information on aromatherapy as well as suppliers of essential oils

Herbal encyclopedia

A list of international aromatherapy associations

Tags: aromatherapy

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