"The beautiful Spring came- and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also."
~Harriet Ann Jacobs
Although Spring is the season of new life, rejuvenation, hope and warmer weather ~ being outside a lot more brings about probably the most common complaint in Spring which is plant-based allergies. This means nasal congestion, headaches, fogging thinking and more. Spring is also a time when lots of people think about renewal – weight loss, detoxification, outdoor physical activity (running, biking, hiking, etc) and more active social schedules. Generally, everyone gets less sleep.
Hay fever and allergy symptoms – Sometimes hay fever and allergies are symptoms of, or exacerbated by, congestion in the liver and lymph. So, essential oils that detoxify or clear the liver can be very beneficial. These include cypress, helichrysum B., juniper, lemon and orange. Hay fever and allergies are typically accompanied by headaches, nasal congestion and mental fogginess so oils listed under these conditions can also provide relief.
Mental fogginess – Basil (Ocimum basilicum), black pepper (Piper nigrum), peppermint and rosemary.
Muscle stiffness – Black pepper (Piper nigum), clove (Eugenia caryophyllus), blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and nutmeg (Myristica fragrans).
Nasal congestion and stuffiness – Hay fever and allergies typically come with congestion and sinus inflammation. Some essential oils that act as antihistamine, clear decongestion and calm include: cypress, pepprmint eucalyptus (Eucalyptus dives), hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), helichrysum B. (Helichrysum bracteiferum), pinon pine (Pinus edilus), ravintsava (Cinnamomum camphora), rosemary and Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris).
Restless or difficult sleep – Lavender, marjoram, orange and German, Roman and Cape chamomile (Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobilis and Eriocephalus punctulatus).
Cuts, scratches and scraps – Frankincense (Boswellia cateri), helichrysum I (Helichrysum ilaticum), myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), rock rose (Cistus landiferus).
APPLICATIONS OF AROMATHERAPY FOR THE SPRING
Some of the typical applications of aromatherapy for the spring are scrubs, inhalers, diffusers, balms and salves, and abhyanga/massage oil.
Scrubs are wonderful for detoxification. Natural clays are a soft and soothing way to detox the skin. Plant-based scrubs such as finely ground nuts or fruit kernels add a bit of natural abrasive action as well as nourishment. Natural sugar and salts such as epson, sea and dead sea salt are more abrasive, but can be finely ground to reduce the abrasiveness and still offer the beneficial stimulation.
This abrasive action of scrubs stimulates and exfoliates the skin and improves circulation in both the physical and energy bodies. Clay and some detoxifying essential oils listed above can be added to a bath. Alternatively, essential oils can be blended with plant-, sugar- or salt-based scrubs, gently rubbed over the skin and followed by a bath or shower.
Be careful to select essential oils that appropriate for the application. Those extracted from citrus fruits (e.g., lemon, grapefruit and mandarin) can cause skin irritation in the bath, but are typically fine when applied to the skin in the form of a scrub.
Abhyanga/Massage Oils are great ways to nourish and detox the skin and body. This type of massage and plays an important role in Ayurvedic practice and healing. Lots of warm all-natural vegetable oil is stroked onto the whole body. It can be practiced as a self massage on a regular (daily) basis.
Inhalers can offer a convenient, portable and personal treatment. A personal inhaler can be filled with a blend that to clear the sinuses, promote sleep, clear mental fogginess and increase focus.
Diffusers can be used as an alternative or a complement to personal inhalers. Essential oils can promote better sleep when diffused in the bedroom at night. Diffused essential oils can help clear the sinuses day or night and increase mental clarity and focus during the day.
Therapeutic Balms/Butters/Lotions are great for aches and pains, muscle stiffness, bruises and cuts and scratches. Lotions absorb into the skin quickly while balms and butters stay on the skin longer. The application choice is partly a matter of personal preference but not completely. For surface issues like cuts and scratches, it’s best to apply something which will stay on the skin longer such as a balm.
NOTE: Essential oils are extremely concentrated and can cause irritations when used improperly.
As general rule use these dilutions of essential oils for specific applications:
3% for products applied to specific limited areas of the body
1-2% for body oils and other applications that are applied to large portions of the body (e.g. massage oil, lotion, cream, body butter)
4-8 drops per bath: the essential oils should be added to the bath with a dispersant such as vegetable oil, whole – not fat free or skim – milk, vegetable glycerin or salt (those with sensitive skin should use fewer drops)
100% essential oil or essential oil blend for inhalers
3-6 drops (100% essential oils or essential oil blend) for a diffuser (for a 12 ft x 12 ft room). Less for energetic blends.
1% dilution for children, the elderly and those with sensitive skin or compromised systems.
Some are counter-indicated for people with certain medical conditions. Consult a professional aromatherapist to determine the appropriate essential oil blend for you and your specific condition or intention.
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