The Scent of Relaxation

You may have noticed that sometimes we use essential oils during the acupuncture treatments… What are these scents? How do we choose which one to use?

As a fan of these oils over the years I was happy to find them in the treatment rooms. I enjoy sharing them and they enhance my day as well! At home I have used them in many ways: to relax, to concentrate, to uplift my energy and mood, to heal skin, to prevent sickness… overall I just notice I feel better when I have them around! 

One reason essential oils have such an immediate and profound effects on us is that smell is the only one of our five senses that goes directly to the brain. When we breathe in a scent, it easily goes to the limbic system deep in our brain, which stores memory and emotion, allowing us to directly access and influence these areas and influence brain chemistry. You may have noticed how quickly a scent can bring you right back to an old memory, or shift your mood.

Being water and fat soluble, they are easily absorbed through tissues, such as the skin, so using them on the skin allows the plant’s molecules into the body to do their work as well. A fun thing to try, recommended by a friend who has a knowledgeable passion for the oils and distributes them, is to use them on the bottom of your feet morning and evening daily and see what changes you notice in your life. Use something energizing in the morning, like frankincense and peppermint, and calming oils before bed, such as lavender and Gentle Baby. When using on the skin, you can dilute a few drops in a carrier oil, such as organic coconut oil or other favorite oil.

When using essential oils, be sure to choose therapeutic grade ones, in order to get the benefits of the plant compounds.

At TCRA, we use these high quality oils from Young Living, here are some tips from their website (my comments in italics):
Dragon Time™ is a blend of calming and soothing essential oils, including clary sage, which contains natural phytoestrogens - the perfect choice for women's emotions during special times and needs. Its balancing properties make it a perfect choice for supporting normal, healthy emotions during the female monthly cycle. Dragon Time is recommended for young and mature women.
How to use: For aromatic use. Rub over lower back region; use in a compress on the abdomen; or dilute with carrier oil for a full body massage.
Ingredients: clary sage, fennel, lavender , marjoram, yarrow, and jasmine

**Note- clary sage will start contractions, so DON'T use this on pregnant ladies. It has been known to get labor going with success!**
Follicular Phase
EndoFlex™ can help you maintain overall vitality with a proprietary blend of essential oils that support the endocrine system. (Chosen to regulate FP hormones since it regulates endocrine system.)
How to use: For dietary or topical use. When using as a supplement, dilute one drop in 4 fl. oz. of liquid such as soy or rice milk.
Ingredients: A base of sesame seed oil, spearmint, sage, geranium, myrtle, nutmeg, and German chamomile

Luteal Phase and Pregnancy
Gentle Baby™ is a soft, fragrant combination of essential oils designed specifically for mothers and babies. It helps calm emotions during pregnancy and is useful for quieting troubled little ones. It is also soothing to tender skin. Many of the essential oils in this blend are used in elite cosmetics to enhance a youthful appearance.
How to use: For aromatic use. Diffuse or apply on mother's abdomen, feet, lower back, face, and neck areas. Dilute in carrier oil for full body massage and for applying on baby's skin.
Because of the photo-sensitivity of bergamot, which is in this blend, do not apply to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight within 48 hours. This means this will increase the effects of the sun- I have seen this happen with bergamot, you can get a sunburn or discoloration of the skin, so do be cautious! The same for other citrus, but bergamot especially.
At the same time, it is recommended for healing the skin, such as stretch marks after pregnancy and diaper rash. So use it, but be mindful of the sun!
Ingredients: rosewood, geranium, palmarosa, lavender, Roman chamomile, ylang ylang, lemon, jasmine, bergamot, and rose

* Pregnancy- DO NOT USE: wild tansy, clary sage, sage, fennel, wintergreen, or hyssop There are various schools of thought on which oils to avoid, so in addition to this list I would just recommend being cautious in general beyond Gentle Baby, and save using other oils for pre/post pregnancy.

Mister™ is beneficial to men. It also helps promote greater inner-body balance and many have found it soothing when stressed. Mister is recommended for men age thirty and over. (Chosen to help regulate hormone function.)
How to use: For aromatic and topical use.
Ingredients: sage, fennel, lavender, myrtle, peppermint, and blue yarrow, in a base of sesame seed oil.

Something For Every Body!
For general relaxation! 
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has a fresh, sweet, floral, herbaceous aroma that is soothing and refreshing. Because it is the most versatile of all essential oils, no home should be without it. Lavender is an adaptogen, and therefore can assist the body when adapting to stress or imbalances. It is a great aid for relaxing and winding down before bedtime, yet has balancing properties that can also boost stamina and energy. Therapeutic-grade lavender is highly regarded for skin and beauty. It may be used to soothe and cleanse common cuts, bruises, and skin irritations. Lavender may also be used to enhance the flavor of foods

How to use:
Soothe minor burns by applying 2–3 drops of lavender essential oil to the affected area.
Rub lavender essential oil on dry or chapped skin to moisturize the affected area.
Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a cotton ball and place it in closets and drawers to scent linens and repel moths and insects.
You may be able to minimize the appearance of scar tissue by massaging lavender essential oil on or around affected areas.
Place a few drops of lavender essential oil on a wet cloth or dryer sheet to deodorize and freshen your laundry.
Diffuse lavender essential oil to minimize seasonal discomforts.
Rub a few drops of lavender essential oil onto your hand and spread over your child’s pillow to help him/her sleep.
Diffuse lavender essential oil to set the mood for a baby shower or social gathering.
Diffuse or inhale lavender essential oil to calm your mind, body, and spirit after a hard day’s work.

General cautions for all oils:
* Possible skin sensitivity. If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult your physician. Dilution not required; suitable for all but the most sensitive skin. Generally safe for children over 2 years of age. You can test skin sensitivity by using the oil on your inner wrist first. Also, test all oils/ blends on yourself first before your children or baby.

For more info on these oils and more:
Young Living Oils