AROMATHERAPY: CAN YOU SNIFF YOUR WAY THIN?
Dieting getting you down? It’s time to stop and smell the rose… not to mention the lemon, lavender, eucalyptus and hundreds of other heaven “scent” fragrances!
Aromatherapy is a branch of herbal medicine that uses essential oils extracted from plants to rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit — and help put you back on your eating plan with renewed zest and determination.
You may not even realize that you already use aromatherapy. Remember that lovely lilac candle you lit yesterday? When you breathed in the delectable aroma and mysteriously relaxed, you were actually practicing an ancient art that dates back 5,000 years.
The Egyptians are credited for discovering fragrant plants can be used to stimulate or soothe. Later, the knowledge spread to Chinese, Greek, Indian and Native American healers. Today’s aromatherapy practices draw on an impressive history of scholarship, allowing us to use them efficiently and wisely.
I know. I know. All this is very interesting, but how, you ask, is oil extracted from plant materials going to keep me from gobbling a tasty bag of chips? The answer is simple and wonderful! You breathe.
Your delicately complex olfactory sense does the rest. Each distinctive scent has its own flower power that enters through your nose and travels quickly into various areas of your brain, awakening an avalanche of feel-good emotions. They can turn a bad mood great, relieve stress that makes you munch, stop cravings, boost self-esteem, feed a flagging ego, help bring sweet slumber, ditch digestive problems and kindle the confidence you need to drive past fast-food windows. And best of all: Zero calories!
The essential oils are sold at most health-food stores, vitamin shops and online markets. Don’t be fooled by the small size of the bottles. They’re concentrated and potent. Three drops go a long way. You can also reap the rewards of aromatherapy with candles, burning sticks, soaps, bath crystals or massage oils.
A Word of Caution: Essential oils should be sold in brown glass bottles (sometimes cobalt blue) to keep the light out — which can alter them chemically. Store them in a cool, dry place and make sure the lids are screwed on tightly as they evaporate quickly.
But wait, determined dieters! Before you run off to start your personal petal collection, take a few minutes to read up on the basics. The experts suggest these common essential oils for beginners:
Bergamot: Builds confidence to see you through an emotional rough patch.
Chamomile: A mild, soothing oil that calms jangled nerves. Reach for this sweet aroma instead of that chip bag!
Citrus Oils: Lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange oils rev up a tired mind and body, helping you fight the urge to overeat.
Eucalyptus: Helps clarify jumbled thoughts and emotions. Controls destructive impulses that put you on the road to McDiet disaster.
Geranium: Uplifts the spirit and allows you to see the slim, fit new you is only a short time away.
Lavender: Balances the mind, relaxes the body and soothes the stress that can lead to binge eating.
Patchouli: Great for creating a romantic mood when dieting dilemmas leave you feeling less than sexy.
Peppermint: Invigorates and revitalizes energy. A walk around the block doesn’t seem impossible after all.
Rose: Relieves an overtaxed mind and overworked body. A short sit-down or nap is better than a candy bar!
Rosemary: Invigorating for those low-energy days. Boosts self-esteem that helps you stick to your eating plan.
Tea Tree: Speeds healing of small physical upsets such as rashes, cuts and blemishes.
Ylang, Ylang: Awakens the fountain of youth stored away too many years ago. A play in the park or short bike ride may be just the thing!