Lighting a scented candle or positioning a reed diffuser to fill your home with a pleasant fragrance is a regular occurrence for many of us, but did you know scents can have a powerful effect on your emotions?
From energising in the morning to calming at night, essential oils can help modulate your mood, which is particularly useful at the moment with the stresses and strains that lockdown life can bring.
Here, experts explain how to use aromatherapy at home during lockdown…
How does aromatherapy work?
“With aromatherapy there is a perception that these oils are just for ‘relaxing’, not realising the potency they can have on a therapeutic level,” says Farida Irani, founder of Ayurvedic aromatherapy brand Subtle Energies.
“The chemical molecules from the essential oils in the form of aroma can go through the olfactory system impacting on the limbic region of the brain, releasing emotions.”
How should you use essential oils?
There are a variety of different ways to incorporate aromatherapy in your daily routine.
“Candles are a great way to create a cosy atmosphere and give off a subtle fragrance suited to your mood,” says Neom Organics founder and creative director Nicola Elliott.
She says diffusers, which use reed sticks or heat to spread the scent, are “great for a constant fragrance boost. Try putting a diffuser next to your bathroom, it makes those early starts a little easier and gives you a great little mood boost as you go about your morning routine.”
You can also apply essential oils to the skin, but they must be diluted with a carrier oil first. Irani recommends black sesame seed or jojoba oil.
“Applying a blend topically works through the absorption on the skin and also impacts the olfactory system as well, or using it as a bath soak or mist,” she says. “Placing your essential oils on a tissue works very effectively as well. You only need a drop on a tissue.”
Whether it’s on your skin, in the bath or on a tissue, breathe deeply to really feel the mood-enhancing effects of the oil.
Which essential oils should you use?
Choosing the right essential oil should be an intuitive process, Elliott says.
If you want to improve your concentration during the day, Irani recommends fresh scents such as lime, saffron and sandalwood which “help greatly in concentration and grounding, which in turn helps to focus and clear the mind,” while Elliott suggests pine, cedarwood and eucalyptus.
She says: “Having a designated working area, ideally with natural light and an energy boosting fragrance, can be brilliant for sharpening the mind and keeping you on track.”
For calming a cluttered mind, Irani says floral scents such as lavender, rose and jasmine “can assist with balancing the senses to assist with anxiety, sleep and stress.”
Elliott suggests lighting a different candle in the evening to signify the end of the working day: “Our world has changed dramatically in a very short space of time so creating comfort and calm in those non-working areas, such as the living room, is super important.”