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Use Essential Oils to Change Your Mood and Make the Most of Every Minute

by Barbara Payne(more info)

listed in aromatherapy, originally published in issue 154 - January 2009

My mother would say, "Find something useful to do" when, as a child I became bored! I've been grateful for that training because it is easy to waste time and one can never recoup it. On the other hand, one can become so absorbed in claiming time by rushing; it is easy to become harassed and edgy, dangerous even, if driving or some other such activity. In addition to this, one may lose the joy of the moment. 
Is there anything we can utilize to help us in our search for balance in our busy lives? Yes, essential oils and essences. They are marvellous substances and are the key to aromatherapy. Individually, due to their natural, unique, chemical makeup, they are excellent tools for unlocking our mood and opening up a different attitude. By means of aromatherapy, it is possible to find stability and peace alongside energy and motivation. Using plant oils can help us to be in the right frame of mind, at any given time, for work or play, thereby helping us to get the most from the time we have.  

Getting Motivated and Energised.

When the evenings draw in and become cooler, it is easy to forgo and miss the fun of socializing because of tiredness or apathy. Six drops of any of the citrus oils in a warm bath can turn the most miserable party pooper into a party goer! From this range there are differing fragrances to suit any taste. Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), has a fresh tangy sweet smell and so has tangerine/mandarin (Citrus reticulata), whereas grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) is refreshing but has a sharper edge to it, as does lemon (Citrus limon), and bitter orange/orange bigarade (Citrus aurantium var. amara).
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), is floral and sweet and may be an exception, in that it is soothing and calming but still has the natural chemical make up to be energizing too. It is one of the original oils used in the recipe for Eau de Cologne, still used today for cooling fevered brows and helping people to re-establish their equilibrium.
These energizing essences are wonderful if there is work to undertake and one does not feel like it. There are other essential oils that can invigorate us too, but using the citrus family Rutaceae, is a good way to keep it simple. Citrus oils are not expensive and will stay fresh for up to six months.

Becoming Relaxed the Easy Way

What about if one is already 'wound up', and needs to relax? Aromatherapy has long been recognized as  a 'stress buster', usually when associated with massage, but there are other ways of using the oils without massage and these can be as uncomplicated as putting a few drops on to a handkerchief, six drops in a bath, (as above), or a couple of drops on the pillow. Either of these methods, that is, inhalation or the trans-dermal route, will speedily transfer the minuscule molecules of essential oil to the tiny capillaries and into the blood stream where they will quickly be effective. In her Aromatherapy Workbook Shirley Price states, "Urine tested an hour after applying essential oil on the back of the hand has been found to contain the oil applied. There have been many tests which corroborate this finding, including checking exhaled air".[1]
Learning which essential oils are relaxants is important if one is searching for a good night's sleep, calming nerves before exams, or maybe settling down to a night in. Lavender (Lavandular angustifolia) is world famous for giving people restful peace using the methods described above, but what if one does not care for lavender?  As with the energizing oils, there are many relaxing oils to choose from. Many people like to use frankincense (Boswellia carterii) which is extracted from resin of the bush, which is collected and distilled. The resin is produced pathologically when the branches are peeled back or cut into. In ancient times such precious trees were protected by law and only sixty drops of resin at most, were taken from each tree, each day. Its rich, sweet scent reminiscent of camphor, opens up the bronchial passages and encourages deep, slow breathing, which in turn promotes relaxation. Aroma is paramount when thinking 'aromatherapy'. Our sense of smell is closely linked to our emotions through the limbic system.    
Buy essential oils from reputable retailers, aromatherapists if possible, with a fast turnover. Keep bottles cool and dark. They should be UV filtered glass, not necessarily blue as some suggest. Labels should clearly read'100% pure essential oil'. This information tells you they are not adulterated.
 We all have the same amount of time but some people seem more productive. Could they be using essential oils and essences to change the way they feel and get more from life?
Pregnant women should be advised by a qualified aromatherapist before using essential oils.
Relaxing essential oils should be avoided whilst driving or other circumstance where you need to be alert.


Price. S. Aromatherapy Workbook. Thorsons. London. ISBN 0-7225-2645-8. 1998.

Having contributed to Positive Health over many years, Barbara has now decided to retire from her PH Expert Regular Column after Issue 154 in Jan 2009.


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About Barbara Payne

Barbara Payne taught clinical aromatherapy in various hospitals in the North of England, for School of Health, University of Hull, and was principal of an IFA and IFPA accredited college of clinical aromatherapy, for many years. She served as an inspector and examiner and was Chair of Education for the ISPA, (now IFPA). Barbara had regular interviews with BBC radio and appeared on national television occasionally and lectured annually for the RHS. Having contributed to Positive Health over many years, Barbara has now decided to retire from her PH Expert Regular Column after Issue 154 in Jan 2009. She can be reached on Tel: 01482 835358;


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