Scents for work­ing, sleep­ing & flirt­ing

Santa Fe New Mexican - Healthy Living - - FRONT PAGE - By Carolyn Pat­ton & Arin McKenna

The scents of fresh-roasted chile, piñon smoke on a cold night, and the desert af­ter the first rain of the sea­son are as much a part of Santa Fe’s per­son­al­ity as co­conut oil and plume­ria are em­blem­atic of Maui. And, ac­cord­ing to prac­ti­tion­ers of aro­mather­apy, the right aroma at the right time can evoke nos­tal­gia, calm anx­i­ety, up­lift spir­its, help us sleep and even take the edge off a bad headache.

“From our per­spec­tive, the benefits are multidimensional,” says mas­ter medic­i­nal aro­mather­a­pist Au­dre Gu­tier­rez, owner of Shin­ing Sun Aro­mather­apy in Santa Fe. She part­ners with the Se­dona, Ari­zon­abased Wis­dom of the Earth com­pany, which in turn works with small farm­ers to pro­duce and bot­tle pure es­sen­tial oils. “The thing that’s im­por­tant about es­sen­tial oils is that when they’re pure medic­i­nal-grade essences they har­mo­nize the body.”

Good to know

Only use es­sen­tial oils when they are di­luted — ei­ther in wa­ter, car­rier oil or a lo­tion or cream. Some oils are ir­ri­tat­ing to the skin, and can make you more sen­si­tive to sun­light. Any­one who is preg­nant, has a com­pro­mised im­mune sys­tem or a chronic dis­ease should con­sult with a trained aro­mather­a­pist on the most help­ful scents for per­sonal use. Over­all, th­ese fra­grances work well in dif­fusers and have gen­tle, pos­i­tive benefits:

Laven­der for a good sleep

It’s been shown to treat in­som­nia and ease de­pres­sion, work­ing al­most in­stantly.

Cin­na­mon for a sharper mind

A study from Wheel­ing Je­suit Uni­ver­sity found that a sniff of the spice im­proved vis­ual-mo­tor re­sponse, work­ing mem­ory and at­ten­tion span.

Pine for less stress

In one Ja­panese study, par­tic­i­pants who went on a walk through pine forests re­ported sig­nif­i­cantly lower de­pres­sion and stress lev­els.

Fresh-cut grass for more joy

A chem­i­cal re­leased by newly cut grass can make peo­ple feel joy­ful and re­laxed and pre­vent the men­tal decline of aging.

Cit­rus for en­ergy

Lemon and or­ange es­sen­tial oils are an­ti­sep­tic and an­tibac­te­rial, and the smells can in­crease en­ergy and alert­ness.

Vanilla for a bet­ter mood

Re­searchers found that in­hal­ing the scent of a vanilla bean el­e­vated par­tic­i­pants’ feel­ings of joy and re­lax­ation.

Pump­kin for flir­ta­tion

In a study by The Smell & Taste Treat­ment and Re­search Foun­da­tion, 40 per­cent of the male test sub­jects re­sponded pos­i­tively to fe­male sub­jects wear­ing a pump­kin scent com­bined with laven­der.

Pep­per­mint for get­ting to work

A study out of Wheel­ing Je­suit Uni­ver­sity found that smelling pep­per­mint could be linked to greater cog­ni­tive stamina, mo­ti­va­tion and over­all per­for­mance.

Jas­mine for up­lift

A 2010 study found that the smell of jas­mine cre­ates a sense of alert­ness, and can help re­lieve de­pres­sion.

Ap­ples and basil for headache re­lief

One 2008 study showed that those who found the scent ap­peal­ing had a no­tice­able re­duc­tion in headache symptoms as well as short­ened mi­graine episodes. Other stud­ies have found the scent may help con­trol anx­i­ety dur­ing stress­ful mo­ments. In Italy, basil is rou­tinely used to help with headaches and nasal con­ges­tion, and has long been used as a folk rem­edy for pre­vent­ing bad dreams.

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