Aromatherapy And Meditation: A Powerful Combination
The first time I used fragrance and aromatherapy with meditation was at the end of my first hot yoga class. The instructor told us, in her soft, calming voice, to lie flat on our backs and close our eyes. With my heart still pounding and sweat stinging my eyes, I felt something tap into the palm of my hand, and my hand was nudged up toward my face. Inhaling deeply, the clean, fresh smell of orange filled my senses, and I could feel myself begin to slow down.
I didn’t know it then, but aromatherapy has been used with yoga and meditation for thousands of years. All I knew that day was that it worked.
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Aromatherapy is backed by science
Studies show that fragrances affect the front of the brain where we make decisions and express our personalities. With meditation, most people want to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress in a fast-paced world. Researchers can now point to studies showing that fragrance is a boost to meditation, and are examining different essential oils to decide which fragrances work best.
Sage, for instance, is a substance used worldwide by different cultures to clear a space of negative energy, promote focus and help people have a positive meditation experience. Others report that lavender makes them feel relaxed, calm and balanced. The combination of meditation and aromatherapy also affects the autonomic nervous system – our ancient “fight or flight” response. It increases the levels of gamma-amino-butyric acid, which is the body’s “chill pill”, and promotes a balance of hormones.
Anxiety is one of the most common health problems worldwide and is estimated to affect 18.1% of American adults, with almost two-thirds of those not receiving treatment. Of those receiving treatment, medication has not shown great promise over the long haul, and people are looking for answers to reduce their symptoms that are accessible. Time and again, we can find evidence that aromatherapy and meditation together produce results – not just for a few people, but for the majority of those who use them.
Ancient remedies supported by science are now available to everyone
D Gary Young was one of the mavericks of the modern essential oil movement. The company he founded, Young Living Essential Oils, was one of the first to teach everyday people how these traditional fragrances could be used effectively. By passing this information along, person to person, we can share with each other the benefits of these age-old traditions and the modern science that supports them.
Without doctor appointments, pills, prescriptions, and potential side effects, we can use the power of fragrances with the simple practice of mindfulness and meditation to have real, measurable differences in our lives.
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