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Cleaning Your Mind, Body and Soul

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The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every da.

Imagine relaxing in a hot bath listening to soothing music while wrapped in the scent of sweet lavender and warm, woody marjoram or the exotic fragrance of tropical ylang-ylang.

There's no need to book an appointment at an expensive spa. You can create your own relaxing, healing space and nurture yourself body, mind and spirit with aromatherapy. This ancient healing art uses the concentrated essential oils of plants to balance and heal on all levels.

Aromatherapy was practised by the Egyptians over 5,000 years ago. Since then it has been used in the treatment of physical, emotional and mental imbalances. It helps you relax and reduces the stress that weakens the immune system and contributes to a long list of health problems. Stress results in both the production of toxins and makes it more difficult for the body to cleanse itself of these harmful substances. Aromatherapy is a valuable and very pleasant part of your cleansing program.

Bathing with Essential Oils

Soak in a luxurious bath scented with fragrant oils. Create a healing space in your bathroom by turning up the heat, turning off lights and lighting a candle. Play soothing music and fill the bathtub with comfortably hot water. Just before getting into the bath, sprinkle up to six drops of essential oils onto the surface of the water and then stir with your hand. If you have sensitive skin or want a more moisturizing bath, add in one tablespoon of vegetable oil or full fat milk oil. As you soak in the bath enveloped in the healing fragrance of the oils, close your eyes, absorb the peace and feel your stress melt away.

Add any combination of relaxing oils according to your mood or make up a quantity of your favourite blend and store it in a glass bottle out of the light. A relaxing, stress-reducing blend consists of six parts lavender essential oil, two parts marjoram and one part mandarin. Another relaxing blend is four parts lavender, two parts marjoram, two parts Roman camomile and one part neroli. To calm your nerves and reduce anxiety, try a mixture of three parts lavender and one part clary sage.

You can also use essential oils to help you cleanse toxins from the lymph system. A blend of three parts cypress, two parts grapefruit, one part juniper and one part lavender helps the body release toxins and excess fluid. This refreshing mixture is a natural diuretic, so drink a large glass of water after bathing.

Scenting the Air

Use an aromatherapy lamp to scent the air and surround yourself with the fragrance of essential oils. A votive candle serves as the heat source under a small cup-shaped saucer that holds hot water. Put three or four drops of your favourite essential oil or any of the suggested bath blends into the hot water. The oils evaporate and fill the room with a fragrance. This is a wonderful method if you have trouble sleeping. A study in a hospital ward for the elderly in England showed that diffusing lavender oil into the air could successfully replace medication to relieve insomnia.

If you still feel stressed and unable to sleep, sip a cup of camomile, valerian or skullcap tea while diffusing lavender, or any combination of lavender, camomile, marjoram and neroli. If you don't have an aromatherapy lamp, put a couple of drops of oil onto a tissue and place it on your pillow.

Aromatherapy Massage

You can also enjoy the relaxing benefits of essential oils by giving yourself or a loved one a healing aromatherapy massage.

Mix relaxing essential oils or any of the blends suggested above into vegetable oil in the proportion of six drops of essential oils to one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Create your healing space with warmth and candles. Play soothing music. Relax and start slowly, starting with your feet and work upwards. As you massage each part of your body, breathe the fragrance of the aromatherapy oils, wholly concentrating on that part of your body.

Guidelines for Using Essential Oils

  • Buy quality essential oils made from pure plant products. Avoid synthetics.

  • Keep oils away from your eyes and mucous membranes.

  • Don't apply essential oils directly to the skin (except for lavender and tea tree). Dilute with vegetable oil.

  • Some oils such as angelica, bergamot, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange and grapefruit make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Avoid sun or ultraviolet radiation for 24 hours after applying these oils.

  • Pregnant women and those with heart conditions, epilepsy or serious health problems should consult a trained aromatherapist for guidelines.

  • For children seven to 12 years and adults over 70, use half the suggested amounts of oils. For children under seven consult an aromatherapist.
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