"We are what we eat - but we are also what we ingest through our senses of hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, and smelling? These experiences, vital to the mind's ability to accurately understand and interact with its outer surroundings, leave physical, mental and emotional impressions that shape who we are and who we can become."
We all practice aromatherapy 24 hours a day. The air we breathe is a potpourri of scents from food, soaps, perfume, chemicals and living bodies of every sort.
Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to the mind, body and spirit.
Smells have a primal influence in our system. Anatomically, the nose is the gateway to the brain, and every scent we inhale exerts a direct influence on the mind and emotions. All scents ride into the body on the breath which carries a life force, also called prana. The nose is a gateway to the consciousness. Recent studies have found that foul odors foster antisocial behavior while flowery ones enhance learning ability and memory. In essence, aromas could be useful in environments such as classrooms, offices and even hospitals.
Scents have a unique capacity to evoke vivid impressions and emotional flavors, even ones that were formed before we had words to name them. Ayurvedic aromatherapy uses this capacity to use scents known for their effects on different body types to balance our mind and emotions.
Studies have confirmed the therapeutic and medicinal value of essences which Ayurvedic physicians discovered ages ago. While research has proven that essences have specific effects. In Ayurveda, not every effect is desirable for all people. A soothing, cooling scent that reduces stress in hot-tempered Pittas can produce stress in laid back Kaphas because it aggravates their sensitivity to cold and natural listlessness. In the same manner, a stimulating aroma that balances Kapha will aggravate Vata's already excitable nature. Effective aromatherapy requires a knowledge of the essences and the individuals who use them.
Plants used in aromatherapy have a life force and carry substances that contain all the purifying, nutritive and balancing properties to provide healing and relief. Extracted essential oils carry the plant hormones, the biochemical messengers that regulate the plants' life processes. It is the life force and intelligence of the plant and that we inhale in our bodies in aromatherapy. Pure essential oils have up to hundreds and sometimes thousands of biochemical components that cannot be replicated in synthetic or chemically isolated scents which when inhaled are likely to create imbalance in the central nervous system and precipitate allergic reactions.
Pure, natural scents used in Ayurvedic aromatherapy not only give instant sensual pleasure but also enliven the mind and balance the subtle energies of the body.