If you’ve ever gotten that warm, homey feeling from the scent of vanilla extract or felt rejuvenated after a cup of peppermint tea, you understand that your sense of smell can affect the way you feel. Aromatherapy is a practice that recognizes that sense as a powerful — and often untapped — tool for lifting your mood, treating aches and pains, and relaxing your mind and spirit during even the most stressful of times.
By using essential oils — naturally extracted from plants through pressing methods or steam distillation — different scents can be used to achieve different results. For a mental boost and physical boost, try the following for:
- Stress Relief: Lavender. One of the most popular essential oils, lavender has a wonderful, soothing fragrance. When diluted with water and misted over pillows and sheets, its clean and soothing scent is a great way to help you fall asleep. Next time you’re out, pick up some lavender oil. Then, when you head to bed, curl up with your partner and enjoy the intimacy of drifting off in each other’s arms.
- Self-Esteem: Citrus. A feel-good fragrance if there ever was one, bright, fresh, and bold citrusy scents — like grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime — increase alertness and evoke positive emotions. Dilute citrus in a carrier oil or lotion and dab it beneath your jaw line and on the undersides of your wrists. It’ll be sure to put some pep in your step.
- Sadness: Rose. The soft floral scent of roses is said to soothe frayed nerves and help alleviate sadness. If you’re going through a hard time, such as family troubles or a separation, add a few drops to a hot bath and soak away your sorrows. You could also enjoy a steaming cup of rosehip tea as you express your feelings in a journal.
- Fatigue: Peppermint. With its cool, refreshing, menthol scent, peppermint is regarded for its ability to stimulate the senses, thereby stimulating the mind and increasing focus. If you often find yourself hitting that afternoon slump at work, keep your essential oil handy! A few drops in your afternoon tea, or even smelling a little bit soaked into a cotton ball, could be enough to get you through the end of the day. As a bonus, it’s a great breath freshener. Put a drop under your tongue just before you get home from work, and you’ll be awake and super kissable.
- Aphrodisiacs: Jasmine, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood. In addition to smelling wonderful, these four seductive and romantic scents are hailed for their natural aphrodisiac and libido-increasing capabilities. Blend them into creamy Shea butter for the ultimate sexy massage surprise.
When it comes to enjoying the healing properties of essential oils, there’s more than one way to do it. Aside from diffuser or candles, you can:
- Add a few drops to a hot bath before a long soak to relax at the end of a long day.
- Fill a bowl with warm water, add a few drops of essential oil, and soak a washcloth to use as a hot compress to apply to muscles that need a little TLC.
- Add five drops to steaming water, create a “towel tent” by placing a towel around your head to prevent steam from escaping, and inhale. This is great if you have a cold!
- Combine a few drops with your favorite lotion or body butter to use it as a treatment for your skin. Rub it on after a shower or, better yet, grab your partner and take turns giving each other sensual, healing massages. However, a word for the wise: Never use undiluted essential oils on your skin! Because they are so condensed and come straight from the plant source, undiluted oils can cause rashes, burns, and other skin irritations that definitely wouldn’t be sexy!
Aromatherapy is an easy, natural, and enjoyable way to unwind, relax, and mentally decompress. It’s good for your mind and it’s great for your love life! Feeling relaxed and happy allows you to be more open and receptive to your partner, while any form of self-pampering goes leaps and bounds in making you feel sexier.
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