Monday, May 6, 2013

Getting the Punch of Aromatherapy Cheaply

Now for a deviation into an isolated mental health technique, and good way to save money at it.

I think it's vastly understated how extremely effective it can be to use aromatherapy to nurture mental health. Applied only mildly, sure, it has some relaxing effects, but a few simple tweaks can have a dramatic impact, which is an immense boost to helping you not only keep stress under control, but also keep your cognition together, say in the case that an intense emotion might urge you to nail a bad thinking pattern down.

For me, I have to say that aromatherapy may have outright cured my rage problems. A good while ago -- though not anymore, thankfully -- I used to work at a restaurant that had a particularly abusive staff, and it resulted in some tremendous anger problems in me. I used to get myself really worked up even in the privacy of my own home, and be stuck in my fumes for hours. Upon a random discovery, I found that applying aromatherapy at those pivotal moments made me feel like my brain was being "punched" with relaxation: I'd inhale the scent, my brain stem would throb with comfort, and the anger would instantly vanish, to be replaced with inner peace.

However, aromatherapy as recommended tends to be far more expensive than it needs to be, and the particular methodology popularly suggested is quite flawed, making it even more pricey.

For instance, I think it's wasteful to go for things such as scented candles, for unless you're trying to impress a house guest those aroma molecules are going to fill up the receptors in your nose rather quickly, and once they're filled the scent not going to have that impact on your mental health anymore -- you won't even be able to detect it -- so you'll fill the air up with aroma that will cease to be noticed after ten or fifteen minutes. If you have hours to burn yet out of that candle, that's money down the drain for aromatherapy that won't work after your receptors are filled.

The essential thing I've found to making it cheap is grasping that aromatherapy is its most potent when you're experiencing an intense emotion or longing (such as comfort from depression), so you only need to apply it during those emotional experiences, rather than having it fill up your home all the time. Additionally, you need a great variety of scents, for that receptor-thing can render you numb to a particular scent relatively quickly, or at least vastly weaken it over time, so it's a must to have alternatives on hand.

Here's what you do: Buy some cheap vials of essential oils, and simply open and sniff them when you want to calm down, relax, or whatever. Don't apply them to your skin or evaporate them on a hot plate; kept in their vials, they should remain potent for years, which means you could buy an aromatherapy kit that's not only super-cheap, but also lasts virtually forever. With the money saved you could keep adding to the variety.

I say this because in curing my rage problems I found that a few simple inhalations were all I needed for the anger to dissipate. I'd run to the bathroom in a panic of my growing seethe, start smelling a desired vial, and it was so deeply relaxing that I'd be alright for hours, or the rest of the day even. Just a minute or less of smelling was needed; not hours of burning a candle.

Though! Remember to use aromatherapy only as a supplement. It's a vast physiological help, but will only go so far in treating physical symptoms, whereas you'll have to take an additional effort to identify and understand your emotions, and change your thinking patterns. For me, I would resort to such things as journal writing afterward, before which I used aromatherapy to clear my head, otherwise my explosive mood would prevent me from thinking and writing clearly, and I wouldn't be able to calm down by that method, perhaps. However dramatically effective, it's only a boost, an aid to other methods needed for long-term thinking habit change.

Now, as for an actual source, I'll go ahead and suggest my own favorite perfumery, Deb's Oils. The smallest vials -- which are all you need -- run about $3 a pop, so you could get an already effective collection just by buying three vials for $9, which was about all I had in curing my own anger, or spend more or else using future money savings to expand the collection to keep various scents potent.

If you treat them right, all these vials could last you forever, so you'll always have this emotional helper at hand, and won't have to waste money on hours-burning candles, those bath salts,  or fancy potpourri to tuck in your pillow at night.

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