Aromatherapy in Practice

Photo by Elise D.

Essential oils are now commonly used for beauty and health, becoming “essential” in more ways than one. This is not only because of the many benefits they provide, including relaxation and topical healing, but also because of the use of diffusers. A diffuser emits a thin mist that is made up of vaporized water and essential oil, filling the air with the fragrance of your choice.

Aromatherapy is defined as a way to stimulate brain function through the process of inhaling plant extracts, such as essential oils. Of course, there are different scents that are used to target specific things, such as peppermint for boosting energy or lemongrass to relieve headaches.

Diffusers can be used in a wide variety of places, from dorm rooms to yoga studios. Kathleen Ammon, yoga teacher and massage therapist, says, “Scents have such a strong influence on the body and mind, and a person can use a variety of scents for different reasons. Scents can trigger memories and emotions, as well as create moments of calm, excitement, clarity and many others.”

Yoga studios have picked up the trend by using essential oils in their practices. This enhances the combination of a physical and mental exercise. Valley took advantage of Lila Yoga Studio’s week of free practices and attended an “Empowerment” yoga session. The room was filled wall-to-wall with people, and also included a table with essential oil diffusers.

Ammon says, “In morning classes I’ll use citrus scents to energize and wake people up. Rosemary is great for a refreshing, reenergizing environment, so it is really good to use in an afternoon class.”

In a similar situation, that stuffy dorm room smell won’t go away on its own, and diffusers have become a perfect replacement for candles. Essential oil diffusers don’t use fire and turn off automatically once the water reservoir is empty. They also come with timers that vary depending on the model you purchase.

It can seem a little pricey to continuously buy a 10-milliliter bottle but each use of a diffuser only requires a few drops; so, that tiny bottle lasts longer than you might think. There are a few different ways to find the best price for essential oils: Amazon sells a bottle for around $9 and it is delivered straight to your front door. They can also be found in some grocery stores like Trader Joe’s. Valley has found that the best price can be found at your local TJ Maxx or Marshalls where they sell packs of six for only $6.99.

“By diffusing essential oils in your house you can choose what kind of environment you are walking into or being present in,” Ammon says. “Using essential oils in your yoga practice can help you remember parts of your practice when you are off of the mat.”

Before use, Valley strongly encourages you to read the directions and warnings on the bottle as it clearly states “for external use only.” Find your favorite scents and happy sniffing!