Printed in Sweat Equity Magazine Dec/Jan 2017
Cold and flu season (if you want to call it a season) is here. But don’t surrender just yet! You have your own personal defense team, designed to protect you against external and environmental attacks, such as colds and flus: Your immune system. The stronger your immune system is, the less likely you are to get sick. As the colder months roll in (and settle in, unfortunately), it’s important to support our body’s innate healing capacities with natural preventative methods, like aromatherapy.
Research has shown (and can help us to understand) how the aromatic use of essential oils benefits our overall health and well-being. Diffusing high-quality oils impacts specific receptors in the brain, causing certain chemical reactions. And depending on their chemical make-up, pure essential oils can create an uplifting, energizing, or calming effect, helping to manage our mood while providing immunological benefits.
Smell is considered to be the most powerful of our five senses, easily evoking various mental, emotional, and physiological responses with just one inhale. Think back to when you were a child and the smell of fresh-baked bread greeted you at the front door when you got home from school. Does that scent create a feeling of well-being in you today? Maybe your grandmother liked to have fresh lilacs in her apartment, a scent that still reminds you of her. Our sense of smell is linked to the limbic system of the brain—an area that triggers and stores emotions and memory. Just as baked bread triggers warm feelings of home, the aromatic use of essential oils is a quick and convenient way to evoke healthy responses from the brain. Just a quick sniff from the bottle will do the trick!
Immune Health Makes Good Sense!
Here are 4 ways to use aromatic oils to strengthen your immunity:
• Replace household cleaners with wild orange or lemon essential oil or diffuse a small amount in your home. Not only does this cleanse the air you breathe, but it also reduces the chemicals ingested from your cleaning products.
• Good quality sleep is critical for maintaining a healthy immune system. Put a few drops of lavender or cedarwood in your diffuser at night to enjoy the relaxing aroma and catch some deep zzzzs.
• Daily exercise builds immunity. (It doesn’t have to be high intensity; a 20-minute walk will do!) Inhale peppermint straight from the bottle for an energizing boost!
• Use lavender or a grounding blend of essential oils to calm and relax your mind in preparation for yoga or meditation.
Bonus: Diffusing a couple of drops of cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, or a blend of any of these three will make your house smell wonderful (especially at this time of year) and support immune health!
All-Natural All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 3/4 cups water
30 drops essential oil (lemon, wild orange, tea tree, or a combination of these)