Chances are you've heard of or experienced aromatherapy at some point in your life. But did you know just how strongly scent influences the brain? Imagine, for example, the soothing scent of lavender. Even just one whiff evokes a gorgeous mental image –– maybe even memory –– of vast fields of the stuff in your mind's eye, like pretty purple skies stretching on and on to meet the horizon.
You can almost smell it, and if you're like me, you already feel more relaxed and at ease.
Aromatherapy is, quite literally, the belief that aromatic oils from plants have healing properties –– and that, in using them, we can enhance our moods, improve overall health and wellness, and even achieve a state of mindfulness in our everyday lives.
I'm no expert on the subject, so when I had the opportunity to tap one of the masterminds behind aromatherapy and essential oil brand Vitruvi, Sara Panton, I jumped at the chance. Sara, who left medical school to start Vitruvi with her brother and co-founder Sean, has used her knowledge to marry the science of scent with the desire to help people live more intentionally. Health is wealth, after all.
We asked Sara for her insight on how to use scent, which she calls "the most powerful yet under-utilized of the senses," in order to live more mindfully every day. With the hectic and oft times stressful holiday season right around the corner, I couldn't think of a better time than now to personally incorporate the use of essential oils into my daily schedule, and to feel more at home this fall season.
For readers who are new to aromatherapy, what tips and/or scents might you suggest to get them started?
I would say there are really so many options and so many opportunities to weave the benefit of scent and specifically essential oils throughout your day. Most people's early morning routine is regularly easy to integrate aroma into, much like the smell of coffee helps wake many of us up, using aroma such as eucalyptus in your morning shower can help to promote deeper breathing and alertness and is also 100% natural and smells like a spa.
Another favourite way to start the day is with our WAKE face & body mist. It's a natural mist made of essential oils extracted from juniper, eucalyptus, black pepper and bergamot. It's a beautiful complex blend that also makes a great natural make up setting spray. Used consistently, the aroma triggers the brain to 'wake up' and it becomes just as routine as coffee.
Favorite essential oils for winding down your day?
Lavender and Geranium. Our Lavender is beautiful and is 100% certified organic and sourced from the high alpine regions of France. It literally smells like France in a bottle and helps [me to unwind] at the end of the day and right before bed.
Our Geranium essential oil is also incredibly beautiful and my personal favourite essential oil. It is a beautiful mix of feminine and fresh, with floral notes and undertones of spearmint.
Best mood-enhancing essential oils to use if you're having a bad day?
Anything citrus. Some of our favourites are Lemon, Tangerine, Sweet Orange and Pink Grapefruit.
Favorite scents for meditation and boosting mindfulness in everyday rituals?
Our STILL essential oil blend was actually created as an ode to modern meditation. In an experiment we combined the 7 essential oils that are associated with each of the 7 chakras in Ayurvedic Medicine; what resulted was an incredible complex –– grounding yet fresh and up-lifting.
With essential oils sourced from around the world including sandalwood, frankincense, geranium, rose, and mandarin, it can help establish your meditation practice when used in moments of silence.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Vitruvi is a company made up of really incredible and innovative people that believe in living naturally as well as intentionally. Our online journal is a great place to find DIY's and hundreds of ways to use essential oils in everyday ways as both a natural alternative to traditional products as well as a completely customizable way to integrating essential oils and aroma into your day. We love hearing blending tips or suggestions from our community and share them regularly.