Breeze through spring with an essence for every step of the season
Spring is a time of year to embrace growth and change by re-energising our bodies and minds. The days grow longer, the air gets warmer and holds more moisture as winter thaws around us. As much as it can look like a still from a Disney film, any change in climate can have a direct impact on our wellbeing. Changes in air temperature, light and routine affect our internal chemistry, so our bodies have to alter their physiological mechanisms to accommodate the shift.
“When seasons change, aromatherapy is the best place to start in terms of healing,” says herbalist, aromatherapist, naturopath and Neal’s Yard ambassador Tipper Lewis. “It’s versatile, effective and non-invasive. If you pair it with herbal teas for a holistic internal approach, the body will respond even more quickly.”
So how can smelling a particular scent affect our physiology? Quite simply, our sense of smell is more immediate and sensitive than any of our other senses. The use of aromatherapy stimulates the smell receptors in the nose directly linked to the limbic system, which is tied to the emotions, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory and stress. Here are my favourite oils that best work to help you feel lighter and maintain maximum wellbeing as the seasons change.
The element for spring is wood, which represents growth and change. Different seasonal energies and Qi are directly linked to different internal organs, and the wood element is directly linked to our liver, which is why some may experience digestive issues at this time. Apply peppermint oil to a base oil such as almond, and then a few drops to the palms of your hands and massage onto the lower abdomen. The oil works as an antispasmodic, which means it supresses muscle spasm and eases the symptoms of IBS or indigestion, as well as relieving stress and anxiety.
This one often takes people back to their youths in one inhalation thanks to tea tree oil being a hot topic in the world of teenage skincare. But more than being a good remedy for acne-prone complexions, tea tree has immune stimulation properties to aid the body in fighting off infection, and a good steam inhalation of the oil really wards off common colds. If you’re feeling congested, this will do the trick of easing sinuses and letting you breathe more fluidly.
You won’t be alone if you’ve never heard of frankincense outside of the Christmas story, but aside from being hailed as the perfect gift for the son of God a good few centuries back, it’s only been in recent years that the essential oil has started to make waves in the Western world, despite being one of the most ancient oils around today. Often referred to as ‘liquid gold’, frankincense oil helps to relax the diaphragm, which means deeper inhales and longer exhales happen more fluidly, it also helps to soothe the mucus membranes which means you can say goodbye chesty coughs!
A steam inhalation works wonders on the complexion (bonus), as well as the mind by kicking headaches to the curb and improving focus. That gorgeous cooling sensation you’ll feel on the inhalation works wonders on respiratory ailments, which is why the oil has been popular in saunas and steam rooms for so long. It warms the mucous membrane to help break congestion, and ease the breath ahead of any brewing ailments.
It gets some serious air time for being the oil that gets us off to the land of nod in a heartbeat, and seeing as poor sleep is directly linked to a weakened immune system, this isn’t an oil that should be overlooked come spring. On top of that, lavender acts as a mild pain killer, easing headaches, migraines or any muscular or nerve pain your body might be experiencing through the change in season.
This low creeping plant is as popular as a medicinal herb as it is a culinary favourite. As a member of the mint family, thyme’s antiseptic and anti-fungal properties are a great remedy for easing any symptoms of coughs or colds. It’s one of the gentler essential oils, but that’s not to say its benefits aren’t hugely powerful, especially when added to an almond base oil. Draw a bath and add small cup to running water and say hello to improved circulation, soothed muscles and clear sinuses.
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