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Aromatherapy & Essential Oils for Relaxation and Stress Relief

ABSTRACT

Sense organs are a very precious asset of our body. These are the means that allow us to sense and perceive what is going around us. One such organ is the nose. It has about 16000 sensors in each person that help it to smell, sense different types of aromas, identify them, as well as distinguish between them. These sensors even tell us whether or not a certain aroma is good or harmful for us. Among other senses, odor senses play an important role in our life when we encounter food and odorous substances in nature. Ayurveda presents a unique perspective regarding the sense organs and the perception of senses. How does the aroma of various objects affect us? What is aroma? What is the correlation between aroma and dosha in ayurveda? Let us answer all these questions through the following article.

Aromatherapy & Essential Oils for Relaxation and Stress Relief

INTRODUCTION

Aroma therapy is a holistic way of healing through the smell. The therapeutic use of various types of smells to improve the equilibrium between the bodily components (i.e. dosha according to ayurveda) is the main aim of aromatherapy. You can feel safer, more relaxed and enjoy a good night's sleep by breathing in essential oils or by using an aroma diffuser. It is said that this therapy is a boon for those who are suffering from anxiety, depression, mood swings and insomnia. In India, the scents of sandalwood and jasmine oil have been used since long ago to reduce stress levels among the people. When the aromatherapy is used in combination with the principles of ayurveda, it will yield very fruitful results benefitting the health. Let us discuss this concept of aromatherapy and ayurveda but first let's know more about aroma through the following content.

AROMA

Aroma has a variety of meanings. It generally is defined as a pleasing scent or smell that is pleasant to our senses. As the words suggest, aroma is not only limited to nice fragrances. It has an expansive meaning that includes colours, tastes and even scents (such as smoke). But in this article we are talking about aromatic substances and how they affect the mind and body. Aromatic materials such as powder, liquid or oil that can release a pleasant smell when burnt or exposed to heat are known as aromatics. These are obtained by distilling fragrant substances in the form of flammable gasses like hydrocarbons. No matter what economy, country and culture you live in, you have undoubtedly come across aromatic oils and other materials that have an important role in your daily life. They are used in different ways depending upon the source. So, let us learn about other uses of aromatic material. In order to understand this idea better, one must know the role aromatherapy plays in traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda.

AROMATHERAPY AND AYURVEDA

The ayurvedic principles consider the three pillars of life to be the three dosha i.s. Vata, pitta and kapha. The health of the body is dependent on the equilibrium between these three dosha, and the imbalance between these will result in the diseased state. Hence, it is essential to always put efforts to maintain these dosha in the normal range. There can be a correlation seen between the aroma of various elements with the state of the dosha in the body. The olfactory stimulus can be used to improve the status of the mind. For instance,

  • Keep a fresh bouquet of fragrant flowers for healing vata through smell.
  • You can burn sandalwood or plant a fragrant sweet mint in your home to help the healing of pitta dosha.
  • You can keep fresh eucalyptus near you to heal the kapha dosha through smell.
  • These are just a few examples of aromatherapy, it has a very wide range of implementations to improve the vitiation of dosha in the body. Let us discuss this concept of aroma and dosha through the following explanation.

AROMATHERAPY IN ACCORDANCE WITH SPECIFIC DOSHA

The three dosha in the ayurvedic literature are considered to be a result of a combination of five elements i.e. akash, vayu, agni, jal, prithvi. The dominance of different elements will result in different properties of the three dosha. The aggravation can be balanced by managing the condition using the opposite property increasing elements. Let us discuss this concept in a bit detailed manner in accordance with each individual dosha.

1. VATA DOSHA

Imbalance - The vata dosha is believed to be composed of all the five elements i.e. akash, vayu, agni, jal, prithvi with the dominance of akash (space) and vayu (air). If there is vitiation or aggravation of the vata dosha in the body, the imbalance will present with various features. This will be responsible for the increased anxiousness, fear or worry. The patient may feel overwhelmed and an increased state of restlessness is experienced.

Aromatherapy - The features presented due to the imbalance in vata can be managed using the elements of the opposite character. As already mentioned, the vata comprises Akash (space) and vayu (air), so the elements with the dominance of agni (fire), jal (water) and prithvi (earth). This will help to provide a grounding, calming, and comforting effect on the body.

2. PITTA DOSHA

Imbalance - The pitta dosha is believed to be composed of all the five elements i.e. akash, vayu, agni, jal, prithvi with the dominance of agni (fire). If there is vitiation or aggravation of the pitta dosha in the body, the imbalance will present with various features. This will be responsible for the increased irritability, aggression, and short temperedness. The patient may become very impatient and aggressive on frequent instances.

Aromatherapy - The features presented due to the imbalance in pitta can be managed using the elements of the contrasting property. As already mentioned, the pitta comprises agni (fire), so the elements with the dominance of jal (water) and prithvi (earth). This will help to provide a soothing, cooling and hardening effect on the body.

3. KAPHA DOSHA

Imbalance - The kapha dosha is believed to be composed of all the five elements i.e. akash, vayu, agni, jal, prithvi with the dominance of jal (water) and prithvi (earth). If there is vitiation or aggravation of the kapha dosha in the body, the imbalance will present with various features. This will be responsible for the low mood, withdrawal from normally enjoyable activities, denial, etc. The patient may feel demotivated and worthlessness is experienced.

Aromatherapy - The features presented due to the imbalance in kapha can be managed using the elements of the opposite character. As already mentioned, the kapha comprises jal (water) and prithvi (earth), so the elements with the dominance of agni (fire), akash (space) and vayu (air). This will help to provide an uplifting, cherishing and motivating effect on the body.

ESSENTIAL OILS AND DOSHA BALANCE

There can be various types of essential oils that will help to boost the health status of the body. There are a variety of essential oils which can be used according to the dosha which will be mentioned as follows.

1. Essential oils and aroma for Vata Dosha - The aroma with earthy, warming and calming characteristics will be beneficial for improving the condition of vata dosha. Some of these can be as follows -

  • Almond
  • Frankincense
  • Sweet orange
  • Lavender
  • Vanilla

2. Essential oils and aroma for Pitta Dosha - The aroma with sweet, crisp and cooling characteristics will be beneficial for improving the condition of pitta dosha. Some of these can be as follows -

  • Peppermint
  • Cucumber
  • Aloe vera
  • Jasmine
  • Rose

3. Essential oils and aroma for Kapha Dosha - The aroma with uplifting, spicy and warming characteristics will be beneficial for improving the condition of kapha dosha. Some of these can be as follows -

  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Pine
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Eucalyptus

CONCLUSION

Putting all the above described information briefly, it can be stated that the aromatherapy when combined with the ayurvedic principles, has the potential to yield great results. One desirous of a healthy and peaceful mind can always utilize these combined (aromatherapy with ayurveda) therapies to attain the needful. Ayurvedic principles never fail to astonish us, and aromatherapy when used in combination will improve the state of mind and take us a step closer to healthy living.

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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

MD (ALT. MEDICINE)

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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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