Using Essential Oils & Aromatherapy to Calm and Clear the Air
Some of us have been sequestered in close quarters for weeks now as we shelter-in-place due to the global health crisis and, besides moments of inspiration and bouts of boredom, can you identify another side effect of being quarantined indoors for months? Give up? It's called Nose Blindness.
Nose Blindness is a phenomenon when your nose can no longer detect certain smells because your receptors dull themselves to the point they no longer notice them. This isn't permanent but it tends to be more pronounced and last longer when spending a substantial amount of time in the same place –like most all of us have been doing for the last two months and counting...
You've likely cooked more meals than usual and worked out in front of your TV in lieu of the gym so you may have aromas roaming the halls from meals eaten or socks worn that are settling comfortably into fabrics and carpets without you realizing it. I'm definitely no exception as I have an energetic 3 year old Shih Tzu named MoJo, and between his expert lounging on our sunroom sofa while I sweat to online classes and workout DVD's, I'm sure we've both succumbed to said Nose Blindness.
True, you can wield that Febreeze bottle around like a ray gun, but masking the scent is never as effective as clearing the room of it entirely. Opening windows will certainly help move out the stale air but only as long as you can keep them open, which may not be feasible if it's too noisy outside between lawnmowers, yapping dogs or even if seasonal allergies affect you.
A Breath of Fresh Air – Essential Oils. They can either make a strong entrance or leave a graceful note, all depending on your preference. Real essential oils are extracted from plants through a process of distillation or cold pressing and is the concentrated "essence" of the plant, flower or herb from which it's derived. Essential Oils are an alternative and more natural way of introducing a clarifying scent into a space. Their scents are known to trigger a part of our brains associated with emotions and memories. As part of my Mindful Living Matters series, I'm sharing some of its known efficacy as well as three (3) ways I use them at home to re-energize and clear a space of stagnant air.
1. Not Your Mom's Potpourri
Remember the scented potpourri from your Mom's house that you were tempted to eat thinking it looked like a tasty treat, or am I the only one that did that as a kid? Well, fast forward to now, I seem to be making my own version of potpourri, yes it's true. For its inherent beauty, I've been collecting dried orchid blooms for a while and I've a bundle of them now that have found a new air on life. They dry beautifully and have a textured surface area. I place them in bowls or trinket trays and add droplets of oil. This does an amazing job of infusing the scent into the room to shift the energy of the current air. I've further discovered you can do the same with spent blooms and even moss. Now, I realize you can get an artificially-scented version of this probably at Bed, Bath and Beyond but I'm particular about the cleaner scent properties that come from eucalyptus and peppermint with its respective calming and energizing effects and that just isn't something found at mass retailers.
2. Good Fortune Shall Follow You
I always shove those hopeful fortunes slips found in fortune cookies in my pants and jacket pockets, even my wallet, and every so often, I'll pull them out of the pockets before I do the wash or find a cluster when I clean out the receipts inside my wallet. I admit I do re-read them again and then add them to a box. Once again, I've found a way to breathe new life into these strips of paper. They now become the carrier of essential oil and therapeutic scents. If you think about it, it's really no different that when you're avoiding the spritz counter at the local department stores where associates spritz every scent of expensive eau de toilettes onto paper strips, right? Anyways, I'll place these under my pillow, inside my sock drawers or generally next to places where I meditate or read. I'lll even put them back in my wallet once they're spritzed or doused and the scent follows me and reminds me of the good fortunes promised.
3. Picking Up the Scent Trail
By now, I'm starting to believe that I'm a bit of a packrat – picking up and collecting bits and bobs of paper, dried flowers, and now – rocks, pebbles, wood and coral remnants. There is a delight in the tactile qualities of these found objects so I can't resist adding these to bowls around the house. These may be elements you already have around the house as well so they can become a repository of scent when brought together because they're either porous or can easily absorb scent. This makes them ideal for places like the bathroom. They're easy to wash off again and replace with a new scent whenever the mood strikes. Anecdotally, matte porcelain material is also a great carrier of scent because of its porous and absorbent quality. If you smash a plate, the unglazed sections are a great area that holds scents
Favorite Essential Oil Brands and Therapeutic Fragrances
There are nearly 100 different pure essential oils and when they're combined to make a custom scent, the possibilities are endless. Part of the mystery and discovery of experimenting with essential oils is to find scents that either evoke an emotional response within you like calming (lavender) or energizing (peppermint). This can also help dictate which areas of the home you may want to use them. Additionally, and this is important please, note there is a difference between essential oils meant to be inhaled verse those made to be absorbed into the skin so please be sure and read the descriptions on the bottle first before applying. There are several brands that I've fallen for so I'm including their links here for you to try. Some are for diffusing and some are for wearing but all of these brands are superb in their quality and mission most are either organic or sustainably created.
Essential Oils and Therapeutic Fragrances:
Will Brown is a tastemaker and interior designer in the midwest and resides in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Owner of Will Brown Interiors LLC, Will helps the well-traveled create gracious homes by combining refined design with positive energy flow so they can achieve greater prosperity as he guides them toward more mindful living. Please be sure and sign up for future posts and newsletters to keep abreast of current and future projects.