AROMATHERAPY AND AYURVEDA: COMPLIMENTARY APPROACHES TO A WELL-BALANCED LIFE
Ayurveda believes that health results from harmony within one’s self. Thus, its ultimate aim is to help us create and maintain balance in our bodies and minds, and further, in our lives. But what is balance really? One of my favorite definitions for balance is: harmony of design and proportion. How does that apply to us living a well-balanced life? I believe that our bodies are intelligently designed to run smoothly. Sure there are things that go “out-of-whack” sometimes, but we have innate processes to bring us back into balance. In our modern times however, it seems like there is a disproportionate amount to do, to keep up with, to accomplish. Overwhelm and multi-tasking are the norm. That is one of the main factors in our imbalance or disequilibrium – both individually and collectively as a society. Let’s face it, it’s hard to stay steady and in balance when there is too heavy of a load to carry. It’s tricky to juggle too many balls at once while maintaining stability, keeping our cool and remaining focused.
Ayurveda helps us understand ourselves in a way that makes good common sense, and leads us to proper choices to re-establish balance and feel rejuvenated. We can quickly assess what is out of balance by noticing signs and symptoms in the body and/or mind (assess yourself by clicking here) and finding what we need to remedy ourselves. The quickest, easiest and most enduring remedies I have found have been in the world of Aromatherapy (see our blog introducing our aromas by clicking here).
Aromatherapy is powerful for many reasons. First of all, it’s easy to “do” – meaning we don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary in order to receive the benefits. All we have to do is breathe, which is something we do without even thinking about 23,000 times a day! Secondly, when we inhale aromas, they don’t need to cross the blood/brain barrier as they travel immediately into the limbic part of the brain, which controls mood, emotion, memory and learning. This means that the positive effects are instantaneous. Another reason Aromatherapy is so powerful is that it creates a sensation of pleasure (assuming the aroma is pleasant to the recipient’s nose) and heightens the hormonal response to pleasure, which makes us feel good. Also, when the aromas are applied to the skin, whether palms, wrists or other points on the body, there is great benefit, as the therapeutic intelligence from the plants themselves enters the bloodstream, circulating throughout the body, initiating a cascade of events though metabolic processes that bring us into greater balance.
The marriage of Aromatherapy and Ayurveda offers an enlightened recipe for self-care. We identify more deeply with ourselves through smell and taste, and can use aromas, spices, herbs and food to embody the wisdom of the plants. As we connect more intuitively with the natural world through Ayurveda and Aromatherapy, we see that both offer simple yet profound methods to care for ourselves in a way that feels good, empowers us to make healthy choices, and inspires a lifestyle of greater harmony in design and proportion.