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ALL Healthy Family News
Volume 2 No. 4, June 2002

Ayurveda and Aromatherapy

A pleasing environment can appeal to the senses which, in turn, creates an impact on your physiology. The senses bring in information from the outside that can affect the balance of the doshas and dhatus, and thus affect your health. According to Vedic thought, the ego, intellect, mind, and the senses are sequential manifestations of consciousness. Every sense has a direct channel to the brain and, through the limbic system and other channels, affects the whole physiology. Because of this, Ayurveda uses methods that appeal to the senses, thus balancing them and through them, balancing your whole mind/body system. Although Ayurveda uses therapies that appeal to all the senses, today I will discuss the sense of smell.

The ancient texts of Ayurveda considers the use of aromatics, or “aroma” therapy, as an important tool for prevention and healing. Aromatherapy utilizes the medicinal properties found in the essential oils of various plants. Fragrances can have a strong effect on the emotions, making us calm or invigorated depending on the aroma. As we breathe, odor-bearing molecules activate receptors in the nose. These translate into nerve impulses, which reach the olfactory bulbs in the brain. These bulbs are directly connected to the limbic area of the brain surrounding the hypothalamus, which processes emotions, and to the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for memory. This direct connection to these areas is why aromas can have a profound and immediate effect on a very deep aspect of our wellbeing.

Most often the aroma oils are diffused through the air by putting drops of oil in aroma pots or aroma diffusers. If you need to balance your physiology for weight loss, then an aroma oil with invigorating scents such as ginger, orange, lemon, fennel or grapefruit will stimulate your metabolism. Aroma oils are used for everything from enlivening to calming the environment.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are the aromatic or volatile constituents of the plant’s oil (its essence) and contain the most active physiological properties. Through a process of steam distillation or cold-pressing, the plant’s essence can be extracted from its flowers, leaves, branches, or roots, in fact, all parts of the plant. Some plants have high concentrations of essential oils, which the plants have developed for their own protection against bugs, fungus or other types of invaders. Ayurveda uses these as herbs to aid in your body’s defense.

In the case of aromas, flowers produce essential oils that can have relaxing or even a narcotic effect. Many leaves have cooling properties, roots can be calming or “grounding”, barks and resins produce heating essential oils that actively move fluids in the body, and fruits can be expanding and stimulating.

Ayurveda uses a wide range of aromas, usually floral or herbal essential oils, precisely calibrated to pacify specific doshas or subdoshas. They are used in treatments at Maharishi Ayur-Veda Health Centers or can be used at home. These Therapeutic Aroma™ scents can do wonders for your mind and physiology as well as create a welcoming and soothing atmosphere in your home. Therapeutic Aroma scents use the finest and freshest ingredients.

Dr. Kumuda Reddy, a former faculty member of Albany Medical College, is an authentic Ayurveda expert and author of the best-selling book Conquering Chronic Disease. She offers Ayurvedic care for the ultimate relief of chronic disorders, combined with conventional medicine as needed. Treating men, women and children for over 25 years, her non-hormone, holistic treatments for menstrual and menopausal disorders have effectively helped many women when those blue, stressful times occur. For a consultation with Dr. Reddy call 301 770-0610 or 877 589-0590, or visit her website at www.allhealthyfamily.com.

See Questions and Answers and Case Histories on Ayurveda for more information.

For a complete listing of health tips order Dr. Reddy’s books.

© Samhita Productions 2002

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