Restoring Connection through Aromatherapy

helpful advice Aug 12, 2021

Restoring Connection through Aromatherapy

              Connection is one of the most essential needs of human beings. The mutual exchange of energy fosters acceptance, love, and allows for individuals to feel heard and seen. This improves the wellbeing of a person by increasing self-esteem, happiness, and the overall satisfaction of one’s life. When connection is cut-off, studies have shown that health declines both physically and emotionally, self-care routines are diminished, and relationships can struggle.
              One study showed that "a lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure", and inversely, a strong social connection leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity, strengthens our immune system, and helps us recover from disease faster. People who feel more connected to others have lower rates of anxiety and depression." Moreover, research studies show they also have higher self-esteem, are more empathic to others, more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them. Social connectedness therefore generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.

             The year of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has proven how important human connection is through its absence, especially for the elderly and more vulnerable populations. Many people that hadn't seen their loved ones in-person in over a year due to protecting them in long term care communities, noticed diminished health both physically and mentally.  Also a sense of distance that they had never felt before. Now with the rise of the Delta-variant, many are social distancing  and or being more selective with how much time they're socializing in person once again.

A question remains: How can we maintain human connection in safe and loving ways?

           Aromatherapy has many well-researched and proven benefits, most of which can be can be individualized to respect comfort levels. When you create a nurturing and soothing environment, aromatherapy naturally releases oxytocin, the "feel-good hormone" our body produces when we are content and feeling joyful. Here are some wonderful examples!

Cultivating Mindfulness
Sacred essential oils like Frankincense are a wonderful aroma to connect to yourself through. Creating a quiet space where you can relax your body, inhale the aroma, find stillness, and notice how you are feeling, helps you reconnect to your emotional state and higher consciousness. Mindfulness has the ability to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest & digest) which in turn reduces anxiety, changes the perception of pain, and produces chemicals in the body to neutralize stress. In practicing this a few times, your brain will have created a neuroconnection between this feeling of peace and the scent of oil, making future stress reduction just a sniff away!

Use A Diffuser
Using an essential oil diffuser while hosting or meeting again, indoors or outdoors, can help bring some lightness & cheerfulness! Our suggestion would be something bright and uplifting, such as a citrus essential oils: any single or combination of single oils like Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, or Grapefruit. If you're unable to see a loved one for the time being, diffusing an aroma that they love or remind you of them is an accessible way to have their energy present in your space.

Hand Massages
Your loved one may be longing for touch after being isolated for so long. Maybe you were the person who fulfilled that sense of touch previously through hugs, a hand on their arm, or even holding hands as you spoke. Gaining consent to give them a hand massage with a diluted massage oil infused with Lavender or a blend like Comfort may help fulfill a need for touch.

Connect to Nature
Intentionally spending time outside smelling fresh air, fresh flowers, the crisp leaves on a fall day, or even fresh cut grass does wonders for overall wellbeing. But what if access to nature is limited, or difficult to make time for? Aromatherapy is a great tool to help reconnect a person to nature. Bringing a floral scent such as Geranium or Rose, a woody-scent like Cedarwood, and something fresh and citrusy like Lemon. Sit down together and take turns inhaling each scent, use guided imagery to foster a multi-sensory connection to nature! 

            The benefits of aromatherapy can provide a path to healing, re-establishing connection to loved ones and getting back on the track of nurturing human relationships. Enjoy the precious time you once again get to spend together, safely and with aromatic bliss!



Guest Blog Writer: Sheila Kenyon
Editor: Maya Baglien

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