Thursday, July 22, 2010

Your Nose Knows: Making Sense of Scents

Aromatherapy is a way to improve the quality of everyday living on many levels – physical, emotional and spiritual. It is already a part of our everyday living, although we may not have associated the name to the experience.

Everyone has had emotional responses to certain scents, both pleasant and unpleasant. The idea behind aromatherapy is, first, to find the special scents, unique for each individual, that provide positive sensory feelings and emotions, and, then, to introduce those scents into our daily life to enhance our well-being. Scents keep us connected to Mother Earth. Essential oils recall memories and emotions. Awakening to the benefits of aromatherapy is like a re-connection to our roots. Essential oils are known to cause virtually no side effects if used properly; nearly all are inhaled or are applied directly to the skin.

Though aromatherapy is so well regarded and widespread in England, Germany and France that it is sometimes covered by insurance, the fact is it is not yet recognized here in the US by the powers that be. I received my massage therapy license in 1990 and have been exploring the world of Aromatherapy ever since.

Wives' tales or direct experience?

Fighting viruses, Aids, the process of aging, alleviating some symptoms of Alzheimers, as a deep sleep aid...
A blast of rosemary is said to fight headaches, while whiffing fennel may help fight flab....does peppermint oil help people stay mentally alert?....The late Princess Diana used orange blossom, a natural sedative, to curb her nail-biting and Goldie Hawn and Elizabeth Taylor smear on Aveda lipstick made with basil, a natural relaxant. Ever go into the steamroom/sauna and enjoy the scent of mint/eucalyptus?

In an introductory presentation, I briefly define aromatherapy and essential oils, give some history and guidelines for usage. I also point out some examples of how the medical community is looking into serious adjunctive applications for aromatherapy.

Workshop participants share some experiences with positive associations of scents – enjoy comparing the effect of the aromas on the mood, energy, and are coached on 'developing a nose' for some of the most common essential oils (there are more than 200).

Suggested introductory recipes are provided and recommendations for specific essential oils/blends for both personal use and those that can be used to support each room in the apartment. Workshop content is geared to the specific audience and length of allotted time. Often a two hour introductory presentation leads to an encore -- following-up next steps that emerge through our interaction. Health practitioners receive presentations addressing the application with their clients/patients.

Here's some of the feedback from a recent presentation at an independent living residence that included staff:

How meaningful the workshop was and how bonding for the staff -- impactful -lovely --enjoyable
Like therapeutic music and song, aromatherapy also accompanies all of my BodyArts modalities. These include Integral massage, the YESSS! Method of Restorative yoga, Tai Chi for Arthritis, for Diabetes, TaiChi@Work, Tai Chi for Kidz, Tai Ji Dance of the Five Elements, vegan transition cooking, meditation and self-acupressure. There are aromatherapy applications to all rooms in our homes, all activities, and all self-care.

The American Cancer Society understands that aromatherapy may be helpful for cancer patients, including those with mesothelioma, a form of cancer, when used in harmony with conventional cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy. Aromatherapy is said to relieve pain and headaches, re-establish a sense of balance and calm, and may even promote immune system utility. For more information about malignant mesothelioma and additional content on complementary therapies for cancer patients, please visit

Many Species...One Planet...One Future

Yours in Wellness, Gratitude, and Healing Fragrance,
Suzen Sharda Segall

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© Suzen Sharda Segall 2010,

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Suzen Sharda Segall, Wellness Personal Trainer/Consultant, designer and facilitator of BodyArts Therapeutics, has provided an integrated approach to health and wellness for a wide variety of populations, internationally,for over thirty-five years

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