Ayurveda – Part VIII: Essential Oils Ayurveda Tips

Today we talk about essential oils. Smell has a great influence on mental and emotional level. When inhaled, odor-carrying molecules activate receptors in the nose, which are translated into nerve impulses. These messages are immediately sent to the limbic area of the brain, where emotions are processed.

The limbic system is related to our emotional responses and survival instinct. This direct connection explains why aromas have a profound and immediate effect on us, which can affect emotions, as well as stimulate memory, desires and appetite.
Joana Silva, Nurse, Therapist, Blogger, Terapias D’Alma

For example: whenever I smell the wet earth after rain, I am transported to my childhood; the smell of certain herbs reminds me of my maternal grandmother; the smell of warm bread whets my appetite for a delicious snack.

Essential oils have effects on body and mind: for mental stimulation, we can use eucalyptus essential oil; if we want to calm nerves we can choose lavender essential oil; for anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects we have patchouli essential oil, for example. When we combine essential oils with another therapy such as massage, or even meditation or relaxation exercise, the effects are enhanced.

Joana Silva, Nurse, Therapist, Blogger, Terapias D’Alma

In Ayurveda, each dosha benefits from different essential oils, taking into account their specific characteristics and the effects of the plants used.

So, according to Dr. Vasant Lad:

• Vata, the most anxious dosha, can benefit from warm and sweet aromas, which help to root. Among them, for example, camphor, cloves, lavender and frankincense.

• Pitta can be soothed with fresh, sweet and calming oils, such as jasmine, rose, mint and geranium. In this way we “refresh” the Fire of this dosha.

• For Kapha we need warm and stimulating aromas, to contradict the tendency of the Earth element that can lead to stagnation and apathy. For this purpose, essential oils such as myrrh, eucalyptus, black pepper and bay leaf can be chosen.

We must be careful with excess. The aim is to promote balance and not to create another imbalance. That is the reason why it is important to ask for the help of a therapist who will help you find the ideal aromas, and who will also advise you on how to use them during treatments and / or on a daily basis.

If used on skin, essential oils should always be diluted in a plant-based oil to keep their use safe – plant-based oil will not decrease the effectiveness of essential oils. For Vata, use sesame oil, for Pitta, coconut oil, and for Kapha, jojoba oil, for example. Each essential oil has a specific dilution for a certain amount of plant-based oil, which is adjusted taking into account its therapeutic effects. It can be applied to the body after bathing or before going to bed, doing a self-massage to promote its absorption, or during a massage with a therapist.

Using essential oils appropriate to the dosha and to the desired effect in diffusers is an excellent way to create a relaxing and mood-enhancing environment. The ideal environment for meditation, or even concentration on studying or working, can also be created. When combined with another Ayurvedic therapy, aromatherapy helps to potentiate the balancing effects of the aromas of the essential oil in doshas.
Joana Silva, Nurse, Therapist, Blogger, Terapias D’Alma

Using a few drops of certain essential oils, such as ginger, in bandages / cloths heated and applied on a painful area, such as muscle contractures, helps to relieve pain and relax muscles. A therapist should be consulted as some of the essential oils aggravate certain doshas, and adapting them to each person individually is necessary.

Write a comment