Feel Light and Happy with Aromatherapy

Feel Light and Happy with Aromatherapy

Contributed by Nutritionist and Naturopath Tiffany Wee

Aromatherapy has long been lauded for its ability to aid relaxation for a good night's sleep. But did you know that it can do a lot more than just keep insomnia at bay?

Research has shown that it helps to suppress the appetite while enhancing your mood and well-being, leading to weight loss in a sustainable manner. In fact, when used in tandem with a calorie-controlled diet, aromatherapy can help people to lose up to seven times more weight.

Here's a look at how it aids in managing weight: Reduces Your Cravings
Your sense of smell plays a major role in affecting your appetite. When you inhale certain essential oils, microscopic molecules of these oils directly stimulate the satiety centre of the brain. A feeling of fullness is relayed to the stomach, and this stops any food craving and balances the appetite. Because our sense of smell triggers feelings of fullness before our stomach does, you will feel full sooner and eat less.

Tip: When using essential oils to curb cravings, be sure to inhale the appetite-suppressing essential oil for at least five minutes. Inhaling it for anything less may stimulate your appetite instead.

Appetite-suppressing Essential Oils

Grapefruit*, basil, bergamot, clary sage, cumin, dill, fennel, ginger, lemon, marjoram, patchouli, peppermint, sandalwood, spearmint, thyme, vanilla and ylang ylang.

Lifts Your Mood

Food is a source of comfort for many, especially when anxiety, boredom, depression or grief sets in. However, turning to your favourite snacks whenever these emotions come around can cause you to overeat and sabotage any weight loss plan.

Instead of binging on food, inhaling mood-lifting essential oils can alleviate these negative feelings. Breathing in the pleasant scent of essential oils triggers positive reactions in the brain, offering a sense of happiness and comfort. Once you are in better spirits, you will no longer feel the urge to fill that void with food.

Stress can also directly lead to weight gain. This is because when you are in a state of stress, your body secretes cortisol, a hormone which causes weight gain. To prevent stress from building up, schedule regular aromatherapy massages to relieve anxiety and increase relaxation.

Experiment with some of the essential oils below to see which are best at enhancing your mood.

Mood-lifting Essential Oils

Frankincense, ylang ylang, grapefruit, lavender, sandalwood, geranium, rose, bergamot, vetiver, mandarin, roman chamomile, May Chang, jasmine, clary sage and neroli (orange blossom).

Boosts Your Energy

Exercise is a big part of any weight loss plan. Dieting alone helps to drop some pounds, but exercise accelerates the calorie burn. Try adding aromatherapy into the equation to really rev up your weight loss efforts.

Research has shown that some aromas induce an 'energetic' feeling, which raises energy levels in our mind and body. This provides an energy boost when used during workouts or when we feel bored.

If aches and pains are your reasons for not getting on the treadmill, aromatherapy can help to ease muscle pain and awaken tired limbs. The essential oils listed below may give you that extra lift you need to kickstart an exercise programme or hit the gym.

Energy-boosting Essential Oils

Lime, orange, lemon, peppermint, vanilla, grapefruit and rosemary.

Muscle Pain-relieving Essential Oils

Birch, chamomile, ginger, jasmine, lavender, marjoram, Melissa, peppermint and rosemary.

While properly administered essential oils are a natural, safe and effective way to enhance your health and well-being, those who suffer from medical conditions should seek expert guidance before using aromatherapy. Also, for best therapeutic results, always use pure essential oils.