Relieve Stress with Organic Essential Oils

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Aura Cacia, a leading U.S. manufacturer, uses organic essential oils in its wide variety of aromatherapy products.

Over a decade ago, Irene Tamaras sustained injuries to her coccyx (tailbone) and lower back after a severe fall. Each day brought terrible pain and decreased mobility, and she sought relief from both traditional and alternative health providers, with mixed results.

Tamaras ultimately discovered that the key to living with chronic pain is a blend of modern and ancient medical approaches, and organic essential oils play a major role in her self-care regimen. She has since founded North Bethesda, Maryland-based Dynamic Pain Relief, a company specializing in self-help treatments and products, so she can share her firsthand expertise with others.

"When inhaling the aroma of essential oils, the odor molecules travel up the nose to the olfactory membranes," she tells "After a process where nerve cells are triggered, impulses are transmitted to different parts of our brain-particularly the limbic system. The limbic system is connected to parts of the brain that control our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress and hormone balance. Aromatherapy with essential oils can be very effective for both the mind and body. Studies have shown that essential oils can also help to reduce appetite and enhance sexual arousal. What I love the most is their ability to release emotional trauma through an emotional clearing process."

"We know aromatherapy has been used by humans since the beginning of time," says Dr. Kathleen Hall, founder and CEO of Atlanta, Georgia-based Alter Your Life, a company dedicated to bringing the principles of work-life balance to individuals and corporations. "Ancient cultures used aromatherapy for medicinal healing, for worship rituals and for personal use," she tells "The ancients knew aromas had a great effect upon the body, mind and soul. Aromatherapy has also been used in worship for ages-evolving into incense and scented sacred oils. The royalty of ancient cultures always believed certain aromas signified power and authority."

Organic essential oils are "pure botanical essences of plants," according to Aura Cacia, a top manufacturer based in Norway, Iowa. Oils are extracted from flowers, leaves, resin, bark, roots, twigs, seeds, berries and rinds by steam distillation, and they are highly concentrated-unlike inferior synthetic oils produced in chemical laboratories.

You can use organic essential oils by:

  • Adding a few drops to bath water.
  • Mixing a few drops with bath gels, massage oils, body balms and lotions. Note: Never apply oils directly to the skin, as they may cause rashes or burns. Instead, mix a few drops with bath products or "carrier" oils (jojoba or coconut oil, for example).
  • Pouring a few drops into a diffuser-spray apparatuses, lamp rings that surround light bulbs and small pots that sit atop tea candles-to make any room smell great.

Tamaras' favorite organic essential oils are lavender, frankincense and lemon-all of which can be used "through inhalation, topically and put into baths," she says.

She offers the following caveat when shopping for organic essential oils: "Consumers need to recognize that not all organic essential oils are therapeutic grade and will not produce therapeutic benefits even when used by inhalation or for aromatherapeutic reasons. Thus, when choosing essential oils, it is very important to note that not all sold in the marketplace are pure. Some manufacturers may market their essential oils as organically grown but, in fact, the oils may be adulterated, synthetically produced or diluted-oftentimes to be sold cheaper."

High-quality organic essential oils have not been adulterated and contain no additives, says Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, a certified aromatherapist and owner of Boulder, Colorado-based DSH Perfumes.

"The full distillation of an essential oil, without any additions, is the superior oil to use for aromatherapy purposes," she says. "It really takes some practice before consumers will develop a nose for determining a quality essential oil, so while they are on the learning curve, I recommend finding a reputable company they trust and sticking with it while they try others."

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