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Think back to the last time you experienced a pleasant smell. Remember how it made you feel? For me the smell of fresh-cut grass puts my mind at ease and instantly relaxes me.
The scent of lavender makes me less anxious and ready to fall asleep. I also love the smell of lemon — which reminds me of my mother's lemon pie and summer.
These are just a few examples of how scents can have a powerful effect on the mind, influence your mood and lower anxiety.
Aromatherapy usually involves the use of essential oils extracted from plants. However, other pleasant smells associated with fond memories can have a positive effect on mood and perspective.
Some studies on aromatherapy have shown these benefits:
You may want to explore using aromatherapy in your daily routine. It may be a helpful form of stress relief that's easy to incorporate.
Essential oils used in aromatherapy may be inhaled directly or indirectly, or applied to the skin through massage, lotions, oils or bath salts.
Aromatherapy works by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, sending messages via the nervous system to the limbic system — a part of the brain that controls emotions.
Some common aromatherapy scents used for relaxation include: lavender, jasmine, chamomile, bergamot, rose, clary sage, neroli, sandalwood, ylang ylang and vanilla.
Explore the scents to discover the ones that work for you. I'd love to hear any of your experiences with aromatherapy.
Follow me on Twitter @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Im always used lavender oil in my baths and massage sessions. So when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and medicines don't provide comfort for sleep, nausea and other uncomfortable feeling, lavender massage and lavender scented room put him at ease and good sleep.
After my H&N cancer surgery sleeping was very difficult. A friend sent a mixed lavender pillow spray (l'Occitane) and the first night I used it was the beginning of more restful sleep. I still use it and have begun using it with my mother with dementia.
I also have found candles and linen sprays very soothing. Also I have a eye pillow infused with lavender and it is wonderful to put on my face and just breathe slowly when I am stressed or just need some calmness.
After breast cancer surgery, Lavender was my best friend. My daughter used a lavender linen spray on all the bed & bath linens and the scent helped with a relaxed, soothing recovery. Lavender is still my favorite scent!
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