Let’s start with the facts. According to a study out of the University of California, San Francisco, scientists found that when women are exposed to chronic stress, their cells age more rapidly. And, of course, cellular aging is what makes skin less supple and leads to premature wrinkles and saggy skin. Now, for the good news. While we can’t stop your boss from sending you emails on a Sunday night at 10pm or make your children finally do what they’re told, we can offer a rather simple solution to a complicated problem: Aromatherapy. As in the practice of employing essential oils for their curative properties.
Before you roll your eyes in disbelief, hear this: With 40 million smell receptors and the ability to smell 10,000 different, distinct scents, your olfactory system powerfully affects your physiology and nervous system, says Cary Caster, a clinical aromatherapist and creator of 21 Drops. “When you inhale essential oils, aromatic molecules are carried through the nasal cavity to the limbic system in your brain, which then influences the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system.” With the endocrine system acting as a major regulatory force in the body-secreting hormones into the bloodstream-it can regulate many bodily functions like mood and metabolism.
“People are aware that smells can kill us, but don’t realize how much scents can heal us,” says Caster. Simply dabbing certain essential oils on your pulse points-the wrists, back of the neck and temples-can stimulate your autonomic nervous system, which operates below the level of our awareness, to calm your nerves, settle your heart rate, ease bodily tension and relieve present stress. All of which will not only make you feel better, but look better too.
Each essential oil has its own chemical makeup and each chemical affects our bodies in different ways. For a list of which oils accomplish what, check out this guide. To start the process of experimenting with essential oils, try a custom blend like 21 Drops De-Stress ($29) with frankincense resin oil, lavender flower oil, ylang ylang flower oil and german chamomile flower oil to steady nerves, relieve tension and reduce stress on the limbic system.
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