The Influence of Scent on Ageing and Health

An interview with our author, Jennifer Peace Rhind, by Linda Gray. This interview is also featured in the Christmas edition of Good Housekeeping.

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Are there any scents apart from grapefruit that make us seem younger?

Grapefruit is perceived as an ‘activating’ scent, and is associated with energy and freshness and indeed youth! But does this mean that wearing a grapefruit fragrance will make us appear younger?

Maybe – we might feel energised, and this can affect how we behave and project our self, and this may give the superficial impression of youth. Continue reading

Choosing Essences for yourself

Lilly_Essence-Practit_978-1-84819-250-8_colourjpg-printby Sue Lilly, author of The Essence Practitioner: Choosing and using flower and other essences

Many of us visit practitioners if we want essences, but some of us have our own essence collections and need effective ways to choose essences for personal use. For essence practitioners for instance there is always the question of how to best choose essences for yourself. Choosing for oneself is always an interesting exercise: trying to overcome the biases of our conscious mind and our underlying unconscious predilections so that we can actually choose essences that can be helpful for more than just superficial issues.

The traditional method of choosing, often called ‘pattern matching’ or the ‘logical method’, compares the qualities of the essences, as described by a producer or author, with the symptoms, emotions or thoughts that are being experienced. Depending on what has been written about an essence it may be possible to make a choice for an aspiration or a final goal. The advantage of this method is that anyone can work in this way. The disadvantage is that it relies on the capability of the individual to be able to identify – or reflect on – personal symptoms, emotions or thoughts without being influenced by his or her own judgment.

Moreover the descriptions of essences are limited to what the producer or author has written. No matter how many carefully written words, it is only going to describe a fraction of what the essence is capable of doing when interacting with a person or an animal. So this method of choosing essences for their own personal situation has limitations.

Another method of choosing essences for oneself is by pendulum dowsing or self-testing (muscle-testing). However, unless precautions are taken, the accuracy of these methods can be undermined and over-ridden by the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind. The power of these areas of our being can influence those choices that are often accepted gratifyingly by the conscious mind, as these choices appear to confirm our dominant beliefs and wishes. The types of steps that need to be taken to improve accuracy are grounding, or anchoring, personal energies and centring personal energies. Grounding can be simply imagining roots growing out of the feet, deep down into the Earth. Being dehydrated or very hungry can impair the ability to ground personal energies and to keep a good connection with the planet. The simplest way of centring is by ‘tapping in’.  Here the person does a firm, light tapping with the fingertips on the area of the upper chest just below where the collarbones (clavicles) meet the breastbone (sternum). This is the approximate placement of the thymus gland, an important maintainer of the subtle energy balance in the body. Whilst the thymus is being tapped, the other hand is placed palm open, over the navel. This allows the centring effect to last longer.

The methods above are adequate for choosing essences for oneself, but it is very useful, when treating someone close to you emotionally, to have a few more methods that can also divert the conscious mind and the other dominant areas of the brain.

Here are some examples. Make a list of numbers that correspond to the number of essences you have available. Then enter the name of those essences randomly to create a list. With the situation you want help with in mind this list of numbers can then be dowsed or muscle-tested for help with a particular personal issue without the list itself present and without input from the conscious mind. Personally I find this method works really well. The emerging essence or essence combinations brings surprising good results.

Another method is to create some small cards and write the name of an essence on each one. Then, placing them face-down, with the situation you want help with in mind, choose from the cards.

It could be easy to dismiss methods like these as having no use. However, it is easy for our conscious minds to ignore or belittle the depth of knowledge within us, and the access to knowledge of which our unconscious mind is capable. After all, our conscious mind is in charge, isn’t it? If we really want to get to the underlying causes of ill health, remove sabotaging thoughts or release toxic emotions we have to go beyond our everyday levels of consciousness and find ways to access the vast storehouse of knowledge of our unconscious mind.

When working as a practitioner, with a client, it is easier to stay detached and thereby have easy access to deep levels of consciousness. However, when working on ourselves or on those close to us, it is almost impossible to gain a similar level of detachment using methods we would use for clients.

I would suggest trying the ‘number’ or ‘card method’ without expectation and indeed, maybe with a playful approach for issues you want to resolve for yourself and see what happens!

Sue Lilly is the author of The Essence Practitioner: Choosing and using flower and other essences, she has been involved in many aspects of healing for over thirty years. She has a wide ranging experience as a therapist and  teacher – Flower Essences, Crystal Therapy, Astrology, Yoga, Meditation, Colour Therapy, Nutrition, Spiritual Development and Counselling. Sue is a qualified teacher and holds a Diploma in Clinical and Creative Supervision. She is an Advanced Practitioner and Tutor with the British Flower and Vibrational Essences Association (BFVEA), the Secretary of the British Association of Flower Essence Producers (BAFEP), joint Life President of the Affiliation of Crystal Healing Organisations (ACHO) and joint chair of the Japanese Crystal Healing Institute (JCHI). She has developed and produced Sovereignty Essences which complement the Green Man Essences created by Simon Lilly in 1991. She lives near Llangammarch Wells, Powys, Wales, UK.

Meditation for midwinter

by Jennifer Rhind, taken from A Sensory Journey: Meditations on Scent for Wellbeing

rhind midwinter meditation imageIt is midwinter. It is cold, water has crystallised into ice, the land has frozen over and the power of the sun has diminished. Nature is dormant – the animals are hibernating, everything has slowed down, conserving energy for future survival.

You are standing at the edge of a forest. It has been snowing; the landscape has been covered with a blanket of snow. Focus on your ears, and sense of hearing. All sound has been deadened – this is as close to silence as you have ever felt.

It is almost sunset. You slowly emerge from the wood and stand at the edge of a wide, sandy bay. The sea is dark blue, reflecting the late afternoon sky, and the wind is capping the waves with white foam. The tide is coming in, and you walk up to the edge of the sea where the waves crash on to the shore. The roaring of the sea as it drags on the sand fills your head.

You breathe deeply, drinking in the salty air, with its tang of seaweed. You become aware of the power of the sea – and feel a strange combination of fear and excitement, an overwhelming exhilaration.

You watch the waves that break on the shore at your feet, and become one with their rhythms and patterns.

Now look to the horizon. The fading sun, now a dull red, is low in the sky, its light turning the sea foam to pink. You notice that some of the waves are becoming larger, rising above the water; these are the mythical white horses. As you watch, you wonder what it would be like to ride the waves.

As the white horses draw closer to the shore, you merge with the illusion, and find yourself riding the waves. The roar of the sea is all encompassing, white foam blows all around, and you are moving with the swell of the ocean, diving into the troughs, and rising over the crests… the experience is exhilarating, natural and flowing. You notice dolphins and porpoises all around, and then you too become a creature of the sea.

Your white horse carries you back to the shore, and you watch as it disappears into the sea foam. You are standing, looking out over the sea, which is now very calm and quiet, little ripples caressing the sand at your feet. The sun is now very low in the sky; you watch the red disc slip over the horizon, its light reflected in the calm water.

Now your senses are anchored. Your experience has allowed you to realise that you have abundant courage, judgement and will. You now turn and head back to the forest. Ahead, the snow brightens the scene, and your pace quickens. You reach the forest and, in the fading light, retrace your tracks back through the trees.

You are heading back to your log cabin, where the fire will be burning. The fragrance of wood smoke lingers in the still air. This is your midwinter haven. As you walk, you reflect and review. This is the season to rest, be still, and listen to the wise person within. You are your own catalyst for growth in the coming spring. Now is the time to plant the seeds of your dreams. It is a time for being, not doing.

 

Jennifer Peace RhindJennifer Peace Rhind is a Chartered Biologist with a Ph.D. in Mycotoxicology. For thirteen years she worked as a therapist and partner in a multidisciplinary complementary healthcare clinic.. She was a lecturer on the B.A. Complementary Healthcare programme at Edinburgh Napier University for fourteen years, and remains involved in scent education. A Sensory Journey is a set of cards and booklet exploring different fragrances and giving guided meditations on scent for wellbeing and spiritual growth.

Osmanthus – the Scent of an Oriental Autumn

 

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In Scotland, we have just enjoyed an uncharacteristically glorious summer, full of beautiful scents. Autumn can be wonderful too, but then it is more the rich pallete of colours that we appreciate – our visual sense tends to dominate the season. Here, if we are asked to identify the scents of autumn, we might think of fallen leaves, damp earth, pumpkins and gourds, bonfires, wood smoke, maybe coniferous forests. However, there is one beautiful scented flower that, in China and Japan, is very much associated with autumn, and that is osmanthus.

Osmanthus fragrans is a woody, evergreen flowering shrub. In China it is known as kweiha, and the scent of the blossoms is loved and renowned; and indeed has been described as the quintessential scent of China.  It has been cultivated for hundreds of years, and is often found at Buddhist temples, where it is planted in groves. Osmanthus is very much considered to be an autumn flower, despite the reality that some varieties bloom all year round, hence the name ‘osmanthus four seasons’.  The flowers range from silvery white to reddish orange, but the most fragrant are the orange-yellow varieties. Osmanthus blossoms fill the air with their diffusive, floral-fruity fragrance, and when they fall from the shrubs and carpet the ground, the scent persists for many hours (Kaiser 2006). It is no wonder, then, that they grace such special places, and are held in such high regard.

Traditionally, like jasmine, dried osmanthus flowers are used to flavour both green and black teas, however the scent is very different, and quite distinctive. An absolute can be extracted from the flowers. This is very costly – it is an amber or greenish, thick liquid, with a complex, rich, sweet, honey-like, floral scent with prominent notes of plums and raisins, and apricots (Warren and Warrenburg 1993; Kaiser 2006). Because of its complexity, and the unique relationship between its floral and fruity notes, the absolute has the qualities of a perfume, in that its scent has many dimensions. It is impossible to attribute its scent to a handful of constituents, however it would be reasonable to say that β-ionone (woody, floral, violet, slightly fruity, with cedarwood, raspberry nuances) and dihydro-β-ionone, γ-decalactone (powerful, peach-like) and related lactones, linalool (light floral, woody), nerol (sweet, floral, seaweed-like) and geraniol (sweet, rosy) have a major impact (Kaiser 2006).

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Turin and Sanchez (2009) discuss the use of osmanthus in perfumery; they suggest that it is actually a ‘ready-made’ fragrance, and that the perfumer’s skill is in reviving it after the solvent extraction process! They illustrate this with two fragrances composed by Jean-Claude Ellena – Osmanthus for The Different Company (2001), which is true to its nature with peach and lemon top notes, and the uplifting Osmanthe Yunnan for Hermès (2005) which pays tribute to its traditional uses by including Yunnan smoked tea notes alongside freesia, orange and apricots. Other well known, ‘mainstream’ fragrances that claim to include osmanthus or an osmanthus ‘note’ are Eternity (Calvin Klein 1988), Escape (also Calvin Klein 1991, but since reformulated), and Sunflowers (Arden 1993). The artisan perfumer Alec Lawless, who worked mainly with natural raw materials, commented on his experience working with osmanthus absolute when composing Kuan Yin (Essentially Me); it produced an unexpected, delicate note of peach blossom (Lawless 2009).

It would seem that the fragrance of osmanthus has, for a long time, been regarded as uplifting. A study on the mood effects of fragrance conducted by Warren and Warrenburg in 1993 included a synthetic version of osmanthus. It was shown to increase feelings of stimulation and happiness, decrease feelings of irritation and stress, and prominently decrease depression and apathy; it had no significant effect on feelings of sensuality or relaxation. So, in the west, where we cannot readily access the fragrant flowers, we could consider using the scent of the absolute to lift our spirits. As autumn progresses, and after the equinox the days grow shorter and darker, many of us experience low mood, lethargy or even ‘seasonal affective disorder’. Osmanthus can offer us a beautiful, safe way to restore balance.

Jennifer Peace Rhind is a Chartered Biologist with a Ph.D. in Mycotoxicology from the University of Strathclyde. Her long-standing interest in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has led to qualifications in massage, aromatherapy and reflexology. She co-founded the first professionally accredited CAM school in Scotland and remains involved in scent education. She has written several books on aromatherapy, published by Singing Dragon, the latest is Listening to Scent, a guide to training your olfactory palate. She lives in Biggar near the Scottish Borders.

References

Kaiser, R. (2006) Meaningful Scents around the World. Zurich: Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta & Wiley VCH.

Lawless, A. (2009) Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose. Stroud: Boronia Souk Ltd.

Turin, L. & Sanchez, T. (2009) Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. London: Profile Books Ltd.

Warren, C and Warrenburg, S. (1993) Mood benefits of fragrance. International Journal of Aromatherapy 5, 2, 12-16.

 

Singing Dragon New and Bestselling titles Autumn-Winter 2014 and 2015

This fully interactive brochure has all of the new Singing Dragon titles for the Autumn and Winter of 2014 as well upcoming titles for 2015. In here you will find books on Chinese medicine, complementary therapies, martial arts, nutrition, yoga, ayurveda, qigong, Daoism, aromatherapy, and many more alternative therapies and ancient wisdom traditions.


Click on the covers or titles to be taken to the book’s page on the Singing Dragon website. If you would like to request hard copies please email hello@singingdragon.com with your details and the number of copies you would like.

An interview with Jennifer Peace Rhind on combating stress with aromatherapy

In this interview, Jennifer Peace Rhind, author of ‘Listening to Scent‘, ‘Essential Oils‘, ‘Fragrance and Wellbeing‘, and ‘A Sensory Journey‘, discusses the power and use of essential oils. An interesting read for both aromatherapists and anyone interested in aromatherapy and scent.

More information on any of Jennifer’s books can be found on the Singing Dragon website.

Why is scent so effective for changing our mood? What is the relation between scent and the brain? Why do essential oils particularly have such an influence on our brain and emotions?

Jennifer Peace Rhind

Historically, the use of scent to elicit specific responses is integral to many cultures and life practices; and this is also central to contemporary aromatherapy practices. Odours must be able to evaporate – or exist in vapour form. Once in the atmosphere, odorous molecules are detected by our olfactory organ, thin membranes covered in tiny olfactory hairs, which lie at either side of the bony part of the nasal septum. This extends to the olfactory bulb, the olfactory nerve and the olfactory pathway, which transmits these olfactory signals to the brain. Olfactory neurons project to the limbic system, which is associated with emotions, memories, motivations and pleasure, but where there is no conscious control. However, the neurons also project to the thalamus where sensory integration occurs, the hypothalamus , which monitors and maintains bodily functions; the amygdala, the seat of basic emotion; the hippocampus which is associated with memory; and to the frontal cortex, where recognition of the odour occurs. The frontal cortex is concerned with organising and planning, and the executive, logical and social decisions are made at the prefrontal cortex. When you consider the olfactory connections with these areas, it is unsurprising that scents have such a profound influence on us. Studies have shown that odours can have their effects via several mechanisms – their molecules can act directly and have a pharmacological effect, for example the sedating effect of lavender. However, because we usually experience odours in life situations, smells and memories become inextricably linked, so each smell carries an emotional memory – which can lead to physiological changes, and can influence our conscious responses and behaviour. Additionally, our state of pleasure or displeasure on experiencing an odour will affect our reactions – and this type of response can be influenced by our cultural experiences and learned behaviour. Our expectations can also influence the outcome of exposure to odours – if we believe that rosemary will enhance our memory, then it probably will! The placebo mechanism is present in aromatherapy too!

What traditional use of oils for relaxation do we know about? i.e. I read flower remedies were used by the Aborigines for thousands of years for relaxation?

There are numerous examples, across cultures and ages – and far too many to mention here! One of the earliest examples can be seen in murals in northern Sahara, dating back to 5000BCE, depicting women wearing garlands of flowers.

In ancient Egypt, the scent of the blue lotus was used for its narcotic effects, and to induce an altered state of consciousness at ceremonies and feasts. The ancient Minoans of Crete used lilies, roses and saffron for relaxation, pleasure and healing. The rose and its scent was loved by many peoples across the ages – Cleopatra famously used it in her seduction of Mark Antony; in the Roman Empire there was a feast (Rosalia) to celebrate the flower and its fragrance; and to the Sufis, the rose symbolised spiritual attainment; meditation in rose gardens was practiced. Josephine, the consort of Napoleon Bonaparte was well known for her love of roses and their scent, but she also popularised patchouli – imported with her Kashmir shawls, where the dried leaves repelled insects.

Garlands of scented flowers, such as jasmine and champaca, as well as aromatic oils have been used in India for thousands of years – for relaxation, wellbeing and healing. In Ayurveda, the beautiful scented frangipani flowers (Plumeria species) are used to calm fear and anxiety, and to treat tremors and insomnia. Sandalwood is used in Ayurveda and Tibetan medicine – to lighten and cool the mind, aid concentration, and reduce anxiety and alleviate insomnia. Vetiver was and is used to cool the mind and improve concentration. It is really interesting to see just how many of these aromatics remain important in contemporary aromatherapy. I love the way that aromatics can connect us with the past – times may have changed, but scents are constant!

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You’re a qualified aromatherapist and you practised as a therapist for 13 years – did a lot of your clients come to see you for help with stress? Is this an increasing problem?

It would be reasonable to say that the vast majority of my clients were stressed – and it manifested in many ways. Some were more aware of the debilitating effects of chronic stress than others, and some sought help when dealing with the immediate effects of personal trauma. For example, I saw many individuals in professions that are considered to be stressful, but there were also many individuals who were in difficult personal relationships, carers, the bereaved, abused, or traumatised in many other ways. I was in professional practice from the late 1980’s until the late 1990’s, and until recently I mentored student aromatherapists undertaking supervised clinical practice. I cannot say for sure that stress is an increasing problem, but stress and mental health awareness has certainly increased since the 1980’s.

We tend to think of popular oils like chamomile and lavender for relaxation – are there any types of oils that are less publicised that people should try? (but still need to stick to H&B sold ones) frankincense, sandalwood?

For relaxation purposes, there is a very wide selection of essential oils and absolutes to choose from – and you should really trust your nose and instincts. If you are strongly attracted to a scent, then that is most likely the best one for you at that moment in time! Some suggestions are sandalwood, which is often used to instil a calm state of mind, focus and clarity, and also to aid meditation, or  ylang ylang ‘extra’ which is relaxing, and can free inhibitions and ‘stuck’ emotions – it can even induce a state of euphoria. Clary sage, with its distinctive herbal scent, can have pronounced relaxing effects, and like ylang ylang it is regarded as a euphoric oil – and it certainly merits further investigation regarding its antidepressant potential. All of the citrus peel oils are useful for lifting the spirits while eliciting calmness, as well as the better known sweet orange, mandarin, lemon, lime and grapefruit you might like to try yuzu, combava peel or cedrat. Studies have revealed that bergamot is very useful for alleviating depression and stress, and that sweet orange has ‘acute’

anxiolytic (anxiety relieving) activity. Coriander seed oil is another useful oil for anxiety relief, but in this case we also witness memory-enhancing potential. Some scents such as jasmine are stimulating, but can also be used very successfully for relaxation purposes – they can enhance focus and coordination, while improving mood and self-esteem. Rose is a harmonising scent – comforting and relaxing, but not sedating as lavender and chamomile.

Can oils be mixed together to make your own stress-busting scent?

‘Yes, and the creative aspect of this is therapeutic in its own right, because as we focus on our sense of smell, other distractions are put aside! It is best to build your scent around one oil that you are drawn to, and complement different facets of its fragrance with other oils. For example, the sweetness and softness of rose is e

nhanced by sandalwood. Experimenting is all part of learning what works for you. However, you might like to  try bergamot, ylang ylang and lavender – research revealed that this combination reduced physiological responses to stress (such as serum cortisone levels and blood pressure) in patients with essential hypertension.

 

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What’s the best way to use oils to beat stress?

Evaporating them in your personal space, inhaling them from an ‘aroma-stick’ or a blotter (an absorbent card) , using them in the shower or bath, and certainly in aromatherapy massage.

Does it depend on the oil as to how it’s best applied?  i.e. carrier oil and burner, but which other methods are effective – spritzing some on your pressure points – are there particular points that are good – i.e. the area between your eyebrows as in Ayurveda – ‘the place of stillness’? Massaging some on yourself?  

Some essential oils are skin irritants and sensitisers. You might find that, for example, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon or clove would cause skin and mucous membrane irritation in your bath or shower, and even evaporating large amounts potentially could cause irritation to the eyes and sinuses and airways. All essential oils and absolutes, and most importantly the irritant oils, must be diluted in a vegetable oil carrier if they are going to be applied to the skin. For personal use, make sure that you read any safety information from a reputable aromatherapy text or your supplier before using them.

Although a professional massage is recommended, it is certainly possible to prepare your own massage oil, or use a commercially prepared product for self-massage. Self-administered massage is really limited to the abdomen (always clockwise, sweeting strokes), arms and hands, and face. There are a few acupressure points that you can use during facial massage, by pressing firmly and releasing pressure, rhythmically, for a few moments. These include the points on the midline at the hairline and between your eyebrows, the outer points of your eyebrows, and on the upper and lower parts of your cheekbones. Several studies have suggested that the use of essential oils can enhance the effects of other practices, including massage of many types (e.g. therapeutic and remedial, acupressure). For example, aromatherapy massage can stimulate the immune system in comparison with massage alone, and the use of lavender oil in ‘shirodhara’ (where sesame oil is dripped over the ‘third eye’) enhances the state of altered consciousness which this practice produces.

Which everyday smells should we be more aware of that can help us beat stress i.e. freshly cut grass, flowers, bakes bread – should we take more time to stop and be more mindful of aromas? Do you think this is key to putting us in relaxation mode, to bringing more relaxation into our days – are we effectively shutting out senses down in 21st century living because we’re so busy mindlessly rushing through life?

It is my belief that engaging with scents in the natural world is a profoundly enjoyable and healing experience, and possibly essential for optimum health. The Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, which translates as ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’ , or ‘forest bathing’, has many health-enhancing benefits, not least in stress reduction and alleviation of depression. Research at the Duftgarten (fragrant garden) at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna has shown that the scents of blooming plants increased calmness and alertness, even at night when the visual impact was reduced. Yes, we should certainly make the time to experience the wonderful fragrances that surround us – there is little doubt that this practice improves our wellbeing! Try smelling fresh culinary herbs in the garden or at a plant nursery, or the amazing scents of dried herbs and spices as you are cooking. When you smell essential oils and absolutes – do so with awareness and enquiry. You might even like to meditate on scent. All of these activities can awaken the senses, aid alertness, or stabilise, enhance or modify our moods, decrease anxiety and tension, or evoke memories.

Are there any new developments in aromatherapy? What will it look like i n the future? More advanced make up, new types of oils?

We are seeing better ways to deliver aromas, such as ‘aromasticks’, and also some ‘patches’ designed to deliver essential oils through the skin. In the short history of modern aromatherapy, the profession has come a long way – despite criticism from orthodox health care practitioners and some members of the scientific and academic communities. However, it is perceived in many ways – from a luxurious pampering treat to a quasi-medical treatment, and aromatherapy practitioners are found in expensive spas and salons, complementary healthcare clinics, and as volunteers in for example care homes and hospices. Aromatherapy might be seen as the preserve of those who can afford to pay, and paradoxically of such little value that health services will not pay for it! I do not know what will happen in the future – that is probably in the hands of the educators, the practitioners and those who make the rules about the profession and the use of essential oils and other plant aromatics! I believe that important factors in its future are the willingness to build on the evidence base, maintain a fundamentally holistic approach, and embrace the diversity of practices. We need to remember that aromatherapy is a unique healing modality – the only one that is based on the therapeutic use of aromatic oils and the sense of smell.There are many ‘new’ essential oils coming on the market – some have been well-researched researched, others less so – and they will without doubt find  their niche in aromatherapy and phytocosmetology. Some examples are Fragonia, Perilla (shiso mint), and Anthopogon (rhododendron); and there are many beautiful variants of old favourites such as rose becoming more readily available.’need to remember that aromatherapy is a unique healing modality – the only one that is based on the therapeutic use of aromatic oils and the sense of smell.

More information on any of Jennifer Peace Rhind’s books can be found on the Singing Dragon website.

A shorter version of this interview was published in ‘Healthy’ magazine 2014.

Intuition in Aromatherapy – extract from The Spirit in Aromatherapy

Intuition is key to being a truly holistic aromatherapist. Gill Farrer-Halls discusses the importance of intuition in aromatherapy practice in this extract from her latest book ‘The Spirit in Aromatherapy’

Read the extract…

The Spirit in Aromatherapy is available from the Singing Dragon website.

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New books coming up from Singing Dragon…

2014 has been an exciting year for Singing Dragon with the publication of some truly groundbreaking books; from The Spark in the Machine and Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches – TianGan DiZhi, to Rasa Shastra and The Compleat Acupuncturist. But we’re not finished yet! Here are some of the exciting titles coming to you in the rest of 2014:

Buck_Acupuncture-and_978-1-84819-159-4_colourjpg-webAcupuncture and Chinese Medicine
by Charles Buck

Charles Buck, the chairman of the British Acupuncture Council, draws on three decades of study, practice and teaching in this book to provide a relevant and engaging account of the origins of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. From its pre-Han dynasty roots to Chinese medicine as we know it today, Buck covers the key texts, the main scholars and the concepts they have contributed to the greater body of knowledge. With Buck’s lucid and engaging style, Roots of Modern Practice is going to be the new ‘must-read’ resource that will help practitioners and students deepen their understanding of this great medical tradition.

Hamwee_Zero-Balancing_978-1-84819-234-8_colourjpg-webZero Balancing
by John Hamwee

The definitive guide to Zero Balancing brings this increasingly popular therapy to life. It contains a clear description of the anatomy and physiology of energy which leads on to a compelling explanation of how and why this form of bodywork can have such powerful effects. Throughout, there are illustrations which convey the unique energy of a Zero Balancing session and John Hamwee provides fascinating examples of clients, their experiences and the outcomes of the work.

 

 

Tisserand_Aromatherapy-vs_978-1-84819-237-9_colourjpg-webAromatherapy vs MRSA
by Maggie Tisserand

Breaking new ground in the field of essential oils, this scientifically based but accessible book addresses the challenge of serious infection, especially MRSA, in hospitals, in the community, and in animals. Maggie Tisserand focuses on the scientifically proven effects of antibacterial essential oils, and their usefulness in managing infection, including the ‘superbug’.

 

 

 

Hellas_Yogic-Cooking-N_978-1-84819-249-2_colourjpg-webYogic Cooking
by Garuda Hellas

Yogic cooking is nutritious, easy to digest and free of toxins, allowing you to improve your health, keep your body strong and facilitate spiritual revolution. The aim of yoga is to cultivate a physical, mental and psychic balance so that higher states of being can be experienced. This can be achieved through a balanced vegetarian diet that includes all the essential vitamins and minerals. This books contains 56 delicious and easy-to-follow recipes, with something for every occasion it is the perfect introduction to the ayurvedic approach to life.

 

Quayle_Mouses-House-Ch_978-1-84819-247-8_colourjpg-webThe Mouse’s House
by Susan Quayle

A beautiful children’s book that combines reflexology with delightfully engaging rhymes and illustrations. Written by a specialist maternity reflexologist, it features easy-to-follow diagrams and instructions for giving basic reflexology to a child during a bedtime (or anytime) story.

 

All of these books are available for pre-order now. To receive notifications for new books in your areas of interest, sign up for the Singing Dragon mailing list.

Scent association exercise – extract from Listening to Scent

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This exercise is based around the Japanese Koh-Do ceremony and is designed to be done in a group using essential oils on blotting paper.

Scents have an enormous evocative impact. They may trigger a specific memory, or a sensation or feeling linked to a previous experience, they might evoke a new feeling within us, and they have a vast array of associations –with images, shapes, colours, tones, sounds, words, names, notes, music, textures. This exercise allows us to explore these ‘cross-modal’ associations, and helps us to verbalise scent-evoked sensations. The master of ceremonies selects three aromatics. Blotters should be prepared, and as before, are presented one at a time to the participants. The master of ceremonies can then ask a question for each scent. For example:

If this scent was a musical instrument, or a piece of music, what would it be? 

If this scent was a season what would it be?

What kind of weather does this scent evoke?

Does this scent evoke a scene in the natural world?

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Each participant should record their answers, which can be collected for discussion at the end of the exercise. Following this, one scent can be chosen by each participant, who can then write a short piece about anything that this inspires. This might be a short, descriptive essay, a poem, a meditation, a personal reflection, or simply a collection of phrases.  There are no rules! Sometimes, a scent might not be evocative for an individual, and this is fine. Simply chose another one that ‘works’.

For example, a coniferous fragrance might evoke ‘a rainy autumn day in a forest’, and this can be described in detail – sights, sounds, sensations. An exotic flower scent could transport the individual to a ‘peaceful, lush, tropical island’, and again this can be imagined and conveyed with descriptive words. Or, the aromatic might conjure up feelings and sensations; for example, soft gentle balsamic scents might evoke feelings of being wrapped in warm fluffy blankets, while some herbal aromatics might conjure up the feeling of sunshine on the skin. Sometimes, scents might evoke places where specific feelings might be experienced. Sometimes, the scent can be associated with a specific memory, which can be re-experienced and described, while other times, something quite abstract and seemingly unrelated to the specific aromatic might emerge.

At the end of the exercise, the answers to the questions can be discussed, and the creative writing shared if desired. Most individuals will be happy to do this, unless of course their words are of a private nature.

This exercise is taken from Listening to Scent by Jennifer Peace Rhind, the book has many more ideas on experimenting with scent and is great for beginners and professionals alike.