The history of aromatherapy:
Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing and cosmetic purposes. The history of aromatherapy can be drawn from many places, such as the Egyptians who developed the first distillation machines to obtain oils. The use of aromatic oils as mood enhancers is thought to have originated in China, and the Greeks contributed to modern aromatherapy, especially as it was used for healing purposes and a highly valued practice. In fact, in Greek mythology it is believed that Gods were gifted with the knowledge of perfume and fragrance. Medical benefits of aromatherapy were not proven until World War II, where a French surgeon, Jean Valnet used essential oils to aid in healing soldiers’ wounds.
So, how can aromatherapy help teens? It can actually help in many of the challenges heightened during adolescence. Essential oil properties vary from oil to oil, something that can make the process of looking to buy any intimidating, but the ones I will be detailing in this article are especially useful for dealing with stress, mood swings, concentration, and have a multitude of other uses.
Uses: Rosemary is the perfect oil for pre-exam stress, this is because it has not only been shown to improve both concentration levels and information recall, but it can also reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, rosemary can lower levels of cortisol, a hormone which can cause insomnia and mood swings, this means that rosemary can boost your mood, making you feel more energetic, more alert, and happier. Ideal mental conditions for exam season!
How to Use: One way you can apply rosemary is by applying a diluted oil to your skin.
Uses: Peppermint is perfect for those mornings when you feel tired and unmotivated as it is a natural stimulant of which helps concentration, boosts energy, and overall mental performance. Both exhaustion and irritability are lessened by peppermint and it can also help to alleviate stress.
How to Use: Peppermint can be applied from an oil and rubbed into the skin; if you are using it specifically for stress then it can be rubbed into the temple.
Uses: When going through a stressful time in your life, lavender can assist in making it just that bit easier to manage. Perhaps best known for its calming properties, lavender indeed promotes calmness and induces sleep due to being a sedative. Additionally, lavender has been shown to have uplifting effects, this leads to an overall result of you feeling well-rested and in a good mood!
How to Use: Lavender is relatively easy to access in many different forms. In oil form it can be bought at local shops or ordered online (websites listed at the end), in its raw form you can even grow your own lavender relatively easily from the seed. If grown, then one way to use lavender is by cutting off a sprig and placing it under your pillow.
Uses: Another very useful oil for relaxation is clary sage, which has been shown to reduce dizziness, anxiety, and irritability. Some studies even show that it can help with blocked creativity and confusion.
How to Use: Clary sage is best used as an oil mixed with another substance such as coconut oil and then massaged into the skin. Another way to use it , especially for relaxation, is to put three to five drops into bathwater, this also has cosmetic benefits from the oil on your skin and is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the relaxation through the steam produced.
Overall, aromatherapy has amazing benefits for everyone; it is easily accessible through online shops, high street shops and even your own garden! As a method of self-care, aromatherapy is easy to do and the cosmetic and mental gains are abundant. It can help you generally feel like your best self!
Useful websites for buying essential oils:
I think there’s something about certain TV show characters.
I’ve binged a lot of shows in my life -sitcoms, romcoms, dramas, everything. I’ve found myself getting lost in TV characters and their stories. There’s something about being invested in them that makes me hit that dreaded next episode button. Heck, I’ve even found myself watching fan edits and reading fan-fiction about some characters. When you become invested in their story, they can become a big part of your life.
The first show I watched properly and intensely was the Big Bang Theory. I haven’t shied away from criticising the show in my previous articles, but that doesn’t make it any less important. I started watching it with my dad in when it first aired in 2007, and even though I felt the show and its comedic elements went downhill, I still tuned in a few months ago for the series finale. It felt like part of my childhood was ending - the show had been in my life for eleven years.
Another show that really pulled at my heartstrings was How I Met Your Mother. The show captures the lives of five friends in the big city - which is the pretence for every sitcom ever - but somehow, each individual character makes you feel different things. It follows issues such as break-ups, cheating, losing people close to you, infertility and absent parents. I’ve dealt with some of those things in my own life and seeing it reflected on-screen did something to me.
The thing about TV characters is that they’re always there. They’re constant - things around you might change rapidly but your favourite show will always be there to watch when you need it. The sense of community that you get from a sitcom or the feeling of warmth from an amazing series finale can brighten your day.
I’ve found inspiration in them as well. When there’s an epic love story, it influences my own writing. When there’s heartbreak, I’ve translated the angst that worked in the show into my own work. There are real people behind the characters and words and feelings and that can easily hit home for you.
For example, I’ve been watching Jane the Virgin since it aired in 2014. I recently got around to watch the series finale and it made me cry - in fact, it wasn’t crying. It was ugly howling and blubbering and weeping. The show made me feel something. I felt like I was saying goodbye to an old friend. It’s so easy to get invested in them.
For me, I love the feeling of being involved. After watching ten seasons of Friends, I felt like I was a member of their group. After bingeing Orange Is the New Black, I felt passionate about seeing where the women in the show went. It’s okay to let yourself be uplifted by a TV show. Sometimes, it can be a distraction or even a coping mechanism to help you deal with things going on in your own life.
Never be embarrassed to embrace your love of TV shows and the characters within them. The people on screen can be our heroes - I’m not afraid to let myself be inspired by them.