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Is Work Keeping You From Enjoying the Outdoors?

Stress Solver

The art of aromatherapy stimulates senses — and promotes health and relaxation — with nature-based smells.

One of the most effective and pleasant practices to come out of the world of herbal medicine is aromatherapy — the use of aromatic essential oils derived from herbs and other plants to enhance physical and psychological well-being. And, while aromatherapy is available at spas, it’s easy for anyone to incorporate it into daily life, says Pam Conrad, RN, BSN, PGd, CCAP, a certified clinical aromatherapist and medical educator based in Indianapolis, Ind. It can also be used to aid relaxation and recovery in medical settings: Clinical aromatherapy is often used to help mothers relax in childbirth and to help cancer patients cope with chemotherapy nausea.

Origins: Healing with aromatic oils and herbs is ancient — the Greek physician Hippocrates was an advocate — but modern aromatherapy began with French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé’s work in the 1920s and ’30s. Robert B. Tisserand brought the French techniques to the English-speaking world with his 1978 book, The Art of Aromatherapy, and since then, aromatherapy has thrived here in both clinical and spa settings.

Benefits: “The main benefit of both clinical and nonclinical aromatherapy is relaxation,” says Conrad. “It’s a safe, simple therapy for reducing stress and for promoting all the good things that come with that — and for furthering deep sleep.” Aromatic oils also have stimulating properties. “Mint and rosemary oils are particularly uplifting,” says Conrad. Certain oils have antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help you stay healthy in flu season, and mint, ginger and lavender oils help alleviate nausea.

Simple Steps: Though you can enjoy aromatherapy treatments at most spas today, it’s also easy to self-treat with oils. You can rub a drop or two of a favorite essential oil between your hands, then wave them around for a quick lift, or use a candle-warmed diffuser like the one below to send a continual, warm aroma flow into your room. Essential-oil-laced water spritzers are great for freshening the air without overly perfuming it. There are also a number of diffuser products that plug into a wall outlet or a dashboard cigarette lighter.

Whatever method you choose, be respectful about using aromatherapy anywhere but your personal space, because some people are quite sensitive to fragrances.

Conrad suggests that you first consult a competent aromatherapist or a Web site, like that of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy ( or the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (, where you can learn which oils do what and how to apply them. There are a few cautions: Use only pure, nonsynthetic, oils; make sure to dilute oils intended for skin application with an unscented carrier oil such as almond or apricot; use externally only; and avoid overuse, which will make the oils less effective. If you are pregnant or have a serious illness, consult with a clinical aromatherapist or your healthcare professional before using.

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Kara, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life is the best whole-life health and fitness magazine you’ve never heard of — until now!  We aim to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenge the conventions of hype, gimmicks, and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to explore 10-plus years of archives, to sign up for our newsletters, and to subscribe to our print or digital editions. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.


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5:06AM PDT on May 12, 2015

I’m trampled by your contents carry on the wonderful work.

7:01PM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Love to work in the garden all summer. It's a great workout and the fruits and veggies are worth the labor.
To assure I can get more time outdoors this summer, I switched my hours to nights.

12:17PM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Just a random fact about "stranger danger": more kids die from falling off a bunk bed than are kidnapped by strangers. Worry about the people you know, not the ones you don't, and let the kids go outside!

1:33AM PST on Mar 9, 2013

I can takes so much time, grocery shopping is a must too as well as few other things and then nothing is left of the day.....

10:36AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Great tips, thanks.

3:15PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Good ideas. Thanks.

6:19PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

Thanks for the advice. I found it very helpful.

5:54PM PST on Nov 11, 2011


7:08PM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

Thanks,common sense to most I would think.

2:16AM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

thanks for sharing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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I am very glad that I do not have to go to work again. :-) Thanks for sharing.

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