The art of aromatherapy is not as simple as smelling something wonderful and getting well. Whether you’re new to essential oils or just need a refresher, here’s the lowdown on this holistic therapy.
1. It’s so much more than just ‘relaxing spa smells’
Aromatherapy is the life force or essence of plants, herbs, flowers, bark and resins that have been extracted into concentrated essential oils. These potent and aromatic essential oils naturally speak to our general health and wellbeing.
Aromatherapy can be enjoyed in many ways but its primary modus operandi works to stimulate our sense of smell to stimulate our olfactive pathways and limbic systems, unlocking emotions using essential oils. When we inhale odour molecules from essential oil blends or perfumes, these smell compounds act on olfactory receptors that send messages to the part of the brain that influences our mood, state of mind and small ailments. The history of aromatherapy dates back to the age of ancient civilisations in China, Egypt and India where resins, balms, and distilled oils and flower waters were used for both medicinal and sacred, religious purposes. The term aromatherapy was coined by French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé in 1937, who once applied lavender oil to heal a bacterial wound infection. Unlike commercial perfumes, the healing properties of each plant contributes to a person’s overall physical and psychological wellbeing.
2. The healing touch
Your body heals itself. There are many self-healing mechanisms in the body that work quietly in the background to restore vitality and optimise health—whether to heal from a wound or to strengthen the immunity system. However, due to various internal and external stressors, these healing processes slow down.
Here’s what essential oils can do: they can gently stimulate and/or activate various processes in the body to help relieve minor ailments like digestive problems, insomnia, migraines, nasal congestion, pre-menstrual tension, and psychological stress. Many essential oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus, and lemon have anti-bacterial, antiseptic and anti-viral properties, so they are able to help strengthen the immune system. The antibodies, endorphins and neurochemicals are released in response to essential oils, and these can in turn alter the body’s physiology and behaviour.
3. The uses of aromatherapy
Essential oils can be used in a wide spectrum of methods. A simple, holistic approach includes:
vaporised oils and steam inhalation such as with the use of electric diffusers and vaporisers
As with anything, common sense should always prevail. Always consult your primary care physician and only use aromatherapy complimentary to (not in place of) conventional medicine. Clinical aromatherapy, where a systematic use of essential oils is used to treat clinically diagnosed medical conditions, can only be practiced by medical doctors or clinical therapists with a background in clinical aromatherapy.
4. Explore safely
While it may seem fun to mix and match essential oils with wild abandon, recreating remedies found online, make your mantra: Safety First. Understand that essential oils are the pure essences of plants, and therefore concentrated and very potent.
When used incorrectly—whether in the method, duration or dosage—essential oils can cause adverse reactions and temporary side effects like headaches, allergies and skin irritations like rashes, redness, hot flushes and itchiness. To prolong the integrity of each oil and protect your family, always keep your oils tightly capped in a safe, dry spot, out of reach from children or pets.
To learn how your skin reacts to a particular essential oil, blend 3 to 5 conservative drops into a tablespoon of carrier/vegetable oil such as olive, coconut or grapeseed oil and perform a patch test in the crook of your inner arm. For those who have any underlying health conditions, or are taking any medication, it’s best to consult with a medical doctor.
We met charming London-podcaster Flori, from Gloriously Good, while she was in Singapore to share more about how and why Mmerci Encore came to be!
Flori and her husband Jason visited our lululemon MBS pop-up, and turns out they’re regulars at lululemon London’s frequent sweat sessions too!
She is a major nature enthusiast (having spent 8 hours at the Singapore Botanic Gardens!), is incredibly passionate about beauty and travel, and comes from a tech/ecommerce background. You’ll not meet a sweeter soul!
“Emotionally, I wanted to stay. Intellectually, I wanted to leave. As always, I seem to enjoy punishing myself.”
— Susan Sontag
There’s a line in the Bible: If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.
What will I do when I close the book on this current life chapter? Let my peace rest or take it back? I’m not entirely sure. And the act of even acknowledging that is human and liberating because it’s honest.
I am tired. I imagined this going a different way.
Helping me breathe through this turbulent season is Mmerci Encore’s Recovery Mode blend. My original intention for the blend was to create something that could really help me ground, re-centre, reframe my thoughts, and rediscover my own inner light.
As always, the Recovery Mode blend is formulated with 100% therapeutic grade and natural essential oils – it has loads of sandalwood and organic lavender to really help wick away stress, anxiety and tension. It really eases me into a meditative state even when my heart is in knots.
I may not always be into wood-based essential oils, but this really encourages me to let go of my ruminating and be still in the moment, accepting it for what it is. And for that, I’m thankful.
“Genesis does not stop, your god continues creating you.”
– Frank Herbert
Hello. It’s been mad. It’s been awhile.
I retreated from the screen to do other things, mostly because I didn’t want to churn things out for the sake of content. And because one of my rules in life is to never do something for the sake of merely doing it.
So I emerge from a season of many changes & cities. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bali. Two for work and the latter for pleasure.
In this season of rediscovering our flow, there have been a few panic-filled moments where I asked myself why we don’t create as many products as others out there in the market. But then I was reminded every time that you really can’t rush things made from the heart. Our intention has never been to turn a quick buck and push the hippest, buzziest products #trending out there. So much thought, honesty and care goes into what we do. I will always strive to create from a place of true passion than fear or lack. If we share a new product with you, it’s because it’s come to us in the right time.
In this season, I learned that it was ok to speak and act from a place of deeper honesty and authenticity, even if it meant clearly defining boundaries (I for one, am ok with living in the grey for the most part!). That people choosing to leave was more a reflection on them, and that I was free to move on. That if things weren’t working for me, I could just reframe the problem and approach things from a different angle.
Basically, while the Old Me would have chosen to take on an issue as being my problem to handle, I’m glad I didn’t take the bait in some situations and opted to let an issue rest instead. Not my circus, not my monkeys. You cannot possibly control everything.
I learned that if I don’t get quiet or take time to give back to myself after all those big events, travelling and interactions, I’m going to experience a harder crash and feel even darker, more drained than before.
And I’m slowly learning how to rebuild my energy after feeling depleted by people and situations that generally, rob you of your joy. And to give less f*cks in general, as Mark Manson says.
Several nights ago, I got really quiet before bed and created a list of the things I count on to help me increase my vibration. Here are few things that work for me:
Nightly face cleansing that incorporates massage. I love balm cleansers for this very reason. You really have to work it in there, get all that blood circulating, gently drain toxins away & more. Currently loving Eve Lom’s Cleanser.
The hot Lapis Lazuli stone massage at the Ritz-Carlton. My girlfriends treated me to a much-needed spa session in early August and I’ve never looked back since. While I’m not the biggest fan of heat-based treatments (I was literally burned by a spa during my days as a spa judge and reviewer – long story), I really adore this utterly pampering head-to-toe treatment at the Ritz.
Listening to Raura’s Crystal Singing Bowl album which I downloaded off iTunes. It’s so great for grounding and to ease yourself into the evening after a long day of people talking at you.