Monday, September 14, 2009

Aromatherapy for weight loss. Part 2. Essential oils and how to use them. Precautions/warning.

14 September 2009

Hi there! It's me Svetlana. After learning the science behind aromatherapy use for weight loss and mood improvement, let’s talk what essential oils to use, how to do it, and discuss some precautions and warnings.

These essential oils are helpful with weight loss/curbing appetite:

1. Cravings for sweets: vanilla (decreases cravings for sweets).

2. Appetite reduction: patchouli, bergamot, peppermint, allspice, grapefruit, rosemary, coriander seed, sage, marjoram, celery leaves, cilantro, dill, spearmint, fennel, orange, cinnamon, basil, lemon, oregano, lime, savory, thyme. In general, essential oils associated with cooking or culinary herbs were most successful. The flower and medicinal scents were least effective.

3. Depression: lemon, grapefruit, sandalwood, sage, ylang ylang, orange, geranium, jasmine.

4. Stress management: jasmine, lavender, ylang ylang, grapefruit, sandalwood, rose, bergamot, mandarin, geranium.

5. Happiness: lemon, orange, grapefruit, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang.

6. Insecurity, lack of confidence: bergamot, cypress, jasmine, rosemary, orange, grapefruit, sandalwood, cedar wood.

You can buy essential oils on line, or in natural food stores. On line you can find them on sale. There are many web sites to buy essential oils on line. Compare prices. I like these web sites. Remember: do not be discouraged with the size of the aromatic oil container (yes, they are tiny!): the product will last, as you use so litttle of it, just drops.

How to use aromatic essential oils:

1. Sniffing.

This is the essential method of aromatherapy used for weight loss and maintenance and for curbing appetite and cravings.

Studies by Dr. Hirsch and his colleagues from The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Institute in Chicago, Illinois found that inhaling certain culinary scents (Lemon, Basil, Oregano, etc.) throughout the day will suppress desire to taste and to eat. Inhaling the scent 3-6 times in each nostril several times per day should do the trick. Just make sure you inhale deep enough, otherwise it may produce the opposite effect of increasing appetite.

Dr. Hirsch found that you could not “smell too much”. The more people used scents to control their appetite, the more weight they lost. Keep oils on you or close by and use them any time you feel hunger, boredom, or at the beginning of each meal. Open the bottle, and take 3-6 whiffs in each nostril, covering the other one with a finger. Breathe as deeply as you can, especially in the partially closed nostril.

Also the researchers found that for the maximum effect one has to use three different essential oils over the course of the day, and change them the next day. For example, use Lemon, Oregano, and Peppermint today, and Basil, Rosemary, and Orange tomorrow, etc. Use Vanilla whenever you are craving sweets. Inhale one out of three oils at a time and use another one next time. Make sure you cap the bottle immediately after each use to prevent oils from diffusing into air.

Study the list of essential oils I provided above, and find which ones will fit your goals, and remember to “rotate” them on a daily basis by a bunch of three.
Essential oils are sold in small bottles, so it's easy to carry them with you (see picture below). Make sure you close bottles well after each use and put them in a ziplock bag or a small freezer bag (more sturdy) to pevent spillage.

2. Bath.

Mix 8-10 drops of the oil(s) of your choice with 1 tablespoon of milk (which acts as a carrier so you don’t burn your skin). Pour into warm water of the bathtub and mix around. Take a relaxing bath for 10-15 min (do not exceed 20 min) before bedtime. Finish with a warm shower to wash off the excess oil from your skin.

3. Steam inhalation.

Add three-four drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water or a steamer (facial sauna) like on the picture below. Cover your head with a towel and breathe the mist of the steam and the essential oil for about 10-15 min. Make sure your face if far enough from the bowl and the steam temperature is acceptable to prevent the skin and the airways burn. This technique combines a full benefit of the aromatherapy with a nice steam treatment for the skin (you can follow with a pore cleansing procedure I am also describing in this chapter).

Finish with washing your face and neck with a lukewarm water.

4. Oil burner (or a candle).

Ideal for a quiet evening or a relaxing weekend indoors. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of warm water with 5-6 drops of essential oil of your choice in an oil burner bowl. Light the candles, put on nice relaxing music, and enjoy the aroma. This is an example of an inexpensive oil burner onw can buy in any department store.

5. Massage (or self-massage).

An excellent choice for busy ladies which saves time while combining benefits of massage and aromatherapy.

Combine about 5cc of “carrier oil” (olive, safflower, sunflower, grape seed, almond, coconut, jojoba) or any skin cream or lotion and 2-3 drops of essential oil. Olive oil is an excellent choice due to its relative inexpensiveness and availability. Perform anti-cellulite self-massage described in the chapter “Fight cellulite at home”. Essential oil used without carrier oil may burn the skin. Remember, we use milk as a carrier for the same reason in our aromatherapy bath. See below a note on carrier oils and where to get them.

6. Bed linens/pillows.

Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil on your bed linens and/or a pillow and inhale while sleeping. I recommend using only oils with calming properties for this purpose (see “stress reduction” section).

7. Handkerchief or clothing.

Consider sprinkling several drops of essential oil of your choice on a handkerchief for a use during the day, including the office. If you don’t have a handkerchief, put several drops of oil in your underwear drawer to aromatize your bras and camisoles, so you can inhale the smell all day long.


Try not to use fragrance oils/perfumes/chemicals in place of essential oils. First of all, they are not natural, and you have no idea what you are inhaling in your lungs. Secondly, as all synthetic products, they may cause allergic reactions. Of course, in people prone to allergies, even essential oils may cause it, but most people handle them well.

Before using essential oils, make sure they come from a reputable source, and if you have any medical problems, consult with your physician if you can use them safely. People with asthma and migraine may experience worsening of those conditions while inhaling various scents.

Rare liver toxicity was reported after using EXCCESSIVE amount of essential oils. Essential oils are fat soluble products, so they are cleared from the body through liver. If oils are introduced into the body faster than liver can break them down and remove, toxicity can occur. This was noticed with excessive skin application, so sniffing as described above, should not cause any problems. Again, if you have any concerns, or a liver disease, consult with your doctor prior to the use of aromatherapy. Of course, there are certified aromatherapists who can lead you, but remember, we want to be beautiful and healthy as cheap as possible, and aromatherapists charge money. As a compromise, you may suggest an initial consultation, and take it from there. 5-12 cc of a pure essential oil ordered on line will cost as little as $6-7 (of course, there are more expensive options, but do we need them?), and you really don’t need more than six-to seven oils to work with if you keep rotating them. And they will last for a while: for once, you are sniffing them, not eating them!!! There are essential oils blends you can order on line, for various purposes of beauty. Before using them, read the instructions and follow them carefully.

If you decided not to do sniffing (which is still the MOST EFFECTIVE aromatherapy method for appetite reduction and weight control and can be done only with pure, natural essential oils), and want to use scents by other means (bath, burners, etc), it’s less essential what quality scents you use. Of course, we want to be organic and natural and I suggest you continue using essential oils, but dunking several drops of essential oil in your bathtub every day will consume much more oil, and will be much more expensive. You can use synthetic fragrance oils, oil blends (mixed with carrier oils), or burn scented candles instead. Banana and green apple fragrance oil (synthetic products, not to be confused with natural essential oils) are good for appetite reduction; chocolate fragrance oil is great for curbing sweets cravings.

A couple of words on carrier oils. Carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the nuts, seeds, or kernels. If applied to the skin undiluted, essential oils can cause severe skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils prior to application. They CARRY the essential oil onto the skin. Each carrier oil offers a different combination of therapeutic properties and characteristics and you can chose any you want. Natural lotions, body oils, bath oils, creams, and other moisturizing skin care products are also made using vegetable (carrier) oils. You can make a simple and cheap essential oil/carrier oil blend of your choice for massage or bath. Olive, safflower, or sunflower, grape seed, almond, coconut, jojoba oils make an excellent choice. They are relatively cheap and available in every grocery store. One can use a few drops of essential oils without carrier oils for sniffing, steam inhalation (you dilute it in water instead), scenting bed linens or clothing, and in oil burners. Just use your imagination and have fun!

Recommended web sites to visit (to buy essential oils):

This is all for this post. Keep reading!


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