Aromatic Gifts of Nature – the Power of Scents
According to Maharishi Ayurveda, the key to health lies with the three doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha. If they are in their natural, individual balanced state, we feel good, efficient, and are very healthy *. Maharishi Ayurveda, however, records different therapies to balance the doshas, if they ever become unbalanced.
Some of these therapies directly use our five senses, for example, music and sound therapy (hearing), massage and Abhyanga (sense of touch), color and light therapy (sense of sight) or Ayurvedic dietetics (sense of taste). According to Maharishi Ayurveda we can also balance the doshas via the sense of smell, using the incredible energy of fragrances.
Why do scents affect us so strongly?
Did you know that the sense of smell is one of the oldest senses in the evolutionary history of vertebrates? With every breath we smell using the approximately 10 million olfactory cells which are present in our olfactory mucosa!
When we first enter a room or meet an unknown person, it is usually the sense of smell that creates the first impression. Quite unconsciously, many people say, "It smells fishy to me." Also our memories and emotions are closely linked with scents and smells. A smell can suddenly trigger the memory of a long forgotten situation in which we smelt it for the first time.
When you see, hear, feel and taste, the impressions must first be processed and assessed in the cerebral cortex of the brain. Fragrances, however, get through the so-called olfactory bulb directly into the limbic system of the brain that affects the control of emotions, memory and drive. So even before we consciously perceive a scent it has already touched us on a subconscious level. The limbic system in the brain is also responsible for the release of endorphins, the body's own "happiness hormones". Therefore fragrances are able to release these neurotransmitters and cause feelings of relaxation, well-being and happiness.
How does Ayurveda use the power of scents?
In Ayurveda, a variety of substances are used as flavorings. Essential oils, known as the "life force" or "soul" of plants, are the essences present in the flowers, fruits, leaves, wood, seeds, roots and bark of plants. Each fragrance unfolds its own effect on the doshas. On the basis of authentic texts, experienced Maharishi Ayurveda Vaidyas (Ayurvedic scholars) have compiled exclusive fragrance combinations, which can be applied easily and effectively:
For Vata Aroma Oil sweet, heavy and acidic flavors are used such as orange, geranium, basil. They often help to soothe excess vata dosha.
Excess Pitta dosha is soothed by cooling, sweet aromas such as sandalwood, ylang-ylang and lavender. Therefore, Pitta Aroma Oil is especially useful if you are feeling irritable and generally on hot summer days. The main constituent of our Pitta Aroma Oil is the most rare and precious high quality sandalwood oil (Santalum album).
Excess Kapha is balanced by spicy, sharp, bitter and warming scents such as rosemary, eucalyptus, camphor and frankincense. Therefore Kapha Aroma Oil is recommended especially for people with a kapha dominance and generally in spring.
Nidra Aroma Oil is recommended as a wonderful way to prepare for a relaxing, rejuvenating night's sleep, and includes among other essences bergamot, marjoram, and lavender.
Many people in our affluent society have excess meda-dhatu (fatty tissues). Meda products can balance this dhatu. Juniper, myrrh, and peppermint essential oils form among others the balanced composition of Meda Aroma Oil. This is ideal for use in combination with Meda food supplements
Also Maharishi Ayurveda massage and hair oils for Vata, Pitta and Kapha contain carefully selected essential oils. Their fresh aromas – for example, Vata Massage Oil with Lemon, and Pitta Massage Oil with sandalwood – are wonderfully dosha-balancing, even during a body or head massage.
It is very important that only high quality essential oils are used for Ayurvedic aromatherapy.
What are high quality essential oils?
The highest quality essential oils which have the most effective aroma are 100% natural, completely pure, extracted from organically grown or wild harvested plants, processed gently without the use of chemicals, and contain no synthetic additives. Maharishi Ayurveda products strictly adheres to all these criteria.
High quality essential oils should be cold pressed and carefully distilled. Thus the majority of the active components contained in the oils are retained. This requires a correspondingly high effort: To produce only one kilogram of essential oil, requires an average of 70 kilograms of plant material. To produce one kilogram of lavender oil requires as much as 160 kilograms of lavender plants , and one kilogram of rose oil requires an unimaginable 4000 kilograms of rose petals.
How are essential oils best used?
Good oils should be kept protected from the sun in colored bottles, in a cool place. The most effective way to use essential oils is to use a micro-atomiser which almost instantly converts the essential oils into millions of tiny ionised scent particles. Thus the oils do not condense but fill the entire room with stunning long lasting fragrance.
Mixed with a base oil, such as almond or jojoba oil, your aroma oil can be used as perfume throughout the day.
Enjoy pure wellness - with Ayurvedic aroma oils
Many customers report that they always carry a vial of Vata Aroma Oil when traveling. In the evening, soothe increased vata dosha by sprinkling a few drops on a handkerchief, place on the pillow, and enjoy the relaxing aroma. Just try it.
Pamper yourself with a relaxing evening bath, adding a few drops of Nidra aroma oil to prepare for a rejuvenating night's sleep while listening to the soothing sounds of Maharishi Gandharva Veda music. Immerse yourself in pure wellness!
* If you are a newcomer to Maharishi Ayurveda and want to learn more about the three doshas, please go to "Doshas at a glance: Everything you need to know about Vata, Pitta, and Kapha".