How Does Aromatherapy Work — The Nose Knows!

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President Obama had good reason to stand tall as he touted his commitment to clean energy and to environmental and public health protections in his Jan. 24 State-of-the-Union address and as he unveiled his 2013 budget on Monday.

During his administration, America has made historic progress toward curbing harmful pollutions that contaminate our air, water, lands and wildlife — and contribute to asthma attacks, heart attacks and even premature deaths.

These achievements are all the more noteworthy because the president faced down polluters and a hostile House of Representatives that, led by Tea Party extremists, cast almost 200 anti-environment votes last year. We and our supporters all across the country have stood with him in this fight and we will continue to do so.

In December, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the first-ever national standards to reduce mercury, lead, and other pollution from coal- and oil-burning power plants. These safeguards are likely to be among the Obama Administration’s most significant environmental accomplishments.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that damages developing brains in kids and fetuses. Prenatal exposure to even low levels of mercury can cause life-long troubles with language skills, fine motor function, and the capability to pay attention.

Coal-fired power plants are the largest industrial source of mercury emissions, yet they have dodged mercury and other air toxics rules for decades. Virtually every other major industrial sector in the United States has been subject to such standards for more than 10 years.

Thanks to the new standards, these polluters will finally have to clean up their act. As a result, the standards will prevent 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks every year.

While cracking down on polluters, the Obama Administration also has been promoting clean energy solutions that will create jobs and unleash innovation.

In July, the president proposed a new round of fuel-efficiency standards for cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks that will double vehicle miles per gallon to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Such improvements to within 20 years will reduce carbon pollution by 280 million metric tons — the equivalent of shutting 70 coal-fired power plants for a year. And by 2030, the fuel efficiency standards will also cut our oil use by more than we imported from Saudi Arabia and Iraq in 2010 and save drivers more than $80 billion a year at the pump.

Building more efficient automobiles has already put Americans to work. More than 150,000 Americans currently have jobs making parts for and assembling clean automobiles — hybrids, electric cars, and other advanced automobiles that available 10 years ago. That’s why the automobile industry, labor unions, and the environmental community are united in supporting the president’s clean car standards.

To be sure, the Obama Administration also has ceded ground on some issues to polluters. Its decisions to postpone smog standards and leave the door open to offshore drilling in the Arctic will benefit dirty industries and make it harder for Americans to protect our health and resources. So our work goes on. And we are in this for the long haul.

In the meantime, all Americans benefit from having cleaner skies and more home-grown clean energy.

Even in the face of a year of unprecedented and unrelenting congressional assault on the environment, President Obama has proven that prosperity fits hand-in-hand with clean air and clean water, and strong public health protections.

We have a shared responsibility to protect our environment and health. Future generations deserve nothing less. Let’s keep building on this progress.

(Frances Beinecke is president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Margie Alt is executive director of Environment America.)

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How Does Aromatherapy Work — The Nose Knows! How does Aromatherapy work? To answer this question, let’s start by taking a look at Essential Oils, which are the heart and soul of Aromatherapy.

What Exactly Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are microscopic molecules of “oil” extracted from the flowers, leaves, stems and/or roots of plants such as trees, shrubs, grasses, flowers and herbs. Simply speaking, essential oils contain the distilled essence of the plant.

For example, if you were to simmer a big pot of lavender flowers on the stove for a while, you’d start to notice little blobs of oil forming on top of the water. This is the essential oil – the essence of the lavender flowers.

Note: This is not a good method of extraction because the essential oil quickly goes moldy due to the presence of water. Plus, it takes A LOT of lavender flowers to make even the tiniest amount of oil. It’s just not worth it – there’s so many other great things you can do with lavender flowers!

Essential oils have microscopically small molecules. There are approximately 40 million trillion molecules in one drop of essential oil. Their tiny size makes it very easy for our skin and our lungs to absorb them. That’s why they’re so powerful and so effective.

How Do Essential Oils Get Inside Us?

When essential oils oils are absorbed through the skin, such as with massage, they travel into the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system then circulates them into the blood stream.

Once the oils are circulating in the blood, they really get to work, reducing inflammation, fixing imbalances, fighting infection and so on.

Even when you simply inhale an essential oil, such as with a diffuser, the oil is absorbed through the mucous membranes of your respiratory tract and lungs. Then it’s transferred into the blood stream to work its healing magic.

How Do Essential Oils Help our Bodies?

Essential oils contain hundreds of natural chemicals. Although each oil has its own unique chemical components, what makes all essential oils special is something called “terpenes”.

Terpenes do a lot of work in our bodies.

? They create an environment unfriendly to viruses, bacteria and fungi. This is why they’re called ‘antiseptic’ (which basically means germ killing.) Some powerful antiseptic essential oils are Lemon, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Pine and Lavender. That’s why you see them in home cleaning products!

? They help reduce inflammation. Symptoms of inflammation include pain, redness and swelling. Some good anti-inflammatory essential oils are Chamomile, Lavender, Sandalwood and Benzoin.

? They reprogram our cells so they function and replicate properly. For example, essential oils such as Basil, Pine and Rosemary restore function to the adrenal glands.

? They are sedative. They relax our nervous system and our muscles, which helps ease pain, tension, cramps and muscle spasms. Sedative essential oils include Lavender, Clary Sage, Geranium, and Ylang Ylang.

How Do Essential Oils Affect our Emotions?

Inhaling essential oils stimulates the olfactory nerves (sense of smell), which send signals to the brain’s limbic system (sometimes called the ’emotional brain’.)

The limbic system controls heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory and hormone production. When the limbic system receives signals from the olfactory nerves, it triggers an emotional, physiological and endocrine (hormone) response.

For example, when you smell Lavender essential oil, its microscopic chemicals immediately trigger your emotional brain to calm your nervous system and relax your muscles. These combined effects reduce your stress and help you sleep.

How Can I Use Aromatherapy to Feel Better?

Aromatherapy is especially well known for its stress-relieving powers. You can use it in a hundred different ways to calm your nerves, ease your anxiety and relax your muscles. You can also use essential oils to clear up troubled skin, revitalize your hair or relieve your aching back.

It’s surprisingly easy (and a lot of fun) to make your own bath, body and massage oils, bath salts and body lotions. Even make your own aromatherapy candles! You simply need a little knowledge and a few basic ingredients.

Try using aromatherapy today – you’ll have fun, save money and smell fabulous!

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose, or cure any condition.

Kyley Zimmerman works from home and focuses on making her family life happy, healthy and eco-friendly. She shares her love of making natural bath, body and home products at Check it out!

February 16, 2012iavalanche Comments Off on How Does Aromatherapy Work — The Nose Knows!
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