Posts in aromatherapy
Relax with a DIY Massage
 
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Massages have a multitude of health benefits in addition to that “aahhhh”-inducing effect. However, you don’t have to find a professional to get the boosts of a massage--actually, you don’t have to find anyone!

Just like you can DIY your home decor or a multitude of crafts, you can DIY a massage (BYO oils or lotions optional!).

Self-massage can help relieve pain, including symptoms of osteoarthritis. Researchers had study participants suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee do 20-minute self-massage therapy sessions, focusing on their quadriceps muscle. The OA patients who did the self-massage felt significantly less OA pain and stiffness.

The benefits can also be mental. In one study, smokers trying to quit were prescribed three daily hand and ear self-massages during their withdrawal symptoms, including cigarette cravings. After one month, the smokers reported feeling less anxious and moody--two common smoking cessation withdrawal symptoms. Not only that, but those who did the self-massages smoked fewer cigarettes each day by the end of the study than those who did not do-self massage.

In a study of adults suffering from wrist and/or hand arthritis, self-massaging every day (paired with a weekly massage done by someone else) resulted in lower levels of anxiety, depression, and physical pain, while also increasing the strength of their grip.

Try massaging all the way down to your toes: Foot massages also have considerable benefits, including boosting your mood while tamping down stress. Also, in one study, researchers found that the immune systems of people who gave themselves foot massages improved over time. (Put that tip in your back pocket for flu season!)

DIY:

Here are some tips from the Arthritis Foundation, aimed at those with arthritis, but could be helpful to anyone interested in trying some self-massage:

  • Start by warming up your muscles by using large, vigorous strokes, then switch to smaller strokes focused on areas you’d like to target. Applying heat before starting your self-massage can also help your muscles relax.

  • When you move into the smaller strokes, you can try holding certain points, rubbing back and forth or deeper strokes along the length of your muscle

  • Pressure-wise, just be sure that you aren’t pressing hard enough that it hurts

  • You can add oil or lotion (scented for an aromatherapy boost as well!) to make the stroking easier.

  • If you already visit masseuses regularly, you can also add self-massage between visits to enjoy the benefits longer.

Go ahead, rub on some relaxation. You deserve it.


 

 
Mind-Boosting Scents
 
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By Hannah Woit

You’re ready to work--you have enough light, some classical music playing in the background, your coffee by your side, and the thermostat is adjusted just so. You might be less likely to think about the smell when setting up your work environment. But, just like a jolt of caffeine, you can strategically use scents to improve your work and mood.

At Primary, you’ll be welcomed by the scent of lemongrass at the front desk and in the restrooms--a scent that has been shown to reduce tension. Smelling lemongrass may also help ease your anxiety more quickly, according to researchers in Brazil.

Stressed? Try sniffing lemon--the linalool in lemons may calm you down, as can basil, juniper, or lavender.

Crunching a bunch of numbers? Try diffusing rosemary in your office--it could help you complete math problems more quickly and accurately, according to UK researchers.

Since there’s a strong link between your memories and smell, your personal experiences also help determine which scents will be beneficial to you. Your personal preferences also play a role. Generally, if you think of an aroma as pleasant, you’ll feel more social and be more productive and patient in the face of frustration.

In Scientific American, Rachel S. Herz, an assistant professor of psychology at Brown University, points to research in which subjects who were exposed to a pleasant smelling air freshener set higher goals and were more likely to choose strategies that helped them work more productively.

If your work has you on the goo, in a coworking space, or you don’t necessarily want your neighbors to pick up the scent, try using a rollerball to daub the insides of your wrists every time you need a boost.

Prefer sprays? We are fans of Manaòs Beauty’s Divina Floresta Aura Mists, with scents of white sage and white cedar and other essential oils. They’re organic, vegan, and inspired by the Amazonian rainforests. Plus, the company has a positive social mission and honors the earth--what better way to celebrate Earth Month?