Think you “smell” only from your nose? Think again!

Posted: November 11, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

I was looking at the search engine terms that are used to find my blog, and found one very interesting: “does aromatherapy work if you can’t smell”.
search engine terms

That’s a question I have asked myself for years.  I have seen elderly people who have lost their sense of smell, improving their sleeping patterns or their general mood by receiving a topical application of essential oils diluted in a carrier oil.  I did know that essential oils were still working, producing great benefits on their general wellbeing, but I lacked the information to explain why aromatherapy still worked if you can’t smell .  Imagine my joy, when I found this article on the New York Times!

When we think of olfactory organs, we obviously think of the nose. But your skin, heart, liver and even your brain possess an astounding number of olfactory receptors. A team of German biologists have been able to establish that these receptors fit with their respective odor molecules like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and set a whole chain of biochemical processes in motion, which in turn are responsible for healing, metabolism and other physiological functions. This finding alone has the potential to explain how and why certain scents affect our mind and body.

Please continue reading this fascinating article:

Taken from: New York Times

Smell Turns Up in Unexpected Places

A team of biologists has found that our skin is bristling with olfactory receptors.

Smell is one of the oldest human faculties, yet it was one of the last to be understood by scientists. It was not until the early 1990s that biologists first described the inner workings of olfactory receptors — the chemical sensors in our noses — in a discovery that won a Nobel Prize.

Since then, the plot has thickened. Over the last decade or so, scientists have discovered that odor receptors are not solely confined to the nose, but found throughout body — in the liver, the heart, the kidneys and even sperm — where they play a pivotal role in a host of physiological functions.

Now, a team of biologists at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany has found that our skin is bristling with olfactory receptors. “More than 15 of the olfactory receptors that exist in the nose are also found in human skin cells,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Hanns Hatt. Not only that, but exposing one of these receptors (colorfully named OR2AT4) to a synthetic sandalwood odor known as Sandalore sets off a cascade of molecular signals that appears to induce healing in injured tissue.

In a series of human tests, skin abrasions healed 30 percent faster in the presence of Sandalore, a finding the scientists think could lead to cosmetic products for aging skin and to new treatments to promote recovery after physical trauma.

The presence of scent receptors outside the nose may seem odd at first, but as Dr. Hatt and others have observed, odor receptors are among the most evolutionarily ancient chemical sensors in the body, capable of detecting a multitude of compounds, not solely those drifting through the air.

“If you think of olfactory receptors as specialized chemical detectors, instead of as receptors in your nose that detect smell, then it makes a lot of sense for them to be in other places,” said Jennifer Pluznick, an assistant professor of physiology at Johns Hopkins University who in 2009 found that olfactory receptors help control metabolic function and regulate blood pressure in the kidneys of mice.

Think of olfactory receptors as a lock-and-key system, with an odor molecule the key to the receptor’s lock. Only certain molecules fit with certain receptors. When the right molecule comes along and alights on the matching receptor, it sets in motion an elaborate choreography of biochemical reactions. Inside the nose, this culminates in a nerve signal being sent to brain, which we perceive as odor. But the same apparatus can fulfill other biological functions as well.

Dr. Hatt was one of the first scientists to study these functions in detail. In a study published in 2003, he and his colleagues reported that olfactory receptors found inside the testes function as a kind of chemical guidance system that enables sperm cells to find their way toward an unfertilized egg, giving new meaning to the notion of sexual chemistry.

He has since identified olfactory receptors in several other organs, including the liver, heart, lungs, colon and brain. In fact, genetic evidence suggests that nearly every organ in the body contains olfactory receptors.

“I’ve been arguing for the importance of these receptors for years,” said Dr. Hatt, who calls himself an ambassador of smell, and whose favorite aromas are basil, thyme and rosemary. “It was a hard fight.”

But researchers have gradually awakened to the biological importance of these molecular sniffers and the promise they hold for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

In 2009, for instance, Dr. Hatt and his team reported that exposing olfactory receptors in the human prostate to beta-ionone, a primary odor compound in violets and roses, appeared to inhibit the spread of prostate cancer cells by switching off errant genes.

The same year, Grace Pavlath, a biologist at Emory University, published a study on olfactory receptors in skeletal muscles. She found that bathing the receptors in Lyral, a synthetic fragrance redolent of lily of the valley, promoted the regeneration of muscle tissue. Blocking these receptors (by neutralizing the genes that code for them), on the other hand, was found to inhibit muscular regeneration, suggesting that odor receptors are a necessary component of the intricate biochemical signaling system that causes stem cells to morph into muscles cells and replace damaged tissue.

“This was totally unexpected,” Dr. Pavlath said. “When we were doing this, the idea that olfactory receptors were involved in tissue repair was not out there.” No doubt, few scientists ever imagined that a fragrance sold at perfume counters would possess any significant medical benefits.

But it may not be all that surprising. Olfactory receptors are the largest subset of G protein-coupled receptors, a family of proteins, found on the surface of cells, that allow the cells to sense what is going on around them. These receptors are a common target for drugs — 40 percent of all prescription drugs reach cells via GPCRs — and that augurs well for the potential of what might be called scent-based medicine.

But because of the complexity of the olfactory system, this potential may still be a long way off. Humans have about 350 different kinds of olfactory receptors, and that is on the low end for vertebrates. (Mice, and other animals that depend heavily on their sense of smell for finding food and evading predators, have more than 1,000.)

Despite recent advances, scientists have matched just a handful of these receptors to the specific chemical compounds they detect — an effort further complicated by the fact that many scent molecules may activate the same receptor and, conversely, multiple receptors often react to the same scent. Little is still known about what most of these receptors do — or, for that matter, how they ended up scattered throughout the body in the first place.

Nor is it even clear that olfactory receptors have their evolutionary origins in the nose. “They’re called olfactory receptors because we found them in the nose first,” said Yehuda Ben-Shahar, a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis who published a paper this year on olfactory receptors in the human lung, which he found act as a safety switch against poisonous compounds by causing the airways to constrict when we inhale noxious substances. “It’s an open question,” he said, “as to which evolved first.”

© 2014, Cristina Proano-Carrion, Aromandina LLC
This information is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this article may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.

How to dilute your essential oils in a carrier oil

Posted: November 6, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

how to apply essential oils topically
One of the most common methods of use of essential oils is by topical application.  Essential oils are very powerful, concentrated and fairly expensive.  When using them topically on your skin, you do need to mix them with a carrier oil.

What is a Carrier Oil?

A carrier oil is a cold pressed vegetable oil that ‘carry” essential oils into the body.  They help to dilute and spread essential oils over the body in a controlled way.  In aromatherapy we only use cold pressed vegetable oils, animal fats and mineral oils are never used.

There are numerous vegetable oils which can be used as carrier oils such as olive oil, grape seed, almond, sunflower, etc.  The problem with these oils is that they tend to oxidize in a fairly short time, leaving an unpleasant rancid smell.

For our Aromandina Body Oils we carefully looked for the best vegetable oils in which to put our high quality essential oils.  We also wanted our base oil to have a longer shelf life and therapeutic properties.  We came up with a specific blend of fractionated coconut oil, golden jojoba and calophyllum inophyllum.  This blend is absorbed quickly by the skin and it doesn’t leave it greasy or sticky.

You can apply any of our Body Oils directly on the skin or dilute your essential oils and essential oil blends in our Therapeutic Carrier Oil.

Ingredients in the Therapeutic Carrier Oil and Body Oils:

Fractionated Coconut Oil

Fine, nourishing therapeutic carrier oil

Fractionated Coconut Oil is separated out from whole coconut oil to produce a superior carrier oil that won’t go rancid. The non-chemical separation process leaves no toxic residues to worry about.
Benefits:
• Remains  liquid even at very low temperatures
• Infinite shelf life, never goes rancid
• Ideal for massage therapy – absorbs more readily into the skin
• Does not stain massage table sheets
• Is the lightest of all the carrier oils
• Leaves skin feeling silky smooth – no greasy feeling
• Colorless and odorless

Calophyllum Inophyllum

Therapeutic Carrier Oil with Well-Known Healing Qualities

Calophyllum Inophyllum, also known as Foraha or Tamanu Oil, is renowned for its remarkable healing properties. It has been shown to aid healing of wounds, including severe cuts and burns, and acts as an effective germicide to kill or prevent infection.

Benefits:
• Rejuvenating to mature skin
• Anti-inflammatory
• Assists with pain relief
• Speeds healing with cuts and burns
• Relieves sunburn
• Very effective on dry or scaly skin

Golden Jojoba Oil

Rich, nourishing therapeutic body oil

Jojoba is a botanical extract of the seed of the jojoba tree. One thing that is interesting about it is that it isn’t actually an oil, but rather a liquid wax. Jojoba oil resembles the sebum of our own skin so it makes a superb moisturizer and is suitable for all skin types. It unclogs the pores and, in so doing, makes the skin free from impurities. This rich, golden oil actually seals moisture in; it is, after all, what helps the jojoba desert plant survive long summer droughts

Benefits:
• Richly moisturizing
• Easily absorbed into skin
• Anti-inflammatory
• Antioxidant


How to dilute your essential oils in the Carrier Oil:


You can make your own personal creations by combining your favorite essential oils and our Therapeutic Carrier Oil.

The recommended dilution rate for general purposes is 2% – 3% for adults and 1% for children, pregnant women and elderly people.

2.5% DILUTION RATE:


1 tablespoon carrier oil + 7 drops
1 ounce carrier oil   + 15 drops
4 ounces carrier oil + 60 drops

1% DILUTION RATE


1 tablespoon carrier oil + 3 drops
1 ounce carrier oil   + 6 drops
4 ounces carrier oil + 24 drops

If you are interested in creating your own customized body oil, read this article here:

HOW TO CREATE A CUSTOMIZED BODY OIL FOR A PERSONAL AROMATHERAPY GIFT

© 2014, Cristina Proano-Carrion, Aromandina LLC
This information is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this article may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.

Aromatherapy — An Easy, Effective Way to Eliminate Stress!

Posted: October 29, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

DeStressSmall
Stress bombards us on a daily basis.  Whether you’re stressed out over that big work project, something your kids did, or the mess in the kitchen, it’s a miserable way to live.  You wind up feeling exhausted, getting a headache, and even suffering tummy troubles.

Luckily, though, there’s an easy way to knock stress right out of your life — aromatherapy!

People are constantly asking me which essential oils are best at combating stress, and the truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe that will combat every single type of stress you encounter during the day.  That’s why I came up with three different essential oil blends that can help you eliminate stress throughout the day — without making you feel groggy or foggy.

Here are 3 easy ways to incorporate stress-busting aromatherapy into your daily routine:

  1. –  Start your day with the ENERGIA blend.  Simply squeeze a drop onto the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, and breathe in this invigorating scent.  It’s made with rosemary, litsea cubeba, and pine — all of which will make you feel alert and focused.

  2. Give yourself a mid-day boost with the ALEGRIA blend.  The mixture of clary sage, ylang ylang, and litsea cubeba will calm you down and put a smile on your face — without the side effects that you get from sedatives.  I like to use this blend in either a burner or diffuser, but you can also squeeze a few drops into a tissue and breathe it in that way.

  3. Ease your way into the evening with the SLEEP TIME blend.  Made with Lavender, Marjoram, Mandarin, and Palo Santo, this blend will stop all of the racing your mind has been doing and leave you feeling calm, relaxed, and ready for a great night’s sleep.  I love to squeeze a couple of drops onto a tissue and place it under my pillow.  By morning, I feel incredibly refreshed!

–  If you really want to pamper yourself, I’ll mix 10 drops of SLEEP TIME with a cup of Epsom salts, mix it with a tub-full of warm water and soak in it. 

–  If you don’t have time for a long, leisurely bath, squeeze four drops of SLEEP TIME onto a washcloth, close your eyes, and press it up against your chest while standing in a hot shower.  After a few deep breaths, you’ll be able to feel your stress going right down the drain!

It’s easy to bid bon voyage to stress… All you have to do is buy Aromandina’s De-Stress Aromatherapy Kit!  Or, buy it for a loved one and give the gift of relaxation!



© 2014, Cristina Proano-Carrion, Aromandina LLC
This information is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this article may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.
 

Your Sense of Smell Could Predict Your Life Span!

Posted: October 24, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

old lady smelling copy

Out of all our senses, the sense of smell probably gets the least attention. But the latest research is about to change that perception! Researchers at University of Chicago recently carried out a study that establishes a strong link between olfactory senses and longevity. 

Here, the scientists used 5 odors (fish, leather, orange, rose and peppermint) to conduct a smell test on 3000 individuals aged between 57-85. Participants were given scores based on how accurately they could identify the smells. 
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Don’t lose sight of your goals this autumn

Posted: October 21, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

visualizing with essential oils

Autumn is a season of transitions. As the year nears its end, it is time to pause and reflect on the months gone by and reassess our goals. Have we accomplished all that we set out to? Has our health been good? Have we been successful in relationships and at work?

Unfulfilled goals may sometimes leave us flustered and desperate, but don’t forget – there is still time and you can still make it! All you need is some reassurance, positivity and hope –and all these come bottled up in the Autumn Blend.

Autumn Essential Oil Blend

Why it works 

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Black Spruce Essential Oil: A Breath of Fresh Air

Posted: October 13, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

cc clairity* at http://flickr.com/photos/38315261@N00/697171078.
cc clairity* at http:[email protected]/697171078.


As the weather gets colder, I feel the need to use “warming” oils that can not only help me breathe better but also make me feel more energetic. A little known oil in this regard is Black Spruce. I have been quite enamored by its soft, fresh, forest-like scent and what it can do for the mind and body.

What is Black Spruce?

A member of the Pinaceae plant family, Spruce is a close cousin of firs, pines and hemlocks. There are over 40 species of Spruce but not all offer therapeutic benefits. Black Spruce (Picea mariana) is an evergreen coniferous tree native to Canada, although it also grows in some parts of Alaska and North America. It is typically found in wet, swampy regions. The sharp, bluish-green needle-like leaves of the tree are the primary source of essential oil, which is extracted through the process of steam distillation. Black Spruce essential oil has a much milder, sweeter scent compared to other oils from the evergreen family.

Black Spruce Essential Oil: Uses in Aromatherapy

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The Ultimate Aromatherapy Skin Care Chart

Posted: September 30, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE AROMATHERAPY CHART NOW!

OR BUY IT LAMINATED, WITH NO WATERMARKS HERE

When it comes to beauty and skincare, essential oils can be used in super-effective ways.

In fact, it is scientifically proven that certain plant oils have anti-aging and skin healing properties. These oils work by:

– Stimulating cell regeneration

– Detoxifying the skin

– Improving circulation

– Balancing dry or oily skin

– Combating acne-causing bacteria

– Nourishing the skin with essential nutrients

– Soothing the skin and reducing inflammation

Result – clear, healthy, glowing and youthful skin! –Read more

Menopause Made Easy With Essential Oils

Posted: September 23, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion


Aromatherapy for MenopauseFor women, the experience of menopause can be as individualistic, unique and varied as our fingerprints. Some women sail through it without any major bumps, while others grapple with annoying and unpredictable symptoms for as long as a decade. Any woman who has battled hot flashes, loss of libido, weight gain and mood swings will know what I am talking about.

Menopause is a significant phase in any woman’s life, and not only because it signals the end of the reproductive period, but also because it comes at a time when most of us have a demanding life to lead and responsibilities to deal with. Therefore, staying fit and active should be a top priority. 

There are several supplements and dietary recommendations that are known to ease the symptoms, but a little known secret is the use of essential oils for menopause. 

Which essential oils to use for menopause? 

  • Some oils like Geranium and Clary Sage support the female reproductive system by balancing hormones and regulating menstrual cycles.
  • During menopause, the level of estrogens in the body comes down, leading to physiological and psychological changes. Fennel contains natural plant estrogens that can fill in the void so that these changes feel less dramatic.
  • Depression is another side effect of menopause. The fresh citrusy scent of Grapefruit lifts away the depression and dullness, while Cypress helps build inner strength during this period of transition.

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Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Power Packed and Refreshingly Versatile

Posted: September 9, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

Eucalyptus essential oil
If there is anything clean, refreshing and energizing at the same time, it has to be Eucalyptus Essential Oil. I suggest everyone should have a bottle in their cabinet because it is so versatile and has SO MANY USES! 

I have personally used it in many of my aromatherapy products such as the Winter Blend, Fiesta, BUZZ-OFF Insect Repellent Aromatherapy Spray, Immune Support Essential Oil and Body Oil, RESPIRO Andean Bath Soak. It’s probably easy for you to guess that I am really, really fond of Eucalyptus.

What is Eucalyptus?
 

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Meditate Better With Essential Oils

Posted: August 4, 2014 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

essential oils for meditation 

The multiple health and spiritual benefits of meditation have been known to mankind since centuries, and now there are scientific studies to prove it.

Ever wonder why meditation is so refreshing?

The reasons are simple and straightforward. Meditation

  • Slows down the pulse rate
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Regulates the physiological functions of the body
  • Brings brain activity to a “sleep-like” state

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