The question of how scent affects us has been studied by scientists in great depth, but even without any scientific experience or knowledge, it’s obvious to most people that certain smells affect us deeply. Whether it’s a whiff of a former friend’s perfume or the unmistakable aroma of your grandmother’s cooking, scent has a way of transforming our moods.
It’s no wonder, then, that aromatherapy is gaining such popularity – using the essential, aroma-producing oils of plants to affect moods and treat certain conditions. Essential oils can be taken from various parts of the plant (flowers, roots, leaves, stalks or rind) and used together with carrier oils, lotions or diffusers.
While nothing beats the indulgence and pampering that you can get at the spa, bringing essential oils into your everyday routine at home might help you to relax, focus or get invigorated when you need to. Aromatherapy practitioners suggest placing a few drops of essential oil on a pillow, using a burner or steamer, adding oils to a hot bath, or simply using products which are infused with essential oils. Of course, it’s important to use caution if you suffer from allergies, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have had reactions to essential oils in the past. Consult a medical practitioner before embarking on any new aromatherapy adventures.
Certain scents in aromatherapy are often associated with specific properties. Invigorating scents, for example, include citrusy smells such as orange, lemon and grapefruit. This makes citrusy body wash perfect for mornings and orange-scented candles for sleepy afternoons when you need a pick-me-up. Peppermint is also widely used as an invigorating scent and is often used to treat mild headaches and nausea. Other fresh scents that reputedly help with minor ailments like motion sickness and headaches are camphor and eucalyptus, which are also used to treat allergies. Both are found in medicated oils traditionally used in Singapore.
Aroma doesn’t just affect people – it affects bugs, too. Citronella is widely used to repel mosquitos and is found in mosquito coils and insect-repellent sprays. If you’re thinking of taking a nature walk and exploring some of Singapore’s outdoor attractions, it might be a wise idea to slip a bottle of citronella-scented insect repellent into your bag. The smell is pleasant enough to us, but strong enough to prevent pesky bites.
For relaxation and calmness at the end of the day, look to lavender, chamomile and lemongrass. Adding a few drops of these scents to a nighttime bath, or simply using a scented powder or body lotion, might help you sleep better – especially in unfamiliar places when you travel. To create a romantic mood, experts recommend rose, jasmine or myrrh; and to make your home smell warm, inviting and cozy, light a cinnamon-scented candle.
Of course, there are times when you just need the spa, pampering and some quiet time to yourself, in which case, treat yourself to an afternoon at the spa, or go for the ultimate indulgence and take a luxury spa break all by yourself.