When I first heard about Gillian’s resolution to live in the moment and to make more time for herself and her nearest and dearest, I was very intrigued. I think we all are guilty of rushing from one appointment to the next, seeking validation from strangers on social media and focusing on the past or future, rather than the present.
My background is in neuroscience (or brain science!) and mental health research, and my interest is always piqued when I hear of methods that people use to unwind, de-stress and treasure the moment.
Aromatherapy is derived from two words: “aroma” meaning fragrance or smell, and “therapy” meaning treatment. Aromatherapy is thought to be at least 6,000 years old, and can benefit individuals suffering from:
to name but a few.
The Jane Darcy range of candles and diffusers use natural ingredients and specially sourced fragrances, which are ideal for creating a relaxing aromatherapy-like environment to unwind in. The scientific evidence and opinion in the scientific community is concrete:
Relaxation can improve your overall health.
Relaxation practise has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels, resting heart rate, total cholesterol, glucose, inflammation and stress hormones (Glei et al., 2012), and is fantastic for people (all of us!) living hectic lives
Now to the geeky stuff! As a scientist, I always want to see the rationale and proof behind the claims that companies make.
The Jane Darcy scents are not only beautiful, but they have been carefully and expertly crafted to exploit the many benefits of aromatherapy, relaxation and overall well-being.
Precious Moments – Zesty Lemongrass & Bergamot
Lemongrass, or Cymbopogon, is a tropical variety of grass with a sweet, lemony scent. A 2015 study examined the anxiolytic (or anti-anxiety) effects of lemongrass (Goes et al., 2015). Healthy volunteers had their anxiety and tension levels measured and then inhaled either lemongrass oil, tea-tree oil or water. Results showed that the group that were exposed to lemongrass scent presented with a reduction in anxiety and tension, whereas the tea-tree oil and water didn’t have this effect.
Bergamot is a citrus fruit which comes from a spiny tree called the citrus bergamia, with a sweet light orange scent and floral notes. Similar to its’ Precious Moments partner, lemongrass, bergamot is believed to possess some anti-anxiety effects. A recent study from an Italian research group demonstrated that bergamot essential oil was shown to significantly reduce anxiety-like behaviour in animals (Rombolà et al., 2017).
You & I – Kaffir Lime, Basil & Blood Orange
Kaffir lime is the common name of the Citrus hystrix, a tropical fruit that is native to Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Kaffir lime is known for its effects on alertness, cheerfulness and vitality (Hongratanaworakit and Buchnauer, 2007). The deep, warm and spicy aroma given off by the basil plant is known for its uplifting properties. Basil, or Ocimum basilicum, has been used for centuries as a healing compound, and research suggests that basil could even be clinically useful in the prevention of stroke (Bora et al., 2011).
Just Me – French Lavender & Lovage
Now onto my favourite, Just Me! Lavender, or Lavandula, is well known for its calming and soothing properties. The effects of lavender have been studied extensively and it has been established that lavender oil has a clinically meaningful anti-anxiety effect and alleviates anxiety-related sleep disturbances (Kasper et al., 2010). Lovage is known as the “loving herb” and has a beautiful spicy, warm scent with a sweet undertone. Lovage has calming properties which complement its partner, lavender, perfectly.
Finally, the take-home message that I would like to reiterate here is that it is so important for everybody to put some time aside for themselves each day. Taking this time to relax and be present is so beneficial for your physical and mental health. Relaxation and general well-being can be enhanced with the use of fragrances as your olfactory system, the system responsible for the recognition of scent, is directly linked to the emotional centre of your brain. Fragrances, both familiar and exotic, have the incredible ability to change a persons’ mood (Sarid and Zaccai, 2016).
Give yourself the opportunity to be kind to yourself and live in the moment. Your body and mind will thank you for it.