Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Untold Anecdote

Most of us might have perceived Ayurveda and Aromatherapy as two different parts of the Complementary and Alternative medicine but I take great privilege in revealing the fact that Aromatherapy is an innate or in-built part of Ayurveda, the 5000 years old ancient healing methodology. Ayurveda is proudly celebrated as the Mother of all healing sciences as it has given birth to numerous traditional healing methodologies like Unani, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Herbalism, Siddha, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional European Medicine and much more.

Aromatherapy is not a separate branch of Ayurveda but it is a vital part or an incredible way of treating illness in Ayurveda through the use of ‘aromatics’ and later given a separate name by Rene Maurice Gattefosse, known as the father of aromatherapy. It’s high time to put an end to this endless myth whether Ayurveda and Aromatherapy are the two poles apart? Let’s analyze.

Holistic approach: Ayurveda is a holistic healing approach that considers an individual as an entity and as a ‘Whole person’. This ancient science considers the physical, mental, emotional, environmental and sociological reasons contributing to a particular illness of an individual. While prescribing medications, Ayurveda does not stop with giving herbs or oils as remedies for a disease instead it suggests regular practice of yoga, meditation, taking an Ayurvedic diet, an Ayurvedic routine and certain other lifestyle changes according to an individual’s body type (doshas) and the unique constitution known as Prakriti. On the other hand, Aromatherapy is also a holistic method that considers the connection between mind, body and spirit.

Use of aromatics: Ayurveda makes use of aromatics to prevent and treat various health conditions. This is because it believes that the strengthening of the five human senses promotes healthy living. Inhalation of the aroma of plants and the essential oils extracted from those plants is trusted to enhance the sense of smell and directly contributes to mental health and treats hormonal imbalances.

This is the basic reason behind the use of incense sticks and other aromatic herbs and oils like sandalwood and tulasi in religious rituals and prayers for instilling the spiritual feeling. When it comes to Aromatherapy, this attribute of using aromatics needs no explanation as Aromatherapy makes use of Ayurvedic essential oils and trusts that the aromatic compounds and therapeutic properties present in these oils helps in healing illnesses invariably.

Abhyanga or the Ayurvedic massage therapy: Ayurvedic massage therapy involves the use of remedial oils like sesame oil, coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil and few other vegetable oils along with effective essential oils. It is a vital part of Panchakarma or the detoxification therapy, where the toxic substances of the body are removed and it inhibits the growth of harmful bodies through systematic massage.

Marguerite Maury, pioneer of Aromatherapy and the celebrated French Aromatherapist, in the traditional British Aromatherapy has talked on the benefits of using essential oils on dermal application through effective    massage techniques, where the concept of massaging itself is indigenous to Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic essential oils: Ayurveda is the oldest of the existing medicinal practices in the world and has a recorded use of herbal plants for more than 5000 years ago. Essential oils are nothing but the highly concentrated liquids extracted from plants and are often known as the essence of the herbal plants. Aromatherapy makes use of these essential oils to reiterate the fact that we are a part of nature and it is safe and secure to treat our illnesses in a natural manner. Dr. Light Miller in her famous book ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom’ talks about the importance of doshas and the perfect essential oils for each dosha.

For Vata Dosha: Lemon, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Basil, Ginger, Angelica, Cajeput, Anise and Rosewood.

For Pitta Dosha: Sandalwood, Lime, Peppermint, Chamomile, Yarrow and Coriander.

For Kapha Dosha: Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Niaouli, Sage, Basil, Savory, Clove and Hyssop.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha is not Greek or Latin in the world of Aromatherapy but it just indicates the predominance existing in an individual’s constitution and these essential oils are said to treat the dosha imbalances with their healing properties.

Limbic System: According to Ayurveda, the sense of smell is connected with the limbic system. This helps in recollecting the memories of a place or a person associated with an aroma. Limbic system is a vital part of the brain that stimulates the function of the nervous system, determines the body temperature and blood sugar level, enables the process of respiration, and controls sexual feelings, sleep and awake responses and much more.

The underlying principle behind limbic system and Ayurveda is that the inhalation of aromatic essential oils with healing properties fosters the essential oil molecule to pass through the nasal passage and reaches the limbic system ultimately as nerve impulses following which, the hypothalamus passes the message to other parts of the body to rejoice, relax, control hunger, hormonal imbalances, thirst and many other feelings. Even Aromatherapy indicates the same mechanism of aroma through the limbic system in healing illnesses.

Hope this information is more than enough to prove that the concept of Aromatherapy has been a part and parcel of Ayurvedic healing methodology since ages till it was given birth under a new name ‘Aromatherapy’ by its father Rene Maurice Gattefosse. Nothing to wrestle or protest but I end this post with the pride of finding something unique and exceptional in all the healing sciences that is nothing but ‘Human beings are special naturally’.

Thought for the day:

‘Healing,’ Papa would tell me, ‘is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.’
-W. H. Auden

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing By Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  2. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils By Gabriel Mojay
  3. The Aromatherapy Companion: Medicinal Uses/Ayurvedic Healing/Body-Care Blends/Perfumes & Scents/Emotional Health & Well-Being (Herbal Body) By Victoria H. Edwards

Reference Links:

  1. Aromatherapy from Ayurveda’s Perspective by Yayoi Stavish
  2. Ayurveda and Aromatherapy by AllHealthyFamily News
  3. The Limbic System by Suzanne Bovenizer CMT, CST

Ayurveda Everyday: The Absolute Art Of Living

Each rising day makes us grow older and of course augments our responsibility in shielding and sheltering ourselves along with our friends and family. Do you have the habit of spending few minutes before you go to your bed in analyzing the things that you have done for the day? Have you ever calculated the difference between what you have planned and what you have actually achieved in a particular day? Not much of us do that and trust even I was not one among those few who knew the ways to lead a meaningful life until I learnt the real essence and tried practicing the sovereign science called as Ayurveda. I have a handful of touching reasons to tell you why Ayurveda everyday is the absolute art of living.

The Art of Living: Most of us would have heard about the popular topic known as ‘The Art of Living’. It is a part of the value-based education systems in many renowned universities and there are certain celebrated volunteer-based institutions like the Art of Living foundation working with United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is also known as the Association for Inner Growth in Europe. The founder of this institution Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has rightly told that ‘Health is not mere absence of disease. It is the dynamic expression of life’.

How many of us know the real meaning of this solid and solitary statement known as the ‘The Art of Living’? Numerous humanitarian institutions and Non-Governmental organizations are striving hard to teach humanity the real value of life that is free of stress and violence, filled with human values for inner growth, respect for individuals and mental power to lead a peaceful life in a challenging manner. Art of Living is the way of living entirely and expressively.

Ayurveda Everyday: You may now wonder about the role of Ayurveda in ‘Art of Living’. You will stop questioning if you know the essence of this holistic healing science. It talks about everything that plays a vital role in your life, treats human body as a ‘Temple’ and teaches numerous ways to maintain healthy relationships paving way to a serene and tranquil survival. It does not focus only on maintaining a healthy body but trusts in building a healthy mind and has ultimate solutions for controlling emotions, which is known as the major cause behind the aggressive and fiery activities happening around us.

Practicing Ayurveda everyday in your life will make you a complete individual with noble thoughts, hale and hearty physique, positive thinking and pave way for developing yourself as an active part of your society setting up classic role models. Instead of attending the classes for learning the ‘Art of Living’, why can’t you discover the real art of living by taking the most precious science that our forefathers have left for our better lives? It has nothing to say or set ways against nature as it is a comprehensive approach of healing naturally with natural herbs, Ayurvedic essential oils extracted from plants, balanced diet, simple physical exercises, basic steps for hygienic living, systematic meditation, methodical yoga and a revitalizing Ayurvedic massage therapy by the experts.

With all these inevitable values for a rejuvenating physical fitness and emotional well-being, undoubtedly Ayurveda can be your best pal right from the dawn till dusk everyday throughout your life.

Reference Links:

  1. Art of Living Foundation by Wikipedia
  2. Ayurveda in Daily Life by Indianetzone Ayurveda
  3. Art of Living and Ayurveda by The Art of Living Foundation

Ayurvedic Importance of Fragrance and Aroma

Fragrance plays an important role in determining your mood and mood swings are often controlled by sweet smelling odors in the field of Aromatherapy, which is an incredible part Ayurveda. A celebrated book on Aromatherapy states that fragrance can aid in alleviating pain and have a significant impact on your behavior and personality. We cannot disagree with the fact that ‘Odors vest deeply within our minds even after many years’. If you ask me about my memorable fragrances I would tell you the fresh, elite and the exquisite fragrance of red roses that reminds me about my favorite time in my aunt’s garden during my childhood days and the relishing smell of fried potatoes make me feel like being with my Mom. At this juncture, let’s have a look at the Ayurvedic importance of fragrance and aroma in healing mankind.

1. Aroma for complete care: Aromatherapy is one of the significant methods of Ayurveda, which is used to treat the individuals according to their Ayurvedic body types like vata, pitta and kapha. For this purpose, Ayurveda suggests the use of essential oils and the natural aroma of herbs. This is trusted to enhance the function of the brain and promote well-being from within.

Most of the times these Ayurvedic essential oils are applied to the skin or used in some form or the other in which the skin comes in contact with the aroma. Human skin is the effective channel through which the benefits of these aromatic oils pass through the bloodstream making the system hale and hearty. Many researchers have proved that the natural aroma augments the functionality, relieves pain, supports mood fluctuations and revives the human body, which is a part of nature.

2. The healing properties of Ayurvedic essential oils: Ayurveda trusts in nature and any form of healing using nature’s gifts falls under Ayurveda. According to this thought, essential oils are extracted from leaves, stem, flowers, roots, bark or from other parts of a plant and essential oils is the backbone of Aromatherapy that is used to boost physical and mental fitness. There have been instances in which Ayurvedic essential oils are used to treat innumerable conditions and the gentle aroma of a handful of essential oils is proven to enhance the function of heart and blood circulation.

3. Ayurvedic Tea: Nothing other than a refreshing cup of tea with an enriching aroma can give the right start to your day. The three types of Ayurvedic tea according to the individual body types are anti-strain tea, stimulating tea and balancing tea. These teas are caffeine-free and grant you the real freshness while maintaining the right metabolism of your body.

4. Expert Ayurvedic Massage therapy: An expert Ayurvedic massage therapy with the right essential oils can offer you plenty of health benefits. These essential oils are chosen in such a way that they are infused with a heartening and soothing aroma, which would help you chase out stress, depression, fear, anxiety, insomnia, nervous disorders and many more. An Ayurvedic massage aids in revitalizing your mind, reducing muscular pains, relaxing your nervous system, improving the texture of your skin and striking a perfect balance between your mind and body.

Ayurveda is a spiritual medicinal system that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years and if this historical healing art states that aroma has a greater impact on our health, how can we refute it?? Try using any of the above mentioned ways to experience the power of a natural fragrance.

Reference Links:

  1. Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide To Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Bryan Miller and Dr. Light Miller
  2. Aromatherapy for the heart and Circulation by healthy.net
  3. Ayurvedic Teas by Tea Blossoms