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May 2010
Summer Care with Essential Oils
Dr Raani Rao
When the summer sun heats our body, it bothers us in various ways. Aromatherapy has the way out.
The summer heat can make us feel burnt out and exhausted. This puts our body out of harmony, making us impulsive, impatient and over aggressive. Essential oils – highly complex mixtures of volatile and liquid aroma compounds – can help you through this season.
  • To bring back balance and natural sense of harmony: Use essential oils of rose, grapefruit, vetivert, jasmine, and neroli.
  • For hydrating the skin: Summer can either make you suffer from dehydration or make your skin excessively oily with increased sebum secretion. To cool, soothe and nourish your skin, peppermint, palm, rose, tea tree can be used. Myrrh and frankincense can also be used for hydrating your skin and nourishing it. It is recommended though to try out a patch test if you have sensitive skin, with 30 ml of jojoba or olive oil.
Lightening Facial
You can get a clinical aromatherapy treatment designed exclusively to replenish flawless beautiful skin, called a lightening facial. This treatment helps to remove dead cells and tan caused by exposure to sunlight.
  • The process involves use of essential oils, toner, scrubs and cleansing agents to cleanse, soothe and revitalise your skin.
  • Lemons, carrots, aloe vera and many other nourishing agents are used to remove skin tan.
  • Papayas and other blends of tropical fruits are used to nourish, exfoliate and hydrate skin.
  • Yoghurt is used for toning, restoring pH balance and adding freshness to skin by stimulating cell activity.
  • During the latter part of the treatment, a scrub of Dead Sea salt mud pack is used to cool and exfoliate the skin.
  • A gentle Balinese massage tones and moisturises the facial musculature.
  • In regions where there is excessive exposure to sun, a gentle massage over the affected areas brings effective relief to skin, by suppressing the redness, warmth and tenderness from sun burns.
Stomach Chi
According to the ancient Chinese medicine, the stomach is an organ of yang, an organ strongly connected to the earth element. The spleen is the yin organ, generally denoted to be the link of meridians along the course of the body. A complete balance of chi (energy) between both these organs becomes prime importance for a healthy and well balanced body. Energy imbalances in the stomach result in lethargy, weakness, debilitation and digestive problems.
  • To soothe and calm an upset stomach, fennel/mint/mellsa/basil in vegetable oil base is used as the essential oil blend and massaged around the navel area.
  • Bloating, flatulence and nausea can be helped with essential oils of cardamom, orange and rosemary.
  • Worry and anxiety are key words in stomach ailments. Oils of aloe vera, lemon, peppermint, sandalwood, geranium relieve tension in the viscera while soothing a worried mind.
  • Cypress, frankincense, neroli and patchouli are also other important essential oils used for relieved the energy imbalances in the stomach and spleen.
Spleen Chi
Chi imbalances in the spleen can result in sluggishness and fatigue, both physically and mentally. Lemon, lavender, rosewood, patchouli, marjoram, hyssop are a few other blends which are commonly used to even out energy imbalances of the spleen.

Yin and Yang
Yin - which denotes the fire component of the ancient Chinese medicine – is the energy that dominates the heart. The corresponding yang for this yin organ is the small intestine. Dysfunction of the small intestine can bring out constipation or diarrhoea. Striking a perfect balance with the fire element organs is an important factor, especially in summer, as the season brings about growth and heat in these organs. Imbalance of the fire element exhibits cardiac/circulatory disease, arrhythmias, fatigue and mental confusion.
  • Essential oils of angelica, anise, and rosemary can aid in balancing the fire element organs this summer and keep the heart and small intestine in fine balance.
  • Hyssop is excellent in regulating blood pressure.
  • Essential oils of eucalyptus, chamomile, lavender, neroli, peppermint or rosemary can be used for small intestine complications, like irritable bowel syndrome.
Dr. Raani Rao is Consultant Aromatherapist at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai

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