aura cacia - essential care for the mind, body and spirit
aromatherapy 101

Savvy Students

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Can scent enhance study skills? The ancient Greeks and Romans - who wore rosemary wreaths on their heads to enhance memory while studying - certainly thought so. Modern-day research also supports this notion. One study, for example, showed that citrus oils help Japanese data entry workers make fewer mistakes. And in a Cincinnati, Ohio experiment, peppermint oil gave test takers a 28% accuracy edge.

With each inhalation of fragrance, thousands of olfactory nerves in the nostrils send a myriad of messages to the brain. In turn, neurotransmitters - like encephaline, endorphins, serotonin and noradrenaline - are released, each with distinctive effects on the body. In this way, essential oils can dramatically affect physical and mental well being, including the ability to remember, focus and relax. A student might well benefit from practical skills like these.
Study Time

Don't worry, you don't need to wear a wreath to the classroom. Before studying, take a few moments to massage an appropriate oil or oil blend (properly diluted) onto the back of your neck and shoulders. Use an oil diffuser on your desk, or mist the air with an essential oil room spray while you study and inhale deeply. When you're getting ready for school - especially on the day of the exam - place a cotton ball or handkerchief with a drop or two of oil in a small zip-lock plastic bag. Before you take the test, remove the cotton ball and inhale the aroma. Or place the cotton ball on your desk. Use scents that can aid relaxation and memory.

For the Parents

Parents can help their kids in school with aromatherapy too. In a U.K. preschool, an aromatherapist offered special needs children weekly aromatherapy massages to help them prepare for mainstream schools. Many parents say the massages have helped their children feel more at ease and stay healthier.

Massages may not be part of the typical American curriculum, but teenage students can enjoy the benefits of essential oils. Try an aromatherapy massage before school to help calm an anxious youngster. Or send a cotton ball or scented handkerchief to school with your student. The scent can be chosen to be calming, to improve alertness - like after lunch, when mental and physical energy might lag a bit - or for other benefits.
Experiment

Experiment to find which oils bring enjoyment and success to study sessions and test times. A few to try:

To improve concentration: basil, cardamom, bergamot, cedarwood, lemon, grapefruit, peppermint, rosemary, cypress, ginger

To aid relaxation: lavender, clary sage, geranium, ylang ylang, bergamot, melissa

To strengthen memory: rosemary, basil, peppermint, lemon

 

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