Aromatherapy on the Move

When I travel I always pack my toothbrush and alarm clock, but for my next trip I'll also hit the road with a handful of targeted essential oils. According to many aromatherapists — including Canadian Bev Gray, CH, RA, — essential oils are the ultimate travel companion. They can combat many of the health issues that come up during a journey like jet lag, indigestion, colds and skin irritations.

If you take only two oils, Gray recommends lavender and tea tree oils for their versatility. Lavender can be used for many purposes — it's most often prized for it's calming effects — but Gray keeps it handy during flights to facilitate relaxation and to protect her from germs floating around in the recycled plane air. She turns to tea tree oil for its antiseptic and immune-stimulating properties. The all-natural alternative to anti-bacterial soaps, tea tree oil can be used during or after hand washing to protect from bacteria, fungus and viruses. It can also be used for blisters, burns, cold sores and insect bites.

To make a hotel room feel more like home, Gray has developed a Hotel Room Blend using the following oils (she travels with an electric scent-ball diffuser):

Lemongrass has an uplifting, grassy-citrus scent. It is also an appetite stimulant digestive aid. It has a sedative effect on the central nervous system and is useful for headaches. Use as an inhalant or with a diffuser, on skin with a carrier oil, in massage oil or a bath. Do not take internally.

Eucalyptus is a powerful bactericidal and has antiviral properties. It's also an excellent immune stimulant and is good for run-down travelers. Eucalyptus also helps soothe muscle aches and pains, sprains, burns, blisters, cuts, wounds and insect bites and can be used as an insect repellent.

Rosemary's versatility makes it useful in respiratory and circulatory disorders and muscular and rheumatic pain from sitting too long in a plane, train, or automobile. It can be used through inhalation, massage, steam, or diffuser for colds, flu, infections, arthritis, muscular pain, rheumatism, acne, dandruff, dermatitis, eczema, varicose veins and oily skin, as an insect repellent and to stimulate hair growth.

Thyme is ideal for the treatment of mental and physical exhaustion. It warms with its pungent herbal aroma and is another immune-system stimulant. Use through inhalation, massage, bath, steam or diffuser.

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