October 28, 2009

What is Your Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy by definition is the use of fragrances to affect or alter a person's mood or behavior. You likely experience it all the time without even being aware of it. For instance when I open the bag of coffee beans in the morning and sniff the exhilarating aroma of rich roasted coffee it actually makes me feel more energized even before my first cup. The intoxicating scent of fresh gardenias gives me a feeling of peace, as does the smell of rain.

Aromatherapists use essential oils of flowers, herbs and other botanicals to help heal and nurture their clients physically and spiritually. Lavender and vanilla are a psyche soothing combination while grapefruit and peppermint energize and rejuvenate. Clary sage helps to reduce stress and Pine Needle may bring a sense of well being, which explains why Christmas trees make me feel so good - or is it the presents 'neath the tree?

While essential oils are used by practitioners it is my opinion that all scents, smells, aromas, whatever you want to call them, can stimulate a response. Whether they bring back memories of places, people or time or give you a certain emotional or physical feeling, they do have an affect on us. The smell of pumpkin pie makes me feel cozy and comforted because it reminds me of holidays with family back home. Now for some that might induce a stressful feeling but thankfully it's a good one for me.

Do you surround yourself with fresh flowers? Have scent diffusers or candles burning? Revel in the grocery fruit aisle? What is your aromatherapy?

October 15, 2009

Think Pink!

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Bidwell Botanicals wants to do our part in helping to find the cure. We are offering our Think Pink Spa Pack at $5.00 off and donating 25% of the profits from this item to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The Think Pink Spa Pack is a delectable collection of our Spun Sugar spa products packaged in a beautiful eco-friendly pink organza tote. The set includes Hydrating Body Milk, Shea Butter Shower Crème and Lush Lip Care. We're including a pretty pink journal and bookmark while supplies last. Hurry! Sale ends on October 31st at midnight.

October 6, 2009

It Makes Scents!

It is a popular notion that memories can be triggered by aromas, but is this a scientific fact? You betcha! There is definitely science behind this phenomenon. Scent molecules are carried to the olfactory tract that just happens to reside next door to the amygdala which performs a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions. Odor-evoked memories are usually emotionally potent and often very vivid.

You have probably had this occur uncounted times in your life and not even realized that scent was the trigger of the emotional memories you experienced. When I smell musky aromas like patchouli or a woody incense I am immediately transported back to the early 70's and a groovy little shop on the beach that sold all sorts of jewelry, t-shirts, black light posters and other various sundry items that my mother wouldn't let us look at. The memories are very distinct and include the senses of sight, sound and smell. I was only about 13 years old and though it was a really long time ago (more than I'd care to admit!) the memory feels very fresh, like it just happened yesterday.

Stimulating scents are all around you from the grilled burger aroma being pumped out by Burger King that makes you feel hungry, to the ever expanding home fragrance products now available on every grocery and drugstore shelf. In the cosmetic and household fragrance industry you will find many scents that are made to not only emit a pleasing aroma but to evoke pleasurable memories that will keep you coming back for more. Each holiday season when we bring back our Spiced Pumpkin body care line we have customers gushing about their memories of the aroma of homemade pumpkin pie wafting in the air from the kitchens of their mothers or grandmothers and it makes them feel warm and cozy all over. That's the idea!

Some scents have calming effects like lavender, chamomile and vanilla, while others are meant to energize and rejuvenate such as peppermint, grapefruit and neroli. Aromatherapy has its origins in antiquity and many holistic and alternative health practitioners value the therapeutic properties of essential oils to help treat myriad maladies including depression, migraines, stress and sinus problems. You have likely heard the term "Chakra" that has come into mainstream vogue of late but has actually been practiced for centuries. Chakra is a Sandskrit word that means "wheel of light". According to traditional Indian medicine Chakra refers to each of the seven energy centers located along the midline of the body starting at the base of the spine and ending at the crown of the head. It is said that when all the Chakras are open and radiant the Chakra system is balanced, creating harmony between the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of a person.

I believe there is a valid argument that the smell of almost everything can affect you. They may trigger vivid memories, offer healing when used properly or evoke feelings of energy, peace or comfort. I advise caution when using essential or plant-based oils as some are very strong and a number of them should be avoided during pregnancy. Now that you have a starting point why not check into ways to naturally modify your moods and possibly your over-all health? It makes scents, right?

October 2, 2009

What's New in October?

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Help Bidwell Botanicals and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation work towards a cure. We offer our Think Pink Spa Pack that includes our exclusive Spun Sugar Shea Butter Shower Crème, Hydrating Body Milk and Spun Sugar Lush Lip Care. The set comes packaged in our new eco-friendly pretty pink organza tote. We will donate 25% of our net sales from these gift sets to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Celebrate Autumn with the spicy goodness of Bidwell Botanicals' Spiced Pumpkin Artisan Soap. It's a little slice of heaven for your shower. Check out the Spiced Pumpkin Gift Set that includes our signature Spiced Pumpkin Sugar Scrub and Spiced Pumpkin Artisan Soap all wrapped in a festive fall package perfect for seasonal holiday gift giving.