In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I’m going to discuss love, self-love and things you can do to feel fabulous! I'll also discuss using aromatherapy for romance with or without a partner.
I used to have a love-hate relationship with Valentine's Day. I loved it when I was in a relationship and I hated it when I was single. Being alone on Valentine's Day ended up making me feel really lonely. It's like any negative feelings I had about being single were amplified. There's a difference between having alone time and feeling lonely. I usually cherish time alone to do my own thing.
In truth, Valentine’s Day only means something if you attach a meaning to it. I think for most women, we are conditioned from a young age that the day does have meaning and so it does for many of us. I can’t really speak on behalf of men except to say that sometimes I’ve encountered men who feel obligated to do something for their partners instead of gladly doing something, from their hearts. Still other men love to spoil their partners. Really there's no right way or wrong way - it's up to each couple whether they want to celebrate the day. To be clear, Valentine's Day goes both ways - women like to spoil their partner too. I believe it's not the thought that counts, but rather the intention - there's a big difference between quickly running into the shop and grabbing a bunch of flowers and giving them to your partner because you feel obligated to, as opposed to planning a date or doing something simple and nice because you want to spend time with the one you love. The precious moments spent together are the things you will remember in the long run, right?
At times I've agreed with the cynics that Valentine's Day is just a way to increase sales – that it’s all about consumerism and yes there is that aspect of any holiday. However I’ve come to a new perspective in recent years. I see Valentine's Day as a reminder to love and appreciate our partners, and ourselves, and welcome more romance into our lives. Rather than confine romance to one day of the year, or to special occasions, I feel it's fun to experience romance often and spontaneously. We can plan little surprises to make our partners feel special. All of us humans want to feel special. Every single one of us wants to feel loved and cared about.
If you are in a relationship where romance has become almost non-existent, the first thing you can do to turn this around is to introduce romance back into the relationship. Rather than waiting for your partner to do something special for you, do something for them first, without expectation it will be returned. Give them time to return the favour, if they feel to. If you want something to come into your life, the quickest way to attract it is to give it. Giving what you want to others actually attracts more of it into your life. So if you want more love – give more love. Bless everyone you encounter (smile, or say hi, acknowledge their presence). If you want more money, be generous (with time or money) and just see what happens! People then can't wait to return your generosity. If you want more friends, be friendlier, talk to people and really listen to them in return. Be the kind of friend you want to have. If you want better health, spend your time and money on healthy things like yoga and eat healthy food. Like attracts like!
Self-love: nurturing and caring for yourself
Before I talk about aromatherapy for Valentine's Day and love, I want to discuss self-love. Learning to love yourself will transform your life. However, learning to love yourself can be one of the hardest things to do because from a very young age we are often taught by authoritative figures like parents, relatives, older siblings and teachers that there are all these things about ourselves that aren’t acceptable. Often they do this without even realising what they are doing, and sometimes it is done purposely to bring you down because they themselves are in pain. The trouble is that we are basically in a hypnotic state until around the age of seven and we take all those negative things that were said to us as truth. They get deep into our subconscious and cause deep emotional wounds.We also take on the limiting beliefs of our parents.
When we are taught to be hard on ourselves it becomes hard to love and give to ourselves, but it is absolutely essential if you would like to be a healthy, whole and strong individual in this hectic and sometimes harsh world that we live in. We have to learn to love ourselves. It is not selfish to do nice things for yourself. It’s important to work through your negative beliefs about yourself and there are many ways to do this, there are helpful books (such as “You can heal your life” by Louise Hay), counsellors and healers.
To create a wonderful joyous life, it is up to the individual to make a commitment to self-care and learn to love themselves. To me self-care is about respecting and caring for your mind, body and heart/soul.
You respect the power of your mind by slowly removing the negative thoughts and beliefs (especially self-criticism) and replacing them with mostly good thoughts and beneficial beliefs. It requires a bit of effort at first, but eventually your brain will be rewired for the more positive. You'll still have negative thoughts sometimes but will stop looking for everything that is going wrong - which is just a bad habit. Habits can be changed. We all mess up sometimes and it’s natural to get annoyed with yourself but when you do this constantly then your inner critic is now ruling your mind and it will make you miserable! They say your inner critic usually sounds like the things your parents used to say to you when they were criticising you. This is why people end up saying the same stuff to their kids that their parents said to them – because they never healed that aspect of themselves – they never became conscious to the inner critic to work with it and heal it. So the first step to self-love is to quit berating yourself. Just cut yourself off the next time you are doing it. Instead, acknowledge you have made a mistake and look for the lesson – what can you do next time to do better, and let go of the criticism.
Caring for your body is about looking after it like the sacred vessel it is. You only have one body for this lifetime, whether you believe you will be reincarnated or there’s an afterlife or this is your only life, the fact is this is your only body right now so you need to take care of it. Respect and care for your body by feeding it with healthy foods. Reduce junk food, sugar, alcohol, excess salt, and bad fats. Avoid additives, preservatives, hydrogenated fats (margarine), artificial sweeteners (anything that says "diet"), artificial flavours, flavour enhancers, etcetera - all the fake foods. Eat lots of vegetables. Care for your body by exercising it and stretching it - yogi’s stay young by keeping their spine flexible as well as the rest of their bodies. Have bodywork done regularly to reduce and manage stress - for example massage and acupuncture.
Finally, learn to listen to your heart. One aspect of this is regularly connecting with those people who uplift you, and reducing contact with those who make you feel down.
Another important aspect is following your passion/bliss. What do you desire? What lights you up? What are you passionate about? What do you care about? If you have no idea, then start exploring - you could try some new hobbies like dancing, art classes, photography, writing, pottery, gardening, cooking or aromatherapy. Get creative!
When making decisions, yes you need to consider things logically but it's important to consider carefully what your heart wants - feel into what is going to be best for yourself and your loved ones in the long run. Sometimes what you really want may require a slight sacrifice now, for long-term gain. For example, my decision to start my own massage business (rather than working for other people) was me just following my passion and what I knew would bring me more satisfaction. I wanted to build something of my own and I wanted to help people the best way I knew how. I knew that if I worked for someone else I wouldn’t get to provide my service in my own unique way or to the level I provide it now. I’d be confined to following what they wanted. However even though the decision to follow my heart excited me, it also came with sacrifices of income and an investment of money and a lot of time to get the business up and running. It took extra time for me because I wanted to create my own logo and website - I wanted to create everything for my business. Now I look back at that decision and wonder why I didn’t do it sooner! Sure there was sacrifice and there still is – running your own business brings with it a lot of work, but it feels so good for me! So my advice is follow your heart but do it in such a way that your basic needs are taken care of. Don’t just quit your job and not have any money coming in to pay the bills if you are wanting a career change! Take small steps towards your dreams and they will gain momentum. Only you know what's best for you.
Okay so there are some starting points on how to learn to love yourself and feel fabulous by honouring the different aspects of yourself and taking care of yourself very well. Now let’s get to some aromatherapy, the fun stuff! One of the most nurturing things you can do for yourself is to have an aromatherapy bath. You could make it a weekly ritual. A bath with some essential oils that are aphrodisiacs is a wonderful way to ignite your senses, become embodied and feel fabulous! Really, this is what Valentine's Day is about - feeling fabulous, loved, nurtured and special! So even if you are alone this Valentine's Day, you can still do something nice for yourself - have an aromatherapy bath and watch a romantic movie (or whatever takes your fancy) on Netflix (put your laptop on a chair next to the bath). Or simply relax in the bath in a state of calm and bliss. Luxury at home!
Aromatherapy for Valentine's Day
It is important to set aside time for romance in a relationship. Relationships require effort and really it's not hard to do something romantic - rather it's easy to forget to plan something or hard to find the time, but the romance itself is pretty simple and has a lot to do with setting the scene to create the right mood. Romantic music, candles, and diffusing essential oils is a great start for some romance at home. You can create an aromatherapy massage oil too and take turns giving each other a back massage - this helps you relax and really connect with your partner. The following essential oils/absolutes are aphrodisiacs and can be used with your partner or by yourself to inspire romance, increase libido and ignite your senses.
This is the most obvious one! Rose (absolute) is THE aroma of love and romance. However, it also happens to be one of the most expensive because of the process to extract the fragrance from rose petals. At around $3 per drop, if you have true Damask Rose Absolute (from Bulgaria - it's the best) you will want to save it for special occasions. The good news is one drop is extremely potent and the most beautiful smell! Use it in a massage oil, wear it as a perfume, use it in the bath or diffuse it. Use it when you need to nurture yourself too. If you've had a really bad week and need to feel good and connect with your heart and body, a bath with rose oil is sure to restore you!
Jasmine (absolute) has a beautiful and sweet aroma and is one of the best aphrodisiacs. It is great for depression and is calming, and helps a person to have positive feelings and confidence. It also helps balance women's hormones. Jasmine increases libido and helps with issues of impotence and frigidity.
Neroli is the fragrance of the orange blossom and it is quite hypnotic. It is very calming for the nervous system, an anti-depressant and acts as an aphrodisiac. It's also an expensive essential oil because it has such a low yield but it is well worth the investment.
Ylang ylang is one of my favourite essential oils with its sweet and deep floral scent. It increases libido, inspires romantic feelings and helps balance women's hormones. It's one of the best oils for treating anxiety and nervous depression, as well as feelings of anger and frustration. It blends well with the other floral oils listed here and is nice to wear on it's own as a perfume for women.
Patchouli is more of a masculine scent and compliments ylang ylang well and I would recommend using them together to inspire romantic feelings between partners and balance the yin and yang energies. Patchouli increases libido. It can help with impotence, frigidity and anxiety. It's an antidepressant too.
Cinnamon & Ginger
These oils are very stimulating and are aphrodisiacs. Either of these oils can be included in a diffuser blend if you need more energy and passion. They are great for people who feel somewhat disembodied as they are grounding and energising. It's best to diffuse these oils - do not use cinnamon on the skin as it is a dermal irritant.
This is great for balancing hormones for women. It is one of the best oils for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. It is an aphrodisiac and also helps produce feelings of euphoria. I would recommend it for most women and especially women going through menopause.
This oil is one of the most balancing oils for emotions - it can be uplifting or calming depending on what a person needs. It's great for anxiety and depression and a good oil to include in aphrodisiac blends for it's balancing qualities. It's also great for balancing women's hormones.
This oil is deeply grounding and calming. It is balancing and revitalising and an aphrodisiac. This has a deep earthy fragrance so be careful with how much you use in a blend, or it will dominate! It is wonderful for aphrodisiac blends to create depth.
Bel's Love Potion
You can use this blend in the bath, as a perfume (diluted in jojoba), in a massage oil or in a diffuser. It is hypnotic, sensual, a little sweet, deep and floral. It sets the mood for both women and men.
- 1 drop Geranium oil (balancing, encourages heart connection) or 1 drop Damask Rose Absolute (Bulgaria) if you can afford it!
- 3 drops Jasmine Absolute (aphrodisiac, calming, uplifting)
- 2 drops Sweet Orange (to revive, encourage playfulness and inspire positive feelings)
- 2 drops Patchouli (aphrodisiac, grounding, balancing)
- 1 drop Vetiver (aphrodisiac, grounding, reduces stress)
- 3 drops Ylang Ylang (aphrodisiac, calming, balancing)
For use in the bath, blend the oils together and use 6 to 10 drops of the blend. I would recommend using a natural dispersing agent to emulsify the oils with the water. Essential oils are not water soluble so will sit on top of the water. In addition, they are absorbed by the skin more easily in warm water. I use "Disper" by Essential Therapeutics which is a natural emulsifier for essential oils.
If using this blend to give your partner a massage, dilute in 15ml of almond oil or apricot kernel oil. This is a 2.5% concentration level (total of 12 drops) - based on Essential Therapeutics essential oil dropper sizes. Other essential oil bottles will have different size drops so you may need to adjust the amount of vegetable oil accordingly to keep it at this safe dosage. This is for healthy adults who are not pregnant. For a lower concentration use more vegetable oil to dilute more. As some of these essential oils help balance women's hormones, I would recommend avoiding this blend during pregnancy, so as not to interfere with the pregnancy hormones.
If wanting to set a romantic scene - use this blend in a diffuser of your choice - a mist diffuser or old school oil burner. Play soft, romantic music. If safe to do so, burn candles to really set the scene.
You can also mix this blend as a perfume and wear it to seduce your lover. Or each of you rub some on your wrists and neck (pulse points) and over your heart centre. Practice eye-gazing. Set the intention of connecting with each other. Sit across from each other, take some deep breaths to release tension and then breathe normally. Gaze into each other's eyes. Relax into the process more and more with each breath and allow a deeper connection to form. Do this for at least 5 minutes. You will get a sense as to when you've fully connected and can move on to other activities!
Bespoke Perfumes & Essential Oils
Living in Brisbane and interested in purchasing the above blend as a perfume? It would be $20 for the geranium version, or $28 for the rose version. Or perhaps you would like a bespoke perfume blend created especially for you - they come in a 10ml roll on bottle in organic jojoba oil and usually cost between $15 to $20, depending which essential oils are used. You may also purchase essential oils or book an aromatherapy massage with me. If you are interested in making a purchase, please contact me on 0433 523 678. If you would like a products price list sent to you, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I sell other products too, including bespoke botanical face oils, French clays, Epsom salts, organic detox tea, and organic calm & digest tea. I also create custom gift boxes - which make a wonderful gift for Valentine's Day - you choose which products of mine to include and can even add some goodies of your own! How thoughtful is that?!
Wishing you a wonderful Valentine's Day and month of February!
Thanks for reading.
Battaglia, S (2003). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (second edition), Brisbane, Australia: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy
Mojay, G (1997) Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, China: Gaia Books Limited
Sellar, W (2005) The Directory of Essential oils, London, UK: Random House.
Information provided by Essential Restorative Massage is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have a health condition or symptoms of one, please consult with your doctor before using complimentary remedies and therapies.
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