As we all know ‘losing weight’ and ‘weight loss programs’ are big business particularly in North America. There are many, many different ‘diets’ ‘pills’ ‘programs’ out there all of which claim to work and give the best results.
The truth of the matter is that most of these ‘quick fix’ solutions don’t work or if they do they only work for a short period of time, before people start to feel deprived and start ‘cheating’ first just a little and then slowly but surely a little more and a little more until they’re back to square one again. Programs that address lifestyle changes are much more likely to have long-term success however even these can be limited.
In my opinion, in order to have long term, lasting success one must also recognize what the emotional triggers are. Only when these have been dealt with can one truly have success. If we are truly honest with ourselves, and sometimes we may have to delve a little, most of us who have had to deal with excess weight can identify what our emotional triggers are. Once we can acknowledge and understand what these are for us we are in a better position to do something to help us reach the success we are looking for.
So where do essential oils come in? Well as I see it there are two avenues we can explore when it comes to incorporating essential oils into our lifestyle changes.
First is to address the emotional component of why people overeat. If you read my article on Olfaction and How It Works you will understand just how powerful the sense of smell can be and therefore how effective choosing the correct essential oils can be.
While some research has been done on the effects essential oils have on the emotions quite a lot of the information collected over the years has been based on personal experience. One must also take into consideration that each person is unique in their own memories so what works for one may not work for everyone. Here are a few essential oil suggestions for dealing with emotional issues:
Anger/Rage : Bergamot, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Roman Chamomile, Cypress, Jasmine, Lavender, Neroli, Patchouli, Rose, Rosemary, Ylang Ylang.
Anxiety: Basil, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Roman Chamomile, Cypress, Frankincense, Geranium, Jasmine, Juniper, Lavender, Lime, Mandarin, Marjoram, Neroli, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Rose, Rosemary, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang.
Depression: Basil, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Clove, Chamomil, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Grapefruit, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Neroli, Peppermint, Petitgrain, Rose, Rosemary, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang.
Grief: Bergamot, Cypress, Marjoram, Neroli, Rose, Sandalwood, Tangerine.
Sadness: Cypress, Jasmine, Marjoram, Rose
Transitions: Black Pepper (life changes; Cypress (death)
Secondly we could incorporate some of Dr Alan Hirsch’s findings with respect to aromas and weight loss. Dr Alan R Hirsch MD FACP, Neurological Director of the Smell and Taste Research Foundation in Chicago has written more than 100 articles on the psychological power of scent and conducted more than 180 studies on sensory phenomena and disorders, the most well known of these have been on the effects of smell on weight loss. He has found that one’s senses of taste and smell have a profound effect on feelings of hunger and eating.
Dr. Hirsch’s research suggested that specific aromas can deprogram overweight people whose normal response to the smell of rich, unhealthy foods like chocolate, doughnuts and pizza was to become hungry and overeat. Hirsch tested the benefits of food odors to suppress appetite rather than stimulate appetite, and found that there seemed to be certain smells that caused overweight individuals to reduce their cravings, and therefore eat less.
In his previous research, Dr. Hirsch found that people preferred sweet smells, and that strongly sweet scents such as chocolate often triggered feelings of hunger and led to overeating or binge eating, while “neutral” sweet smells actually curbed appetite. To test his theory, he asked 3,193 overweight people (mostly women) aged 18-64 to inhale a variety of “neutral” sweet smells, including banana, green apple, vanilla, and peppermint, three times in each nostril whenever they were hungry. After six months, he found that, on average, the participants in his study lost five pounds a month. However they also found that those who did not lose weight were people who showed poor olfactory abilities; people who tended to snack more than five times a day or people who disliked chocolate. Dr. Hirsch has since come up with a number of different products that he sells using aroma to promote weight loss.
I am not suggesting that we should purchase any of these products but we could perhaps adjust some of his information and come up with some ideas of our own to use in personal inhalers that might be helpful for weight reduction. As you are probably well aware there is no such thing as an essential oil of banana or green apple, but we do have essential oils of peppermint and vanilla, which can serve as a starting point. Although many essential oils are considered to be appetite stimulants there is some traditional information passed down over the years that indicates that a couple of essential oils are considered to be helpful for weight loss. The Ancient Greeks used Fennel as a slimming aid. Roman Gladiators chewed Fennel seed to give them stamina and courage. In the past Patchouli has had the precaution from some sources that it might curb the appetite. So these two oils might be considered in addition to peppermint and vanilla for use as aroma stimulators to assist with weight reduction. In his study Dr. Hirsch stressed the fact that the aroma should be sniffed three times by each nostril and that the aroma should be sniffed as often as necessary. Their results showed that those who used the inhalers often during the day were far more successful. Those who sniffed once or twice a day and expected the results to last all day were not very successful.
Alan R. Hirsch MD FACP, Dr Hirsch’s Guide to Scentsational Weight Loss,Element, 1997.
Blends for Weight Loss
|Emotions 1||Emotions 2||Appetite Suppressant 1||Appetite Suppressant 2|
|5 drops of Bergamot||8 drops of Grapefruit||1 drop of Patchouli||3 drops of Peppermint|
|3 drops of Lavender||4 drops of Rosemary||4 drops of Vanilla|
|1 drop of Patchouli||1 drop of Vetiver|
It is suggested that these blends be inhaled, three times in each nostril, as often as necessary.