Podcast 028: Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the study of how smells that surround us affect our emotional and physical well-being. Essential oils are useful and powerful therapeutic agents. Use of these types of oils goes back many years through healing ceremonies and religious rites.

Many of these oils, frankincense is a common example, you already know from religious texts in the Judeo-Christian and Muslim religions. Frankincense was used to cure many ailments as were others such as myrrh, lotus, sandalwood and more. Ancient Egyptian purification rituals used these types of oils also.

Take a look at “Aromatherapy Guide to Afflictions“.

Podcast 028: Aromatherapy

Scott Paton: Welcome back everybody. You are listening to the Life Enthusiast Co-Op podcast. I am your co-host Scott Paton along with Martin Pytela, restoring vitality to you and to the planet. Hey Martin, how are you doing today?

Martin Pytela: Good doing Scott. How are you?

Scott Paton: Excellent. Excellent.

Martin Pytela: So, you’ve had your morning constitutional exercise?

Scott Paton: That’s right. I just go back from a nice walk around the park. It is a beautiful, sunny day. Got some fresh air. You know it is really nice because as I was walking along, people would sort of stop and say, “Hi,” and it is kind of nice having that happen in the big city.

Martin Pytela: That’s so great.

Scott Paton: Yeah.

Martin Pytela: So great.

Scott Paton: Yeah.

Martin Pytela: On the other hand, you know, I got woken up by too many phone calls and I didn’t do my exercise and I don’t walk my talk. I am just feeling so bummed out about it.

Scott Paton: [laughs] You know I have a to do list that I do every night to plan the next day and I always write on it, go for a walk or ride my bike, because I know if it is on my list, I am… I have a habit of doing what is on my list and if I don’t put it on there, I don’t do it. So…

Martin Pytela: That’s a good strategy.

Scott Paton: Yeah.

Martin Pytela: I think it works.

Scott Paton: Yeah and you know what I really liked about my walk around the park is this time of the year the flowers are blooming and the trees are doing whatever they are doing and you get the scent of the cedar and the scent from the different flowers and it just really, really makes me feel good.

Martin Pytela: Yeah, oh yeah, absolutely. Well, you know, the olfactory connection, the nose is directly connected to your brain with absolutely no conscious interference. So…

Scott Paton: I didn’t know that.

Martin Pytela: Yeah, oh, yeah. It’s… you know you can close your eyes or you can plug your ears, but you cannot…

Scott Paton: Cannot stop smelling.

Martin Pytela: If you inhale, you smell it and also… but, there is no… it just bypasses the frontal cortex. So, it just hits you direct.

Scott Paton: Wow. So, that’s very powerful… scent is… I mean it is something… not something we really talk a lot about or anybody I know of really talks a lot about, but it is a really powerful aspect of how we feel because I know how good I feel right now and I was kind of you know I have been doing a bit of work and sitting, just kind of like…

Martin Pytela: Yeah, that’s probably your being able to be in a forest with the negative ions as opposed to the positive ions of the computerized indoor environment.

Scott Paton: Right. Right.

Martin Pytela: You know that calms people down and it gives you the sense of…

Scott Paton: And then the sense of…

Martin Pytela: Joy and stuff like that and sunshine of course, that’s an important part of it.

Scott Paton: Right. So, it kind of brought me around to a topic we haven’t talked that much about in our podcasts and that was aromatherapy.

Martin Pytela: Yes. Well, you know, we do have a wonderful collection of aromatherapy articles on our website where we explain the whole science and how it works. The way I got into the aromatherapy started back in 1996, when I built a website for an aromatherapist…

Scott Paton: Oh, yeah?

Martin Pytela: And this fellow was in the therapeutic aromatherapy. There are two types of fragrances you can get, the therapeutic grade and the cosmetic or commercial grade and in bath shops, these days, most of what you buy is the cosmetic grade aromatherapy which is well, you know…

Scott Paton: Smells nice.

Martin Pytela: Smells okay. Well, actually there is further… further away from that, there is the artificial, the analogs made by the industrial flavors, you know the Glade made by Johnson & Johnson.

Scott Paton: Oh, right.

Martin Pytela: Who they say smells like lavender, that’s not lavender. It only smells like lavender.

Scott Paton: And there is a difference between what it is and what it… just a smell and what it does.

Martin Pytela: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It is sort of like the difference between the industrial vitamin C and the regular vitamin C that you get from eating a green pepper, but anyway, so, aromatherapy is such. So, we have the word therapy in it and it should be therapeutic grade if you are going to use it for any significant purpose in your life. So, anyway, I was working with this fellow and we had developed… or he had developed a line of 50 specific oils that he felt was the palette that a serious aromatherapist should be working from.

Scott Paton: Oh, interesting.

Martin Pytela: So, we introduced it to the public and for the most part, it seems to be too complex. You know how do you decide what mood you are in right now out of… well, first of all you know each of these bottles will cost you anywhere from $20 to $30 per bottle. So, you buy 50 of those, even at a discount, you still end up with several hundred dollars to get your collection going. So, now you have your collection of 50 and now you have to decide what sort of mood you are in.

Scott Paton: Half the time I have no idea what mood I am in.

Martin Pytela: That’s right.

Scott Paton: I find out when Marion tells me. [laughs]

Martin Pytela: [laughs]

Scott Paton: I get feedback on what mood I am in. [laughs]

Martin Pytela: Oh, you are such a man’s man. Yeah, I am… in my feeling mode when my woman reminds me of what those feelings are.

Scott Paton: She doesn’t usually do it in a way that’s particular pleasant either.

Martin Pytela: Oh, dear.

Scott Paton: No, I am just kidding, I am just kidding about that. [laughs]

Martin Pytela: Yeah, okay. Right. I understand. I mean, yeah.

Scott Paton: But…

Martin Pytela: So, anyway, there we are. So, we would have to understand the emotion we are experiencing and look up in the… we actually have a tool; you know, we have that tool on the website, where you are able to go from the emotion back to the aroma oil that relates to that emotion which either accelerates or dampens that particular emotion. So, you can either bring it up or bring it down. So, if, for instance, you are too excited, you can calm; if you are under-excited, you can stimulate.

Scott Paton: Right. So… and if you were say sad, you could make yourself happier?

Martin Pytela: Yeah. If you are depressed, you could life yourself up or if you are just over-keyed, you know just like buzzing like a whatever, electric circuit board, you could calm yourself down.

Scott Paton: Wow. It’s amazing to think that just by smelling and I guess there are… are there active ingredients in the aromatherapy?

Martin Pytela: Oh yeah, yeah of course. Complex plant alkaloids and oh gosh, I… I don’t remember now all those words, but it is long, polysyllabic chemical words of these different aromatic oils and things.

Scott Paton: Well and I guess it really makes sense when you think of it. I mean people would go and have a chocolate, double chocolate fudge cake, with ice-cream, right, I mean and that’s… there are smells and there are tastes and there is…

Martin Pytela: Yeah, the smells are probably the vanilla in it, which is very calming and stimulating at the same time, there is the chocolate and all that, yeah.

Scott Paton: So, we… I mean we really do… when we eat, we are kind of using some of the ideas behind aromatherapy in our daily lives, it is just maybe not giving us the healthy benefits that we want, right?

Martin Pytela: Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Scott Paton: You know one of the ones that I use all the time and I didn’t really think of it as aromatherapy essential oil was tea tree oil.

Martin Pytela: Right.

Scott Paton: And I find that… I have two teenage boys and you know they will get colds, they will get scrapes or whatever and I can remember when I got a scrape and my mom put something on it, it stung like crazy and it was worse going and telling her about my scrape than just leaving it [laughs] in the short term, right? I mean if it got infected and everything else, then there was a bigger problem and… you know… but my sons will all come up to me and say, “Dad, have you got any of that you know smelly stuff, you know something for my throat, I am getting a sore throat and everything,” which…

Martin Pytela: Yeah, disinfectants, yeah.

Scott Paton: Yeah and it just shows me that it works when kids that are skeptical and could care less about this sort of stuff come up to me and say, you know, “Give me some more of that, right. I know it works.”

Martin Pytela: Yes. Yeah, it feels good kind of.

Scott Paton: That’s right.

Martin Pytela: Satisfying. Well, yeah, so, there we have it. So, we have offered for several years the full palette to the public and we have carried the inventory and it just hasn’t been selling and I kept wondering why are people not ordering this and we are actually hoping that people will call up and say, “Oh, please carry it. Please educate us about it. Please…” So, at the end, we ended up just taking it out of our shopping cart and we just put a notice on the website saying, “If you want some, please call us. Please let us know.” I really do want to hear from people that they are or are not interested in aromatherapy. In the end, I came to thinking that it’s too complex for the ordinary consumer.

Scott Paton: It’s certainly… well, I mean when you look at the number that you have got, I mean I am looking at the page right now and there is probably, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10…

Martin Pytela: Well, there’s 50 oils.

Scott Paton: 50 oils, yeah. So, for sure, it makes it complex.

Martin Pytela: So, that’s the basic palette. I mean you can do the basic 10, you can do the…

Scott Paton: So, what would be the basic 10 Martin? If someone was saying, “You know what, I think there is something to this.” I know I would always vote for the tea tree oil, but what are some of the other ones that you think would be important if someone just wanted to have them around and try them out?

Martin Pytela: Well, let’s see here. I am trying to think now which ones would I pick.

Scott Paton: Like I have heard good things about lavender. You had mentioned it also earlier.

Martin Pytela: Oh, yeah. Yeah, lavender is such a basic, it is, you know, it heals everything. It is a stimulant to the immune system. So…

Scott Paton: And that’s a good thing?

Martin Pytela: Yeah, oh, yeah. You want to have your immune system running.

Scott Paton: Running, so, okay, yeah, right. So, it stimulates it and gets it going.

Martin Pytela: Yeah, okay. The top 10…

Scott Paton: Okay, here is Martin Pytela’s top 10 aromatherapy essential oils and #10 is…

Martin Pytela: [laughs] I have it in alphabetical order.

Scott Paton: [laughs] Okay.

Martin Pytela: So, it would be cedar wood, eucalyptus…

Scott Paton: Hold it, hold it. What’s cedar wood?

Martin Pytela: Well, it is…

Scott Paton: The smell of cedar?

Martin Pytela: You were just in the park, telling me how beautiful the cedar smelled…

Scott Paton: Oh, okay. So, this is… this comes from that?

Martin Pytela: So, cedar…yeah, cedar is from that.

Scott Paton: What would it do? Like what would I… if I am sad, I take it or what would be the benefit of it?

Martin Pytela: Gosh, you are asking me too much. I am just like any other consumer. I have to go look it up you know and see what their functions are. Let me just give you the list for now.

Scott Paton: Okay. Well, I looked it up here and it says, calming and balancing.

Martin Pytela: There you go.

Scott Paton: So, you say it, I will tell you what the effect is.

Martin Pytela: [laughs] Okay. So, there was the cedar. Then there was the eucalyptus.

Scott Paton: Okay. Eucalyptus. Oh, that’s a good one too. That’s like for…the eucalyptus tree is Australian, right?

Martin Pytela: Yes.

Scott Paton: And that’s really good for your respiratory system.

Martin Pytela: That’s right, yeah. Just your basic, if you get a cold or if your breathing is constricted or any such thing…

Scott Paton: Yeah, it’s antibacterial and it is good for cough suppressant and expectorant.

Martin Pytela: Yeah. Right. So, then there is geranium.

Scott Paton: There is geranium. Oh, wow. I never would have thought of geranium. I actually don’t like the smell of geranium flowers, but that says it heals the body, skin, and psyche. So, it is a strong fragrance with a calming, balancing, and uplifting effect. Cool.

Martin Pytela: Yeah. So, then there is lavender, which we talked about.

Scott Paton: Which we talked about. Yeah. You said that is kind of basic for everything and that’s of course what it says here. It’s a broad spectrum healer.

Martin Pytela: Yeah.

Scott Paton: It’s great in a bath.

Martin Pytela: Yeah, immune system, you know…

Scott Paton: The heart, steadies the emotion.

Martin Pytela: Yeah, everything works better.

Scott Paton: Okay.

Martin Pytela: Lemon is another of the basics.

Scott Paton: Which isn’t surprising considering you know… I mean I have been drinking lemon, like freshly squeezed lemon in my water for a long time now and I just think it is great.

Martin Pytela: That’s an awesome tool. That by the way is probably the most alkalizing tool. You know, today, before we started talking about the aromatherapy, I wanted to raise the topic of just basics, you know, living your healthy life is based on doing a few basic things right and drinking lemon juice water is one of that.

Scott Paton: Is one of them, right. Cool.

Martin Pytela: So, anyway, so, there is lemon. Then the next one would be orange.

Scott Paton: Orange? Oh, that’s interesting and that is…

Martin Pytela: It would be…

Scott Paton: Zesty and uplifting, is what it says.

Martin Pytela: Yeah, stimulating, uplifting, cheering. That’s the sort of come home after work…

Scott Paton: Yeah, because it has a calming effect.

Martin Pytela: Yeah.

Scott Paton: And… oh, interesting.

Martin Pytela: Then there is peppermint.

Scott Paton: Peppermint… oh, yeah, love the smell of peppermint and that’s a physical and mental remedy. It says it is an effective stimulant alleviating mental fatigue and anger, hysteria, nervousness, and travel sickness. Oh, cool. So, that’s… you know I do as you know and you…

Martin Pytela: Yeah, you travel a lot and so do I.

Scott Paton: Yeah. Have the peppermint with us.

Martin Pytela: Yeah. Yeah. Take it with you whenever you go traveling because when you arrive at destination, you would really want to take some of that and rosemary is in my top 10.

Scott Paton: Oh, interesting because that’s quite a good spice I believe too, right?

Martin Pytela: Yeah. I have used rosemary to heal my liver because it stimulates the liver and it causes detox. So, whenever, you know like it is antiallergenic and…

Scott Paton: Wow. Interesting. That’s what it says. I mean it also says it provides mental strength and clarity.

Martin Pytela: Yeah. So, you know when you are worn out at the end of the day…

Scott Paton: Good one.

Martin Pytela: That’s the one you want. Tea tree, you were already mentioning tea tree. Tea tree is an awesome thing. It is just a universal antibacterial, antiinfection, it kills parasites, it does so many wonderful things.

Scott Paton: Yeah, I can’t speak highly enough of it. I mean I really have been using it for years and years and love it.

Martin Pytela: Yeah. Right. So, then there is ylang ylang.

Scott Paton: Oh, I have never heard of that one.

Martin Pytela: Ylang ylang is very exotic type of thing.

Scott Paton: It sounds exotic.

Martin Pytela: And it is best for intimate moments.

Scott Paton: Oh, interesting.

Martin Pytela: Does that map tell you something intelligent about it?

Scott Paton: Oh, well, not about what you were saying, but it says if you have got aches and pains, colic, cramps, frigidity – there we go, hair growth – okay, I have got to get this stuff, impotence, oily skin, PMS – mad, sensitive skin…

Martin Pytela: It is especially good for women.

Scott Paton: Wow. Tones certain parts of the female body.

Martin Pytela: Yeah, it is especially good for women who live with men.

Scott Paton: [laughs] I see. Interesting. Wow. That’s looks like really… and it is also a folk remedy for asthma and boils and diarrhea and headaches. Of course, I have a headache today, dear. No problem. Take this.

Martin Pytela: Yeah, that’s it. Take this my dear …

Scott Paton: [laughs] Ylang ylang.

Martin Pytela: Yes. You know you just… you just mix some ylang ylang in her whatever, wherever she is… just…

Scott Paton: And that brings up a question I had okay, like if you have these little bottles of these aromatherapy essential oils, how is the best… like what’s the best way to take them? Do you…?

Martin Pytela: Well, you don’t want to bake them. So, the best thing is you just put a drop into a small dish of water that’s been warmed in some way. I mean you can just…

Scott Paton: Oh, and take it into…

Martin Pytela: You can just get some warm water out of the tap and put a drop of that or if you can get a dish of water that a candle is burning underneath…

Scott Paton: Yes, okay. Of course, aromatherapy, you want to smell and you want it in the air.

Martin Pytela: You want to smell and you don’t want to bake it too hot.

Scott Paton: Right. Actually, said take it, not bake it. I meant to say take it. I might have said bake it, but… [laughs]

Martin Pytela: Oh, no.

Scott Paton: So, with… with some of them, would you just pour them on your skin for example?

Martin Pytela: Well, doing them neat is pretty intense. That’s for the most part not recommended for amateurs.

Scott Paton: Okay. So, the…

Martin Pytela: Some of these oils are intense and will burn your skin, I mean burn and you know it’s quite intense. I would just say smell it, just put it in water that’s being warmed in some way.

Scott Paton: So, you wouldn’t put it like a drop in a glass of water and drink it.

Martin Pytela: I have done it, but…

Scott Paton: So, it’s not like… they are not poisonous, but it is not… would not recommend it.

Martin Pytela: No. I would say, if you don’t know, what you are doing, just smell them.

Scott Paton: Right. Right and of course we are not… neither of us are doctors or any of those things, so, all those disclaimers need to apply.

Martin Pytela: I can tell you that when I was suffering with some allergies, you may remember my story from long ago, I used rosemary to clear my liver and I would take eight drops of rosemary oil in a glass of water in the morning and that’s intense. I mean that is [laughs] anyway, it helped, it worked. It did wonders for me.

Scott Paton: So, if you want to do any more than just put it in a drop in some water or how about a drop in your bath?

Martin Pytela: Sure. Awesome. That’s one of the better ways to do it.

Scott Paton: If you are going to do anything other than that, then we recommend going and seeing like a real aromatherapist and working with them on this as opposed to trying to figure out yourself or taking our you know general advice and making it specific to your situation and we don’t advice that at all. However, you are really… you are right and there really is nothing nicer than getting one of those little tea light things with the thing above it that you put the water and a drop and having that just go throughout the whole room and you have to watch them, be very, very careful that you don’t, all the water evaporates and then you just got this thing heating the container and whatever you do, don’t do what I did when I had a glass one which was hot and I put some water in it…

Martin Pytela: And then it cracked, did it?

Scott Paton: It cracked just like immediately, right?

Martin Pytela: Yeah, unfortunately glass doesn’t do so well with quick temperature changes.

Scott Paton: No. That’s right. So, the clay ones are much better as far as not having to worry about that, but cool. Well, think we have shared some really interesting information about aromatherapy and I never would have ever known anything about ylang ylang if we hadn’t decided to talk about it today Martin.

Martin Pytela: Yeah, oh, here, listen, you get yourself some ylang ylang and just if you are looking for an enhanced intimate moment, just put a drop in there somewhere, just let it waft through the room. It will set it up for much nicer than otherwise.

Scott Paton: [laughs] So, if you are… if a woman is listening to this podcast, does it work the other way?

Martin Pytela: Well, it helps especially women. I don’t know that it gets men in the mood.

Scott Paton: Most of us…

Martin Pytela: For men… [laughs]

Scott Paton: [laughs] Most of us don’t have that problem.

Martin Pytela: Right. Most men are not suffering although we are judging by how Viagra is doing in the market, you know…

Scott Paton: We do have problems, that’s for sure.

Martin Pytela: There are older guys, maybe not even age related, it is just people with problems.

Scott Paton: Interesting.

Martin Pytela: Yeah.

Scott Paton: Cool. All right. Well, you know what? I think we have come to the end of this particular episode. It has been… it was certainly enlightening to me and I really enjoyed it. Martin, I want to thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day to share this information with me and our fellow listeners. Any last words?

Martin Pytela: Oh, yes. I would definitely like people who are interested in aromatherapy to give us a call at 1-866-543-3388 and talk to us, tell us what you want and we will do it, but we need to know that there actually is interest out there because so far people have just not put their hand up. I get one call every three months asking me for an oil or something. That’s just not good enough.

Scott Paton: Right. Right and what’s the difference between these oils and say something that I could get at I don’t know the Body Shop or Wal-Mart?

Martin Pytela: Okay. Just don’t.

Scott Paton: [laughs]

Martin Pytela: You know, it is sort of… [laughs] if you are going to pick up something, ask if this is therapeutic grade. You know even the popular brands like Aura Cacia, which is you know sort of like the consumer grade aromatherapy, they just use lower grade oils.

Scott Paton: Okay.

Martin Pytela: So, well, whatever. You know, you don’t have to… not everybody gets to drive a BMW I suppose.

Scott Paton: Right. Right. So, these are probably the highest quality essential oils that are available.

Martin Pytela: Yeah. There is… you know, you can ask this question, has this oil been spectrographically analyzed and does it really match with the proper pattern for it?

Scott Paton: Oh, interesting. You will get a lot of blank looks when you ask a clerk that question.

Martin Pytela: Well, you get adulteration. You get unscrupulous growers who will mix things and cut it and dilute it and you know do all kinds of stuff like you know one of my favorites is chamomile and that’s so darn expensive that it’s sold as either 10% or 15% chamomile in some other oils, typically in jojoba or some other carrier oil.

Scott Paton: Oh yes.

Martin Pytela: Or like a rose for instance. You know like rose is so expensive and so intense that normally your rose is sold as 10%.

Scott Paton: So, it’s not necessarily pure.

Martin Pytela: Well, it shouldn’t be because it is so intense. Like if you were to put straight rose oil on, it is just too intense. So….

Scott Paton: Interesting.

Martin Pytela: Normally, it is sold diluted 10:1 or 9:1. Anyway, we are getting back into the topics.

Scott Paton: [laughs]

Martin Pytela: So, I just want to say again I would love hear from people that they are interested in aromatherapy and yes, we can provide quality products, but…

Scott Paton: So, where should they call?

Martin Pytela: If they are really interested…

Scott Paton: Yeah, where should they call? Just give us that number again.

Martin Pytela: 866-543-3388.

Scott Paton: Great and you can find tons of articles and information about these specific oils at the Life Enthusiast Co-Op website at www.life-enthusiast.com and of course, there is a link to that from our podcast page, which is lifeenthusiast.podomatic.com. So, if you want to go there, you can certainly also leave a comment, any questions you have got about aromatherapy, we will get them and we can answer them in a future podcast. All right. So, Martin, we have been…

Martin Pytela: Thank you.

Scott Paton: Thank you very much for your time. You have been listening to the Life Enthusiast Co-Op podcast, restoring vitality to you and to the planet and…

Martin Pytela: Thank you very much and until the next time.

Scott Paton: Bye, bye everybody.

Author: Martin Pytela