Ojai Valley Inn & Spa Aromatherapy 101

Have you ever caught the whiff of a scent (either glorious or stinky or somewhere in-between) and suddenly felt transported to another place and time?  Recently we had the great pleasure of relaxing at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, California.  In this beautiful oasis surrounded acres of lavender and rosemary, I had an olfactory experience that evoked deep-rooted memories and transported me to places I hadn’t thought of in decades. (I realize how sophisticated that last sentence sounded… but no joke it was that serious a feeling!)

Beginning in Spa Ojai’s Apothecary, Michelle and I embarked on the “Essence in Balance” journey that began with a science experiment and ended in the spa. We felt very scientific. Dr. Holly Adams, a homeopathy and aromatherapy expert, introduced our noses to over twenty five pure essential oils and flower essences, one at a time, while we closed our eyes and rated them from 1-5 (5=loved it, 1=hated it).

Dr. Holly told us not to judge a fragrance by specific memories or feelings, but to go with our gut instinct.  We were to rely on our ‘unconscious mind’ to naturally draw us towards the scents that would help balance our present state of being.

We inhaled everything from rose geranium and neroli (aahhhh…) to frankincense and myrhh (yuck!).  While some scents were a quick thumbs-up (lavender) or thumbs-down (sage), others evoked clear images and long forgotten emotions.

After choosing our favorite scents, we blended drops of them together in a tiny blue glass bottle.  Dr. Holly offered us a bag of gleaming crystals, asked us to choose one, and dropped it into our bottles for extra healing properties. As we walked to the spa for our massages, she concocted our customized massage oils to be used in our treatments.  At the end, the soothing massage with our chosen oil blends was like icing on the cake.  Muscles relaxed, minds calm, we left the spa feeling like we had truly achieved “Essence in Balance.”

Of the many spa treatments available at this serene resort, I highly recommend trying this aromatherapy journey.  You will go home with a fragrance that will evoke stress-relieving memories of this magical place in the mountains.  You’ll go back home a better mommy… trust us.  We did.

How can you do this at home?  Try this:

  1. Go to your local natural foods store (Whole Foods, Rainbow Bridge)
  2. In the health/beauty section, find the racks of essential oils and, working from A-Z, smell each one. (Close your eyes and take a big whiff.)
  3. Don’t think about the scent too much, just decide whether you like it or not. Instinct works best.
  4. Choose 3-5 scents that you really like.
  5. Purchase a small glass bottle for mixing the essential oils, a larger glass bottle if you want to make massage oil, and an un-scented carrier oil such as jojoba, almond or grapeseed oil.
  6. Go home and experiment.  Start with one drop each and tweak the formula until you come up with a scent that you love.  Finally, add a few drops of your blended oil to 4 oz. of the carrier oil.
  7. You’re done!  Massage this oil on your body, face, and hair. Enjoy. Relax….
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