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Small But Mighty

Essential oils pack a therapeutic punch



Until recently my only exposure to essential oils had been at a fancy spa. I lay prone on a heated massage bed while new age music burbled softly in the background. The masseuse wafted numerous tiny amber bottles of fragrant (and not so fragrant) oils beneath my nose and asked me to respond to each one. My reactions went something like this: “… nice … very nice … so-so … not bad … ewww!” And finally, an enthusiastic, “Yes, that’s the one!” It was jasmine oil. And inhaling it made me deliriously happy.

Our sense of smell can instantly trigger childhood memories and is highly emotive. So why did I respond so strongly to that particular scent? It reminded me of my grandmother who always wore a perfume with an undertone of jasmine and I was propelled back to a happy time and place, when I felt safe and loved. 

That experience stayed with me. Recently, when I had the opportunity to attend a seminar led by herbal expert Gina Fasser, I was intrigued. I learned that essential oils were mankind’s first medicines, and have been used therapeutically for over 6,000 years to heal, soothe, and ease pain. They have long been prized for their fragrances as well as their health-giving properties, and were routinely used in religious ceremonies, food preparation, and beauty treatments in ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures. Not surprisingly, there are 188 references to essential oils in the Bible, the most notable being the magi’s gifts of frankincense and myrrh to the newly born Jesus.

Essential oils can have powerful psychological and physiological effects. Smell is one of the five senses directly linked to the limbic lobe, which is essentially the brain’s control central. The limbic system helps to regulate our blood pressure, stress levels, heart rate, breathing, memory, and hormones. Therapeutic oils, while not a cure-all, can be effective in relieving insomnia, migraine headaches, stress, and sinus infections. They can help rebuild your immune system, calm a toothache, tame motion sickness, and brighten your mood.

But what are they exactly? Essential oils are extracts derived from aromatic plant species and their parts—including flowers, fruit, roots, stems, bark, seeds, and leaves. After they’re distilled, what’s left is the highly concentrated oil or potent “essence.” For example, it would take 28 cups of peppermint tea to equal one drop of peppermint oil. These oils can be utilized therapeutically in a variety of ways: applied topically, inhaled, diffused in the air, and ingested. They can also be blended with other oils to maximize their effectiveness.

However, the industry is not well-regulated, so if you’re comparison-shopping on Amazon or eBay, don’t be misled by bargain basement prices. Not all brands of essential oils are created equal––some have been found to have as little as 5 percent of the purported oil. Disreputable manufacturers cut corners by using chemical solvents, high temperatures, and rapid processing. So do your research and aim to find the purest quality essential oils with labels that state they are “therapeutic-grade.” 

For the uninitiated, a good place to start is with a universal oil such as lavender, known as the “Swiss Army knife of essential oils” because of its versatility. A drop or two can help relieve motion sickness (one drop on the end of the tongue, behind the ears, or around the navel); heal cuts (two to three drops help stop bleeding, kills bacteria, and cleans the wound); reduce itching and swelling of bee stings and insect bites (one drop on the affected area); heal cold sores (one drop on sore); decrease the pain of a minor burn (two to three drops); and ease hay fever and allergy symptoms (inhale deeply). 

When applying oils topically, you need to check whether they can be applied undiluted, or must be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut, grape seed, or sweet almond.

When diffused, essential oils can purify stale air and destroy bad odors (lavender, lemon, sweet orange, balsam fir, and hyssop to name a few), or used in an office environment to encourage greater focus and mental alertness (peppermint, rosemary). Experiencing generalized muscle pain? There’s an oil for that. Marjoram and peppermint are the most effective. Certain essential oils can be used on babies to resolve ailments like teething, diaper rash, and cradle cap. The list of uses for essential oils is almost endless and while they will never replace Western medicine, they do have demonstrable therapeutic properties. In addition to smelling absolutely wonderful, they are a less toxic option than some medications.

I never forgot my powerful emotional reaction to jasmine oil. I now wear it every day and feel warmly enveloped in memories of my elegant grandmother.

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September 2018

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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Contact Name: Robin Zella

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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

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1 Museum Dr
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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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900 Lafayette Blvd.
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View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
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1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
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More information

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Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
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Cost: Free

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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
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Where:
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1 Museum Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
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More information

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Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
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A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
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View map »


Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
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View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
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View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
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720 Pequot Avenue
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View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $20.00

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View map »


Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
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More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

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View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

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View map »


Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

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In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Housantonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
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Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Laura from Olive My Skin will be joining us to talk about her lovely natural soaps, wood wick soy candles and skin care line, all proudly made in Connecticut. All Fair Trade, paraben free,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
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Sponsor: The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: susan
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Formed in 1963 in Stamford, CT, The Fifth Estate was a central part of the garage rock movement. Remember NBC's 'Hullabaloo'? They performed their crackin' song 'I Just...

Cost: $28

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company at StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
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Evocation of light is ever present in the romantic and experiential landscapes of Ira Barkoff. His recent works convey the spontaneity and the maturity of the artist’s hand and dedication to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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Sponsor: 1953
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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