A Drop of Oil Just Might Ease Bodily SqueaksLife during Korea's rainy season, with its interludes of steamy hot weather, can often be quite disagreeable. The weather can have a stifling effect on your disposition. With a few drops of oil extracted from natural herbs, you can salvage your mood before lethargy sets in and you bow to greater natural forces － humidity and torrential rain. "A massage with three drops peppermint oil, two drops jasmine and a base massage oil is a remarkable stress reliever, especially for those worn out by this kind of nasty weather," said Kim Ju-youn, public relations manager at Aveda, a cosmetics company that uses natural ingredients in its products.
Aromatherapy has a 6,000-year-old history. First utilized by the ancient Egyptians, the practice gained popularity in the late 1990s in Korea. These days, cultivating potted herbs, reasonably priced at 3,000 won ($2.30) on average, is a popular fad. A wide range of essential oils and related potions are best-selling items in cosmetic shops these days. Many people have joined online clubs to exchange information. A college student in her 20s said, "I first tried aromatherapy to cure my boyfriend's insomnia after medical cures were unsuccessful. Lighting an aromatic candle with lavender and bergamot essential oils did the trick." A new believer, she joined an online club and studied books about aromatherapy.
According to Cho Sung-jun, a neuropsychiatrist and the president of the Korean Aroma Society, aromatherapy entails inhalation by lamp or candle diffusion or the use of oils in massage or in baths. Dr. Cho, who prescribes aromatherapy for at least half his patients, said, "I believe that depression, insomnia and anxiety can be eased by with aromatherapy, though it is not the solution to all ailments."
The most popular essential oils, which cost 9,900 won for a 15 milliliter bottle at the Body Shop, a chain of cosmetic stores, are lavender, peppermint and jasmine. Lavender is used for headaches, insomnia, depression and hysteria, while jasmine eases hysteria and premenstrual syndrome. To relieve fatigue, for example, blend three drops lavender essential oil, three drops chamomile and three drops geranium mixed with 25 milliliters of base massage oil. When sleep is elusive, try five drops lavender, two chamomile and three bergamot, with 25 milliliters of base oil.
Instead of running an air conditioner all night, an aroma lamp and some lavender costs less with some of the same results.
by Chun Su-jin