Right Aromatherapy

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Right Aromatherapy

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:32 am

Greetings,

I was just wondering if anyone has any experience in combining aromatherapy with aspects of the Buddhist path?

For example, are there certain smells which could be conducive to the development of Right Thought (i.e. wholesome, happy thoughts), Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration, samatha, and so on?

Is there any possible benefit in such an approach to complementing Buddhist practice, or do you think it's a complete dead end?

All thoughts welcome.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby PeterB » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:58 am

I dont know about Aromatherapy Retro but some scents have always been associated in Indian and Far Eastern thought with developing awareness and refining sensibility, Sandalwood and Agaru ( also known as Amberwood or Oudh ) among them. A convenient way to access them is of course incense sticks, a source of such sticks which are made from pure aromatherapy quality essential oils is Pure-Incense. Another is Jivada which is run by a former Bhikkhu and student of Ajahn Sumedho, called Maheshi.

:anjali:
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:02 am

Greetings Peter,

Thanks for the tip. My wife is going to a couple of aromatherapy parties over the next fortnight and I figure if she's going to spend money, she may as well get me something useful! I'm pretty sure sandalwood is available, so I'll look into that.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby poto » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:48 am

I use incense from time to time, but mostly to help cover up the dog smell in my house.

I would think that some scents, if used skillfully, could be useful to help provide a more conducive atmosphere for practice. Of course, I would also worry that there may be some attachment to sensual pleasures might arise, especially if one relies on them too heavily.

Also, I find that some scents are too strong and can be distracting.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:36 pm

Its just sensory data, Paul.
Get it if you like the house to have a nice smell. Sure, some of it might be evocative for some people but at the end of the day I doubt whether it will be of any significance in helping you achieve your goal.
metta

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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby Annapurna » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:41 pm

Dear Retro,

Aromatherapy is actually a large field. The effects of natural ethereal oils such as lemon are being used in Japan to better the concentration of the employees, and the employers report significant improvement.

Robert Tisserand, a famous therapist from England describes, that synthetic substances are being researched by the Army.

(Synthetic aromas, which don't exist in nature cause fear and the wish to escape)

He was allowed to smell a substance in high dilution, created for military purposes, and felt very unpleasant, while others had to leave the building on the spot.

"Dangerous" smells, such as smoke and of rotting bodies alert us and can keep us safe, (if we stay away)

Scents and smells affect our limbic system and can cause the excretion of neurochemical substances, such as encephalines, (spelling?) endorphines, serotonine and noradrenaline.

The effect of natural ethereal oils can be used to relax and influence disharmony in mind and body. (So perhaps make your wife aware you only want natural aromas)

Lavender, for instance, is relaxing, it is said to balance blood pressure and to enhance sleep. It also helps to keep insects away.

Here some oils and their effects:

Refreshing; enhancing concentration:

Bergamotte, lemon, lime, grapefruit, lemongrass, rosemary, basil, peppermint, stone pine and juniper

Relaxing, or for the evening:

Orange, cinnamon, honey, vanille, melissa, mimosa , rose, lavender, neroli, (orange blossoms) Petit grain, myrtle, cedar.

Now to sandal wood.

As Peter rightly said, it is a very special scent.

The description says:

Sandalwood has a very deep, slow vibration, it is harmonizing, relaxing and calming.

It is slow and powerful like an Indian elephant.

If one is aggressive and stressed, it is time to benefit from sandalwood.

In Yoga, Sandalwood is associated with both the lowest root chakra,(sexual power), and the highest chakra, (wisdom and enlightenment).

It is described as the oil of the "subtle body", (highest enlightenment body) and so as the aura of a human being which transcended all delusions.
:anjali:

Hope all this was useful, and if you got any more questions, feel free to ask! :reading:

And as Ben rightly said, they can support us, (why not) but we have to do the rest.

Anna
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby Moggalana » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:50 pm

Seems like odors can have an effect. However, that doesn't mean that a specific aroma does have a specific effect. But it doesn't mean that it is impossible either.
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby Annapurna » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:43 pm

"Science" :roll:
Last edited by Annapurna on Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby Annapurna » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:59 pm

Pharmacological effects attributed to essential oils

From Wiki

* Antibacterial: In vitro testing has confirmed antibacterial effects in certain oils including rosemary, clove, lime, cinnamon, and tea tree oil.[17][18][19][20]
* Antiviral: Supported for tea tree oil, lemongrass, sandalwood, peppermint, ginger, thyme, and hyssop in in vitro testing against Herpes[21][22][23][24][25]
* Antifungal: Supported by in vitro testing for lavender, thyme, clove, juniper, and tea tree oil[26][27][28][29][30]
* Anti-inflammatory: Reported in in-vitro assays of clove, cinnamon, sage, eucalyptus, black cumin and bay leaf[31][32][33][34][35][36]
* Anxiolytic: Reported in animal models using oils of lavender, rose and angelica [37][38][39]
* Antispasmotic (spasmolytic): Spasmolytic properties for catnip, lavender and New Zealand tea tree oils have been reported in animal studies.[40][41][42][43]
* Invigorating:[citation needed]
* Antioxidant: thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel, and bergamot in studies of bovine cells[44]


Those are examples for effects on the material level, but what is the material level?

Where does enlightenment take place, can science tell us that?

If not, and we need scientific evidence, why follow the path of the Buddha?

Is there any scientific evidence Samsara, rebirth and Nibbanna exist? :anjali:
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:44 pm

Hi Retro,
I did study this and there are effects, both physically and mentally, but it wouldn't necessarily be any better than coffee tea, or incense in regard to practice, it would be an aid but not much more.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:19 pm

in my old zendo we burned japanese sandalwood insence. i sat with this smell for years. now when i smell it it triggers that sense of meditation and is very helpful.
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:36 pm

Greetings Ben,

Ben wrote:Its just sensory data


On one level that's true, but as a "biological input" it can have a distinct impact on body, which can have an impact on mind.

We know for example, that certain times and level of food intake are conducive to meditation whereas others aren't, so I'm certainly not discounting the possibility of scents being detected by the brain, and triggering some biological response, which may have either a positive or negative impact in terms of one's spiritual endeavours. In Annabel's excellent post, she gave examples of what biological responses might be evoked by certain smells.

From yet another perspective, I experience Seasonal Affective Disorder which is generally attributed to lack of light within certain frequencies. Again, regarding light, "its just sensory data" from a vipassana/satipatthana perspective but I know it has certain physiological impacts, the consequences of which can be actually be hindrances to mental cultivation.

:stirthepot:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby cooran » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:50 pm

Hello Retro, all,

This might be of interest:

And what is despair? Whatever despair, despondency, desperation of anyone suffering from misfortune, touched by a painful thing, that is called despair.

"And what is the stress of association with the unbeloved? There is the case where undesirable, unpleasing, unattractive sights, sounds, aromas, flavors, or tactile sensations occur to one; or one has connection, contact, relationship, interaction with those who wish one ill, who wish for one's harm, who wish for one's discomfort, who wish one no security from the yoke. This is called the stress of association with the unbeloved.

"And what is the stress of separation from the loved? There is the case where desirable, pleasing, attractive sights, sounds, aromas, flavors, or tactile sensations do not occur to one; or one has no connection, no contact, no relationship, no interaction with those who wish one well, who wish for one's benefit, who wish for one's comfort, who wish one security from the yoke, nor with one's mother, father, brother, sister, friends, companions, or relatives. This is called the stress of separation from the loved.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby poto » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:56 pm

retrofuturist wrote:From yet another perspective, I experience Seasonal Affective Disorder which is generally attributed to lack of light within certain frequencies. Again, regarding light, "its just sensory data" from a vipassana/satipatthana perspective but I know it has certain physiological impacts, the consequences of which can be actually be prohibitive to mental cultivation.


Full spectrum fluorescent bulbs can help with this. If light intensity is an issue (fluorescent bulbs tend to not be very bright), a HID (high intensity discharge) light along with the full spectrum bulb will help flood the room with so much light you'll need sunglasses. ;)

Hydroponics and indoor gardening have long been hobbies of mine, so I'm very experienced with lighting systems. If you want to build a 'light room', or put some plants in there and make it a grow room, I can help with some tips and advice. I find it very pleasing to be able to walk into a grow room in the dead of winter and be surrounded by green plants and bright lights.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:07 pm

Greetings Poto,

Interesting - can such things be purchased at a hydroponics store? What kind of price range are we talking?

I'd love one at my desk at work (since that's where I spend many hours, 5 days a week, during Winter) but I don't know how others would feel about it. 8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby Guy » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:32 pm

Hi Annabel,

Annabel wrote:Is there any scientific evidence Samsara, rebirth and Nibbanna exist? :anjali:


There is some evidence "suggestive of reincarnation (rebirth)" which was conducted by Dr Ian Stevenson, though his work is not accepted by the larger scientific community. His work is really only suggestive, it doesn't actually prove rebirth, but I think it would be impossible to prove rebirth from a purely scientific point of view.

:focus:

With Metta,

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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:35 pm

Greetings Cooran,

That's a relevant sutta because not only is there the section on "aromas" which directly involves the perception of smell as sensory data and the associated mental reactions... but there's also mention of "tactile sensations" which could arise based on the presence or absence of certain physiological inputs.

Thanks.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby poto » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:43 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Poto,

Interesting - can such things be purchased at a hydroponics store? What kind of price range are we talking?

I'd love one at my desk at work (since that's where I spend many hours, 5 days a week, during Winter) but I don't know how others would feel about it. 8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yep, you can get everything at a hydro store. Although, you can find many of the same basic things at your local hardware store for cheaper. The hydroponics stores are just more convenient and have people who are knowledgeable about those things. If you do have a hydroponics store that's local, I'd say just to take look around. Those types of stores usually have experiences staff that can help answer some of your questions.

The full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the 4ft. tubes and fixtures should be the cheapest at the hardware store. As should shelving, and other components.

How much you spend depends on how big of a system you want and how much work you want to do yourself. I've built some very large systems myself for very cheap, but that was with me doing everything from building shelving to wiring HID lights from kits myself. Also, it depends on what kind of plants you want to grow. Some plants require more light than others and specific humidity or temperature conditions (especially tropical plants). I have some indoor gardening books around here somewhere. If you want to grow any specific plants, I can try to look em up and see what exact conditions would be optimum for each.

There are also new LED grow lights. They are much more energy efficient, but also more expensive. They aren't nearly as bright as HID lights. They do work well for small indoor herb gardens and other plants.

If you just want a small full spectrum fluorescent bulb for your desk, and don't want any plants, they do make compact fluorescent bulbs in full spectrum. They are a little more expensive than the regular CFs, and you might have to order them online, but that would be the cheapest route. They might have some of those at the hydro store, not sure.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:48 pm

Greetings Poto,

Thanks for the recommendations - I'll do some investigating.

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Right Aromatherapy

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:56 pm

Hi Retro,

There is a section in the "Vimilakirti Nirdesha" (which is an influential Mahayana text) where a pure land is described. The Buddha of this pure land communicates using various perfumes.

I thought that might be interesting to note given your question.


Metta

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