Aromatherapy is a remarkable health modality that can help enhance body, mind and spirit, but our nutritional choices can also dramatically impact our health and emotional happiness over the long term. Even the condition of our skin (our largest organ) and hair is directly related to what we choose to eat and drink.
We can and should integrate the benefits of essential oils and other natural botanicals into our daily routine, but attention to what you eat will work synergistically to help enhance your outlook on life and to effect how your body, skin and hair looks and feels.
I once knew a woman who was thin and appeared to be very fit. She was in her late 40s at the time, and I'll call her Jane. Jane was very energetic, perhaps almost to the point of being hyper. A sweet and attractive lady, Jane had the energy of someone much younger, but the skin on Jane's face, neck and hands made her look like she was in her late 60s. We had a brief but friendly acquaintanceship, and as we got to know each other, I would learn that Jane had severe sleeping problems and an auto-immune skin disorder called Lichen Planus. Lichen Planus is a skin disorder that is somewhat rare and can be much more severe than eczema. In some cases, as in Jane's situation, surgery can be required. Because Jane didn't have to "watch" her weight, she also didn't watch what she ate, and she ate a lot of heavily processed foods. She would eat fast food at least once daily, and I had the impression that many days went by in which she ate at least two of her meals from a drive through paper bag. In Jane's case, she barely ate any fruits or vegetables let alone fresh foods, and she barely ate any foods like salmon that are high in essential fatty acids. I suspect this is why her skin was aged beyond its years and why she may have also suffered from Lichen Planus. My knowledge of Lichen Planus is limited, but in my initial research to learn more about her skin disorder, I found an article that indicated that like eczema, intake of essential fatty acids can prove helpful. Jane's excessive intake of processed foods and minimal intake of fresh produce may have also been directly responsible for her sleeping issues.
Jane has indirectly reminded me of the importance of not just nourishing my skin from the outside, but to be sure to also eat foods rich in EFAs. It's also important to increase one's intake of fresh fruits and veggies and limit processed foods. I have my own personal stories to share about the direct benefits in reducing processed foods/eating raw. I'll share those sometime in the near future.
For more information on essential fatty acids, visit AromaWeb's Essential Fatty Acids article.