Meet Katie Greenway. Aromatherapist, yoga enthusiast and dancing queen. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Katie and have always been in awe of her wealth of aromatherapy knowledge and her ability to follow her nose intuitively. Grab a cup of tea, have your essential oils ready and read on for a deep dive into the power of using essential oils to enhance your wellbeing over winter.
Hello gorgeous Katie! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. In a few words, can you tell me what sparked your interest in aromatherapy?
Well it was actually in the late 90’s when for a little while, aromatherapy was really popular and there was a company called In Essence which sparked my interest. I really felt like when I used the essential oils, they had a really profound impact on me which later led to me studying a diploma in aromatherapy.
What are some of your favourite essential oils right now?
Vetiver and patchouli! They are always a continual staple. I feel so grounded when I smell them and I love that sense of being really embodied and present.
Why do you think aromatherapy is important in times of crisis/ social upheaval?
I think aromatherapy has the capacity to really help people manage stress and anxiety; this is especially important as we're living in a time where there's a lot of uncertainty. Essential oils help to calm our nervous system and invite us to be self-caring, by doing so they have the capacity to bring us back to the present moment instead of being worried or stressed about the future.
Are there any essential oils you would recommend particularly for people who are in lockdown? Would you say those grounding essential oils you previously mentioned would be helpful?
Yeah! The vetivers and patchoulis are my jam but I would also recommend using geranium which has a really balancing on the nervous system or bergamot which is both uplifting and calming at the same time.
Can you tell me more about the mindfulness aspect of essential oils?
It's (the effect they have) on the limbic system, which has also been disrupted by these continual lockdowns. Essential oils have the power to directly go to that part of the brain and immediately have an impact on calming our nervous system, helping us drop into that rest and digest phase.
Do you have any favourite mini rituals to help improve your mood and feel energised now that winter has arrived?
I’m loving hot baths at the moment, they have been a really beautiful ritual of using essential oils not only as a ritual of self-care, but also as a way of getting warm and getting essential oils into my body when it's freezing cold!
To help me feel energised over winter, I like to use things like magnesium salts with my essential oils. I also love using a blend of bergamot, geranium and patchouli in the bath, which I find helps to balance my nervous system and has an indirectly energising effect.
Another mini ritual I like to use is diffusing essential oils during meditation. I find that not only does it help my practice but it's also a great way of looking after myself. This is especially true for when I feel like I'm missing out on sunlight during winter! Which I know is something that can really affect my energy levels and mood, so having essential oils on hand that I know have the ability to counteract that, I find especially helpful.
Do you have a specific way of choosing the essential oils you're going to use?
I think it's guided by my intuition, it’s about noticing how I feel when I smell it and what’s pulling me towards it. I think it also depends on the type of activity I'm doing; for example choosing essential oils to put in the bath, I'm gravitating towards oils I know will assist me with relaxation whereas in meditation, it's more about feeling grounded and focused.
Lastly, do you have an all time favourite essential oil or blend to use over winter?
I think bergamot's a really good one for winter lethargy, it's just so uplifting and balancing at the same time. In terms of blends, cinnamon and clove together is a great combination. They assist with air purification and are also really nice warming, invigorating blends for me… it's like a beautiful mulled wine!