Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Health News

Festive Holiday Scents

Ahh, the holidays: They bring tidings of great joy-and often, stress. Arm yourself an arsenal of aromatherapy blends that can help you stay centered amid the holiday bustle.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

What better way to welcome holiday guests than with scents of the winter season such as fir, pine, or spruce? Essential oils from the conifer family are naturally antiseptic and boost the respiratory system. Breathing in these refreshing oils will help open airways, clear your mind, and tame tension, making them the perfect go-to this December.

Grand fir (Abies grandis) smells just like a holiday tree. Take a whiff and you’ll be inspired to create a simple home scent to carry you through the holidays. The scent of grand fir lifts the mood, and along with invigorating Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga douglasii), it can help boost low spirits.

Blend the fir oils with the woodsy notes of Scotch (Scots) pine (Pinus sylvestris) for an aroma that’s cleansing for body, mind, and spirit. Even if you live in a warm-weather climate, the scent will shout a welcome to the holidays while purifying the air and stilling frazzled nerves.

To disperse the aroma, mix a few drops of each oil in an aromatherapy diffuser, or add the oils to water in a saucer and place on a sunny windowsill to let the sun warm the blend. To create a home mist, mix 8 drops of each oil with distilled water in a four-ounce glass spray bottle and shake gently. Mist the air regularly to freshen stuffy rooms and thwart airborne germs.

Healthy tip…
Decorating with pinecones this winter? Spritz them with a grand fir and water mix for a subtle scent.

The spruces, including white spruce (Picea glauca) and black spruce (Picea mariana), help build stamina by bolstering the adrenal glands, which take a hit from the challenges of holiday travel, erratic schedules, and even cold, dry weather. Spruce acts as a tonic for low energy and relief for achy muscles, and when combined with calming lavender Lavandula angustifolia), it packs a powerful one-two punch to blue moods. Keep this blend handy for a quick pick-me-up when your spirits are flagging.

Create a massage blend by mixing 8 drops each of white spruce and black spruce with 12 drops lavender essential oils in a one-ounce bottle filled with a carrier oil such as grapeseed or calendula, which is a great choice for its healing properties.

Can’t get away for a massage session? Be your own therapist whenever you feel exhausted or annoyed. First, pour a small amount of the blend into your hands and lightly rub palms together to release the aroma; then bring your hands to your face, and breathe deeply. Next, rub the blend onto your neck and shoulders. Better yet, if you can sneak away for a bath, pour a capful or two into a tub filled with warm water, then sink back and relax.

Other essential oils from the conifer family offer powerful emotional support. cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) can infuse a blend with a warm aroma that curbs anxiety. Diffuse several drops of cypress with equal amounts of lavender in the evenings before bedtime to promote restful sleep. Add cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) to these oils for an earthy layer. For a massage blend, mix 8 drops each of cypress, cedar, and lavender with 1 ounce of a carrier oil such as sweet almond, in a glass bottle. Cap tightly, then roll the bottle between your palms to warm blended oils. Uncap the bottle and apply the blend on wrists, temple, and chest. To leverage cedarwood’s detoxifying properties, apply in a circular motion to the stomach and lower back over the kidneys.