Essential oils are known to have a wide variety of benefits for both physical and mental health. Studies have shown that certain oils can be effective in treating headaches, indigestion, inflammation, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
In these stressful times, more and more people are turning to essential oils to improve their state of mind.
Things to Know Before You Start
Before starting your aromatherapy practice, consider going to AromaTech for some tips on using oils safely.
While essential oils are natural and safe for human use, they can be harmful to pets and young children if they’re ingested. For example, cinnamon, tea tree oil, and citrus are all especially dangerous to dogs and cats.
In addition, pregnant women should be very cautious when using essential oils.
Certain oils, like camphor and pennyroyal, are not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. However, other oils, like lavender and tangerine, can safely help relieve the anxiety associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Choosing the Right Oils
There are many oils recommended for soothing the nerves, but the following are four of the most popular.
- Lavender. Lavender oil is pressed from the flowers of the herb, and its scent is deeply calming. Lavender is valued in many cultures around the world as a treatment for anxiety and depression. Research has shown that it reduces anxiety in tense situations, like waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and it also improves the quality of sleep.
- Bergamot Orange. Another oil that is commonly recommended for stress and anxiety is bergamot orange, which is extracted from the peel of the fruit produced by the Citrus bergamia tree. It is often used to elevate mood and relieve anxiety. One study demonstrated that bergamot orange reduced the anxiety of people who were waiting to have a surgical procedure.
- Clary Sage. Clary sage oil is pressed from the leaves and buds of the Mediterranean herb Salvia sclarea. Not only have studies shown that the scent of clary sage reduces the stress hormone cortisol, but the essential oil is also considered a natural antidepressant.
- Orange Blossom Oil. Also known as Neroli, this essential oil is distilled from the flowers of bitter orange trees. The scent is floral with a citrus tang, and it’s used as a base of many perfumes. Evidence suggests that inhaling orange blossom can trigger the brain to release serotonin, a natural mood regulator.
Other oils that are associated with stress relief include chamomile, lemon, rose, ylang-ylang, grapefruit, geranium, basil, and lime.
Choosing the Right Methods
The simplest method of aromatherapy is to place a drop of oil on a cloth or on your hands and inhale the scent.
For example, some people put a cotton ball infused with lavender or another aromatic oil next to their pillow to help them sleep.
Another method is to heat the oil in a diffuser. The heat causes the oil to evaporate so the scent is dispersed throughout the room.
Other methods include putting a few drops of a non-irritating oil into a hot bath and diluting an oil with a carrier and massaging it into the skin.
The method you choose depends on how strong a dose you want to get and how long you want it to last.
Essential oil aromatherapy can be a great way to deal with stress and increase your sense of well-being. Just make sure to choose high-quality oils and avoid fragrance oils, which are synthetic rather than natural products.
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