Saturday, 4 April 2009

Stress Busting Essential Oils

“Today the use of essential oils is becoming increasingly popular as people realise the benefits the oils have in helping to de-stress the mind and body.” Francesca Gould writes in her book Aromatherapy for Holistic Therapists.

Stress can cause many physical and psychological health problems including: headaches, anxiety, can trigger asthma attacks, high blood pressure, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, lowers the immune system making you more susceptible to colds and flu, nervous breakdown, indigestion, depression, menstrual problems, heart attacks, stomach aches and ulcers to name a few.

Following on from a previous post about combating stress during the economic downturn , I thought I would discuss a few essential oils you can use at home that can be very beneficial at stress busting and helping you to relax. I will also discuss in this post various ways to use these essential oils.

Top Note Essential Oils

Basil is an anti-depressant and neurotonic (helps strengthen the nervous system) and can be helpful for stress-related problems, insomnia, mental fatigue, and anxiety. It is also anti-spasmodic and digestive so can help with irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, asthma, and muscle tension. It can also help with tension headaches and migraines as it is an analgesic. It helps poor memory by improving concentration something which tends to be a problem when we have a lot on our mind.

Bergamot is a nice oil which can be both uplifting and calming. It is excellent for anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and stress-related problems. It is also a neurotonic and an anti-depressant. It is great for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis which can be triggered by stress.

Clary sage is an anti-depressant, sedative and a relaxant. It can help with depression, anxiety, shock, hysteria, stress-related illness, and can help lower blood pressure which is often higher when we are stressed. It also helps to balance the hormones. More information on Clary sage can be found in the Essential Oil of the Week: Clary Sage post.

Middle Note Essential Oils

Lavender is a relaxant, sedative, and anti-depressant. It helps to lower blood pressure which can often be high when stressed. More information on lavender can be found in the Essential Oil of the Week: Lavender post.

Chamomile is sedative in nature and can be useful for insomnia, anxiety, stress and tension. It is also an anti-depressant. All forms of Chamomile can be beneficial for stress-related conditions. I personally prefer Roman Chamomile but it tends to be more expensive.

Geranium is a very balancing oil, especially for women. It is an anti-depressant and relaxant and stimulates the adrenal cortex of the adrenal glands helping to relieve stress, anxiety, fatigue, shock, depression, pre-menstrual syndrome, menopausal symptoms and other stress related conditions.

Base Note Essential Oils

Ylang-ylang is beneficial for over rapid breathing (hyperventilation) which can occur during anxiety/panic attacks or just from an increased level of stress. It also helps palpitations, insomnia, over rapid heart rate, and other stress related conditions. It is one of my favourite oils.

Frankincense is good for emotional problems, tiredness, anxiety, confidence problems, depression, headaches, irritability, hyperventilation, and stress-related conditions. More information on frankincense can be found in the posts Essential Oil in focus : Frankincense and the Frankincense – The New Antidepressant.

Patchouli is an anti-depressant and neuro-tonic

Ways of using the oils

Bath: Dilute the chosen essential oils (4-6 drops) first in a teaspoon of milk and then add to the bath just before you get in.

Oil Burners: Further information on how to use an oil burner can be found in a previous post. If you can’t find a suitable burner or don’t want to pay out for one, you could just add a couple drops of your chosen essential oil on to a piece of cotton wool or tissue and place on a radiator. The heat will cause the oil to evaporate and the relaxing aroma will be released into the room.

Massage: Add 5 drops of your chosen essential oils to 10ml (2 tsp) of carrier oil (grape seed oil or sweet almond oil are good choices). There are many self-massage techniques which you can use or you could get someone else to do it for you.

If you are not sure whether the oils are suitable for you or not, especially if you have any medical conditions, it is best to consult a qualified Aromatherapist first. Also, before using any essential oils on the skin, it is advisable to perform a patch test first.

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