Aromatherapy – natural stress relief with the right essential oils

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What is aromatherapy? Simply put, it’s the use of essential oils extracted from flowers, leaves, grasses, fruits, roots and trees. It’s the essential oils in plant that gives them a scent. These oils contain chemicals, which have a therapeutic affect on the body through our skin and sense of smell, providing relief and healing for a wide variety of ailments.

How it works?

Essential oils are typically either applied directly to the skin by massage, or inhaled through the mucous membranes, allowing the natural chemicals to enter directly into the blood stream, bypassing the digestive tract. This prevents digestive enzymes reducing their natural potency.

A common ailment, stress, responds well to essential oils. It is said that almost everyone in the whole world is under stress of some description at one time or another. Aromatherapy helps us to cope and calm down.

First lets differentiate between positive and negative stress. Positive stress can be described as a “high” or a “buzz” you get when performing your job fast and efficiently. It is, indeed, the kind of high that makes people enjoy working in the first place. This kind of energy gives you your creative spark, improves your energy level, and generally helps with motivation. Negative stress, on the other hand is quite a different matter. This is when the healthy stress becomes debilitating with the result that you have no energy, no desire, only anxiety at your mounting workload. This is when essential oils are needed.

Stress relief with the right essential oils


Next, lets take a look at the various types of stress and the oils suited to combat them:

Environmental Stress: Caused by, constant noise, interruptions, bright lights, traffic noise, ringing of telephones etc. Oils which help: Basil, Bergamot Cedarwood, Coriander, Cypress, Geranium, Roman Chamomile

Chemical Stress: Caused by, too much alcohol and caffeine; too much junk food; too many drugs, antibiotics or over the counter painkillers, inhaling substances at the office or home, pollution in the atmosphere; Oils which help: Clary-Sage, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Patchouli, Pettigrain, Rosemary

Physical Stress: Caused by, pushing your body to the limits, over exercising, lots of business travel, late nights and early mornings etc. Oils which help: Bergamot, Cypress, Fennel, Geranium, Lavender, Marjoram, Orange, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Thyme, Vetiver

Mental Stress: Caused by, trying to achieve, worrying about deadlines, pressure from a boss, unemployment, financial worries, health worries – yours or a loved one. Oils which help: Basil, Bergamot, Cardamom, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Nutmeg, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Peppermint

Emotional Stress: Caused by, relationship problems, parent guilt, infertility, the inability to give or receive love; grief; etc. Oils which help: Bergamot, Cardamom, Geranium, Orange, Palma Rosa, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetiver

Stress levels

Stress can occur at different levels of severity and can quickly move from one level to the next if left untreated. Stress is such an individual experience so let your body be your guide to identify where you reside on the stress-level ladder:

Rung 1: starts as tiredness and leads to insomnia, irritability, digestion issues

Rung 2: anxiety sets in followed by depression, unexplained aches and pains, and migraines and headaches

Rung 3: next comes unexplained fearfulness, guilt, acrophobia, claustrophobia, and infections persist

Rung 4: lastly serious illness ensues: unexplained pain continues, angina, high blood pressure, heart attacks, other conditions that have their root cause linked to stress such as decreased immune function, cancer, stomach ulcers, increased incidence of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis

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It’s vital to treat the first rung before it develops to the second and so on. We shouldn’t strike a divide between our mental health and physical health – we are an integrated unit of body and mind and should be treated as such! Fortunately, we can use essential oil blends to reduce the effect of stress by choosing ones that soothe and relax or energize and stimulate as required, like the following:

For Anxiety:
 10 drops, Geranium
 10 drops, Palma Rosa 10 drops

Lavender 5 drops, Geranium 15 drops, Bergamot 10 drops

Nutmeg 8 drops, Orange 5 drops, Lavender 17 drops

Lavender 15 drops, Veviter 8 drops, Clary Sage 5 drops

Rosemary 11 drops, Lemon 10 drops, Lavender 8 drops,
Peppermint 5 drops

For Muscular Pain:
Lavender 10 drops, Rosemary 5 drops, Cypress 15 drops

For most of us stress is unavoidable; however, by using essential oils, we can alleviate some of the stress we suffer. Try to incorporate into your life:

  • A monthly aromatherapy massage
  • After a stressful day enjoy a home treatment use oils in the bath or on a wash cloth in the shower
  • Add one of the above blends to a body cream
  • During the day – add a couple of drops to a tissue to take with you
  • Add a blend to a plant spray to use in the environment you’re working in but check with those around that it’s OK to use – they’ll benefit from it, too!

Whatever you do, please remember to make yourself a priority – and keep some time for yourself to do what you want.

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