Aromatherapy: The Benefits for Stress Reduction

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Aromatherapy is an ancient art and is considered to be an alternative treatment using essential oils extracted from aromatic plants, leaves, roots, flowers and resins, fruit, or bark. The beneficial properties of the oils treat common ailments, promote healing, cleansing, and mood-enhancing effects such as relieving stress.  Used by therapeutic massage, bath, spray mist, perfume, skin & hair care, sauna, pillow, or aromatic diffusers to enhance our senses such as through smell and touch. The inhalation of essential oils sends messages to the part of the brain connected to smell – the olfactory system; a signal is sent to the limbic system of the brain that controls emotions and retrieves learned memories. This causes chemicals to be released which makes you feel relaxed, calm, stimulated, or even having restorative powers. They can work to relax the nervous system and give it enough stimulation to rebalance and control itself, leaving you refreshed and ready to cope. Essential oils can also be used to activate or open the 7 chakras. An aromatherapy massage combines the powers of touch and sense of smell. The essential oils penetrate the body via the skin and are also inhaled throughout the treatment. Each oil has a distinct chemical composition which determines its fragrance, color, and affects on the psychological and physical well-being, giving each oil its unique therapeutic value.

When to Use Essential Oils

There is no right or wrong way when selecting the method for relieving your particular problem through the use of essential oils. These are just a few examples that you can try out for yourself: 1. Schedule an aromatherapy massage. 2. Take an aromatic bath-a 15-20 minute soak is long enough. Wait until the bath is almost full before adding the oils, as they evaporate quickly.  Use 5 drops, and mix up to 3 different oils, but with all similar or complimentary effects. 3. Lie down for 15-20 minutes in length. Burn a scented candle and use soft lighting, close your eyes and/or use a scented eye pillow (Lavender, for instance). Concentrate on your breathing and let the oils soothe your stress and strains away.  4. Use a cold compress of lavender or geranium across the forehead to relieve headaches. You can use a hand towel and soak it in cool or warm water, add 5 drops of the oil. Lay it across your forehead. If your headache is caused by tension in the neck, use a sandalwood compress across the neck.  5. Depression for whatever reason for the cause, if not resolved it can lower your immune system, leaving you feeling worse emotionally and physically. Essential oils that can lift your spirits to prevent this are, Bergamot, Sage, Rosemary. 6. For insomnia-try using an aromatic diffuser or spray on your pillow to breath in the aromatic vapors to help induce sleep. Try using frankincense, lavender, marjoram, neroli. *These ideas are not a substitute for conventional medical treatment.

3 Examples of Essential Oils to Use for Overcoming Stress:

1.  Mandarin-cheerful, refreshing, inspiring. Brings light to the heart and mind. Carefree of the “inner child.” Strengthens the mind-body system. Aids digestion. Promotes peaceful sleep.

2. Frankincense-evokes a sense of inspiration, faith, inner strength and stability. Activates and balances the crown and base chakras. Enhances connection to Spirit, intuition and inner guidance. Meditation and spiritual guidance. Soothes, calms, and balances the mind and emotions; excellent in times of fear and anxiety; alleviates nightmares.

3.  Jasmine-helping to integrate sexuality, sensuality, and spirituality. Emotionally warming and uplifting, optimistic. Stimulates creativity, imagination, fantasy and dreams. Eases depression, apathy, lack of confidence, and emotional imbalance. Assists in opening the sacral, heart, and crown chakras.

Let me know what works for you. Is there another method or idea about aromatherapy that was not mentioned? Please share your ideas!!

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