Today, I would like to discuss the use of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy to treat stress. We have spoken about Lavender before and today I would like to discuss this remarkable gift from nature even more.
Everyone from time to time goes through stressful times. We have all been there. Whether it is something temporary–such as worrying about a car repair or an upcoming test, or longer lasting such as an unhappy relationship, financial troubles, etc.–stress affects our bodies on so many levels. Holiday time, while a time of happiness, can also be a stress-inducer. I know that long lines, busy parking lots and company can sometimes bring a bit of stress.
If I were to ask you what the main symptom of stress is in terms of health, you might say “a headache.” Tension headaches are a very common sign. Other signs, though, include a rapid heart rate, an increase in blood sugar levels, decreased energy, skin troubles ranging from paleness to breakouts, insomnia, and depression.
When I am stressed out, my skin just looks tired. My heart will race. My shoulders will tense up and have knots. I think we’ve all experienced these symptoms before. Then there’s insomnia. If I am stressed, I go to bed and then my mind starts zooming from issue to issue and I cannot relax. Then I worry that I’ll be tired the next day for not sleeping well. It’s quite a cycle. It’s at that time when I experience those symptoms that I realize I really need to get more in touch with my tranquil side once again.
Using Essential Oils can help relieve the symptoms of stress and find our way back to that peaceful and relaxed state. Ideally, you’ll also be using exercise, meditation, and healthy eating to help things along as well.
The most well known oil for relaxation and stress relief is Lavender.
It is, perhaps, the most well known of the Essential Oils.
Lavender, or Lavandula Angustifolia, is commonly grown throughout Europe, particularly in Bulgaria, France, and England. It can be grown here, though. I live in New York and our climate really isn’t the best for growing an abundance of beautiful lavender. That is not to say it cannot be done, though. This fragrant herb is just lovely. It works well on its own or can be used in blends to enchance its effects. I actually have some in my summer garden.
Lavender, though, does much more than smell nice. A scientific research team at Texas A & M University conducted a study to measure a human’s response to odor. Study participants were asleep and given EEG tests. This study was conducted in 1992 and had interesting results. It showed that Lavender Essential Oil essentially lulled the participants to sleep sooner.
Lavender, though, isn’t the only beneficial Essential Oil when it comes to relaxation.
Chamomile is another. Chamomile, or Anthemis Nobilis, is distilled from dried flowers of the chamomile plant. Its usage dates back to ancient Egypt. Chamomile usually is found in England, North America and in most southern parts of Europe. You often hear people saying to have some chamomile tea if you need to relax a bit. Why? This Essential Oil has been shown to calm nervous personalities, anger and irritability, and anxiety. It is very soothing. I’ll talk more about this another week, but just as it calms the mood, it calms even troubled skin.
Lemon Essential Oil is another relaxing oil. This is surprising to many people, as Lemon (Citrus Limonum) can also be energizing. When combined with other Essential Oils, it can be wonderfully stress-relieving. It improves mental clarity and can even “lift” heavy emotions when used in conjunction with oils in a blend. Lemon can help relieve the symptoms of tension and migraine headaches as well. Lemon Essential Oil originated in India.
Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) is said to have originated in India. It also comes from the West Indies, Africa, and China. This warming oil is often used to treat muscle aches and pains and I have personally found it helpful to me when I had knots in my shoulder blades and back and need to relax and de-stress. I have found it to be particularly helpful in a recipe I am going to share with you today down below.
Cedarwood is another beneficial oil, but isn’t talked about as much as the others. Cedarwood, or Cedrus Atlantica, is commonly grown in Morocco, among other countries in the area. While it is woodsy and not something you’d think of as a relaxing oil, it actually is known by aromatherapists as a gentle sedative and can help to calm symptoms of anxiety.
How can you reap the benefits of the Essential Oils I have mentioned?
You can gently and carefully add some of them to a handkerchief and take a small sniff. You can put some in a carrier oil and apply a dab or two to the skin. You could use an aromatherapy spray. We also offer body oil blends with many beneficial essential oils.
When I feel sore and have the jaw-clenching stress or tension and foggy head, I like to use our Therapeutic Body Oil. It can be spritzed into the bath, directly to the skin and massaged in or applies to pulse points.
Our Relaxing Lavender Body Oil would be great for the teacher on your list this year! It also makes for a great stocking stuffer. This is what I like to use at night after a bath and it helps lull me to sleep.
Other Helpful Tips for Relaxation
*Another favorite means of relaxation: add some lavender sprigs to a small sauce pan of honey and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then pour into airtight canning jars. I actually made a bunch of jars and will give some in Christmas baskets full of handmade goodies. I like Buckwheat honey, but there are so many other lovely varieties. It takes hardly and time and VOILA! — lavender infused honey. It tastes particularly delicious in Chamomile tea. If you recall from above, this herb is great for R & R, too!
*Make sure you’re using your favorite (seed) products infused with lavender as well to help unwind and de-stress. Give our Loving Lavender Variety Pack along with some herbal tea and maybe a pair of slippers and you’ll have a fabulous gift to give someone who needs pampering. It’s a great gift for your mom or daughter or close friends.
Enjoy…and be well rested!