If you are lighting a scented candle, using lotions with fragrance, body spray, have potpourri in your home, those are all forms of aromatherapy. Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful senses. A smell can take you back to a place in the past and bring up a wonderful memory or it can trigger a not so pleasant one.
The sense of smell is strongly tied to the brain and our emotions. Research shows that smelling lavender for instance increases alpha waves which are associated with relaxation. Other smells like peppermint can increase brain waves in the front of the head which can make you feel more alert.
What is Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is the art of using scents, oils, fragrances to promote healing of the mind and body. The focus here is going to be on essential oils which are becoming more and more popular. Essential Oils are natural, they are extracted from flowers. Leaves. bark or roots of plants. When purchasing oils it is best to make sure you are getting pure essential oils, meaning they have not been diluted with chemicals or other additives.
Essential oils have an immediate effect on our sense of smell. When inhaled, olfactory receptor cells are stimulated and transmitted to the limbic system, the emotional center of our brain. Essential oils can also be used topically and be absorbed through the skin. When used topically the oils find their way into the bloodstream and are transported to the organs and systems of the body.
I typically use oils through my diffuser but I remember my mom using peppermint and eucalyptus in a humidifier. You can use oils in a bath, a bath with lavender can be very relaxing at the end of a long day. Diluting them and putting them in a spray bottle or simply inhaling them from the bottle can give you a benefit.
Lavender sprayed on your pillow at night can help with sleep. Citrus oils like lemon and grapefruit can be invigorating to the senses and brighten the mood. Tea tree oil is a strong scent but is gentle on the skin and can be used for its mild antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the idea of starting to use oils for emotional health and wellness and there is a lot of information out there. So it is important to do some research on the oils you choose, some can be ingested but may need to be diluted, some should only be used topically and may need to be diluted before use, and some work best diffused. Also do some research to be aware of any possible side effects.
Essential oils should be stored in a cool dark place because light can negatively impact their effectiveness.
Essential Oils For Emotional Health
The idea of holistic healing is treating the body mind and spirit. Essential oils work on the body and mind to achieve a deeper healing typically in a gentler way that conventional healing. They can affect the mind by increasing focus or creating a sense of calm. On the body many oils have healing properties, such as antiseptic, antifungal, and even boost immunity. On the spirit level they are used to enhance a level of mindfulness, using the sense of smell will certainly bring you into the present moment. They are wonderful to use to enhance a spiritual practice like meditation or yoga.
1. Lavender – This is probably the most common essential oil. It is considered to be a nervous system restorative and with the benefit of having a calming, relaxing effect. It has been used to help with sleep issues, restlessness and general nervous tension. There have been a number of clinical trials involving the inhalation of lavender essential oil that indicate a reduction in stress and anxiety.
2. Rose – is celebrated for its uplifting aroma and calming property. It is helpful in taking the edge off after a stressful day and has a rejuvenating effect, which can be very helpful in lowering anxiety. It is also known for it’s healing properties on the skin.
3. Ylang Ylang – Both stimulating and calming it is known for increasing a feeling of well-being and as an aid for relaxation. It can both help increase feelings of cheerfulness and its calming effects can help with insomnia.
4. Bergamont – has a calming and balancing effect on mind and body. It has a sweet aroma and is known for its antidepressant qualities. Its fruity aroma enhances well-being.
5. Chamomile – can be used to balance emotions and is also known for its calming properties. It can be used to lower irritability and increase feelings of peacefulness.
6. Rosemary – is helpful for concentrations and focus, it can help to clear the mind and allow you to let go of tension.
7. Clary Sage – This oil is known for its uplifting qualities, it is used to lift depression and calms nerves. It is also helpful in relieving aches and pains, digestion aid and boosts circulation.
8. Vetiver – A not so common oil but a very impactful on when it comes to anxiety. This oil is known for its grounding effect. It is especially useful when feeling overwhelmed and uncertain, it has a strong calming effect that helps lower panicky feelings in times of distress.
9. Frankincense – can be used for depression because of its calming and tranquil properties. It is ideal to use when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, a nice oil for meditation.
Each of these oils individually can assist in the healing process and often a combination of oils can be even more effective. This has been meant to be just a quick overview of some oils that are best suited for emotional healing, calming the body.
Anxiety and depression are tough to face day in and day out, which makes having a natural solution, such as an essential oils to lower stress and feel as though you have some control really helpful.
I would encourage you to pick one oil to start with and use it in a diffuser, if you want to use it topically you will likely need to mix it with fractionated coconut oil or with almond oil. Often oils will irritate the skin if directly rubbed in without being diluted. So do some research to see the best way to proceed.