Essential oils are used for aromatherapy and are purported to have a variety of benefits. One such benefit is an improvement in mental and emotional well-being. Some essential oils have even been shown in the research to have the potential to relieve anxiety, and produce the same calming effects as synthetic medications, without the harmful side effects. The use of the following essential oils to relieve stress could be beneficial in alleviating symptoms of anxiety.
Lavender is known for its soothing scent and calming properties. Lavender can help to relieve tension, reduce irritability and improve sleep. In 2012, a study in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand found that when subjects inhaled lavender oil, their blood pressure and heart rate decreased. They also rated themselves as feeling more relaxed than did subjects who inhaled an unscented base oil.
Sweet Orange Oil
The essential oil of sweet orange could also calm the body’s physiological processes. It fights anxiety and nervous tension, improves your mood and enhances concentration. Researchers for a 2007 publication of the International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics found that after sweet orange oil was applied to the skin, people experienced a decrease in arousal, as evidenced by a reduction in pulse and breathing rate. Subjects also felt more cheerful after exposure to the orange oil.
Lemon oil could reduce your anxiety, especially if you are faced with a stressful situation such as taking an exam. It enhances mental alertness and focus due to its uplifting properties. In a 2014 study in Alternative and Complementary Therapies, nursing students who took an exam in a room with diffused lemon oil experienced less anxiety than subjects in a control group did.
Taking time to literally stop and smell the roses could provide you with relief from anxiety. Researchers for a 2009 edition of Natural Product Communications analyzed the impact of rose oil applied to the skin. They found that subjects exposed to the rose oil experienced decreases in blood pressure and breathing rate, and they reported feeling calmer and more relaxed than individuals in a control group did.
Ylang Ylang Oil
Ylang Ylang is another essential oil that has the potential to reduce anxiety. It has a calming effect on the mind, alleviates stress and helps to relieve premenstrual tension. In a 2006 study in Phytotherapy Research, scientists studied the relationship between ylang ylang oil and anxiety. They found that after ylang ylang oil was applied to the skin, it caused a decrease in blood pressure, and subjects reported feeling calmer and more relaxed.
How to use
If you are new to using aromatherapy and wondering how to use these oils, there are several methods for you to try:
Direct skin application
The easiest way to use essential oils is to apply them directly to the skin. You will first need to dilute it with a carrier oil such as olive, jojoba, coconut or almond oil. Failure to do so may result in skin irritation or other adverse reactions, as these substances are highly concentrated
A carrier oil will also allow you to cover a larger area of skin and will allow for quicker skin absorption. A general guideline is 1 drop of oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
Use an oil diffuser
Oil diffusers are an easy method of inhalation that will scent an entire room and last for several hours. A fine mist is created and dispensed using water, air and ultrasonic vibrations. The water in a diffuser does not heat up. You should not place essential oils in a regular humidifier. The oil will set on top of the water rather than diffusing with the steam and potentially damage your machine.
Place 1-2 drops of oil in a bowl of steaming water. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam. It is best to close your eyes while doing this to avoid irritating your eyes.
Add to bath water
The best way to use essential oils in your bath water is to combine them with a carrier oil or to combine 5 drops of oil to 1 cup of Epsom salts. The bath salts have the added benefit of detoxing your body. Oil will not dissolve correctly if it is added directly to water by itself and may potentially irritate your skin. Lavender oil works especially well for this purpose.
Salt bowl method
Add 10 drops of essential oil to 1/4 cup of Epsom salt in a bowl. Place it next to your bed while you sleep.
By using the essential oils discussed here, and you might find that you feel less anxious and more relaxed. You can purchase essential oils in drug stores or health food stores, or you can order them online. As always, consult with your doctor if you have concerns about your health, as the information in this article should not be substituted for advice from a medical professional
Which essential oil are you going to try? Please comment below.