If you are no stranger to anxiety, whether you experience it on a regular basis or just occasionally, you might have considered exploring essential oils. They certainly smell incredible and can be enjoyable to experience around the house and incorporated into bath and body care. In addition to their amazing aromas, they can also have a really positive effect on the nervous system.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated fragrant plant extracts. For some plants, it can take a lot of plant material to extract a small amount of essential oil. As an example, it takes about 220 pounds of lavender flowers to make just 16 ounces of lavender essential oil. This makes them very concentrated and powerful.
Aromatherapy is the practice of inhaling the scent of essential oils to improve your well-being. It is a practice that has been used for thousands of years by people looking for anxiety relief as well as overall health and wellness.
One theory of how they work is that by stimulating the smell receptors in your nose, they can send messages to your nervous system. They are also thought to have a subtle effect on the body’s chemical and energy systems. Because of this, aromatherapy is often used as a natural remedy to relieve anxiety and stress.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate essential oils, so that means you should be cautious in your practice. Focus on using therapeutic-grade oils that don’t contain synthetic fragrance.
How to use essential oils
Essential oils cannot be used directly on the skin. They need to be used with a carrier oil before they’re applied to the skin. This reduces your risk of irritation. For adults, every 15 drops of essential oil should be diluted with 1 ounce of carrier oil. Some good carrier oils are almond, coconut, and jojoba. Use of essential oils in children should be under the supervision of their health care provider. For children, the mixture is much more diluted with a general ratio of 3 to 6 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil. Some essential oils are not recommended for use by children at all, so research the oil you are interested in before using with children.
Essential oils should never be ingested, despite claims on the internet that suggest otherwise. There’s not enough research on any one essential oil to prove it’s safe to swallow. Each essential oil is very different, and some are toxic. Some great ways to use essential oils include adding a few drops to your bath water, spray some onto your pillow, or apply topically onto the skin. I also really like to use essential oils in a diffuser. In a diffuser, you don’t need a carrier oil, as you add a few drops to water in the diffuser. In fact, you don’t want carrier oils in your diffuser because they will gum up the works. If using a diffuser to disperse the aroma of the essential oils into the air, you want to use straight essential oils that are not mixed with carrier oils. Diffusers are one of my favorite ways to use essential oils, as they can fill the whole room or house with a lovely aroma. I also make aromatherapy soaps with essential oils, and I love this method as well.
Here are 8 essential oils to try for relieving anxiety:
Lavender is the most popular of all essential oils. This wonder scent can help ease anxiety and stress, so much so that researchers at the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Trust used it on patients in the intensive care unit. Several studies have shown that it can be hugely beneficial to patients who are sleep deprived.
Inhaling rose oil promotes calmness and reduces any tension that you may be feeling; it’s often recommended to those who are grieving or depressed.
Popular in India and Sri Lanka, Vetiver essential oil has a sweet, smoky scent that’s similar to sandalwood essential oil. It can help alleviate emotional stress, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Sandalwood essential oil has become very difficult to obtain and can be very expensive, making vetiver a more attractive woody oil.
Ylang Ylang Oil
This tropical scent is both calming and uplifting. It is a great essential oil to use if you want to boost your emotional wellbeing. It can reduce your blood pressure and has mild sedative qualities too.
Frankincense has a rich, warm aroma. It can lift your mood, boost the oxygen supply to your brain and stimulate the limbic system, helping to bring your emotions back into balance. This is a favorite in our house.
With a sweet floral scent similar to roses, geranium oil can help support emotions by creating a calming and grounding effect
This essential oil has been used for centuries to help reduce anxiety symptoms. Studies have shown that Jasmine can stimulate your brain to improve your mood and energy levels. It can also calm your nervous system.
Try massaging chamomile oil (not directly) onto your skin or inhaling it when you’re feeling anxious or have a headache. It has a slightly herby aroma and you’ll no doubt think of chamomile tea as you breathe it in. Note that some people may be allergic to chamomile oil. This may be more likely if you’re allergic to plants related to chamomile such as daisies, ragweed, or marigolds.
What are your favorite essential oils? How do you like using them? If you are interested in checking out some of my handmade artisan soaps made with essential oils, check out http://balancesoap.com.
Sources www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0025082/ www.medscape.com/viewarticle/818879 www.absoluteessential.com/healing-and-immunity/natural-support-for-heartache,-loss-and-grief.aspx www.draxe.com/vetiver-oil/ www.healthyfocus.org/ylang-ylang-essential-oil-benefits/ www.calmer-you.com/five-essential-oils-for-anxiety/ www.naturallivingideas.com/9-essential-oils-for-hormonal-imbalance-how-to-use-them/ www.researchgate.net/publication/236235613_The_effects_of_jasmine_Oil_inhalation_on_brain_wave_activies_and_emotions www.consciouslifestylemag.com/best-essential-oils-for-anxiety-and-stress/