|Posted by Gwen Williams on July 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM|
Fragrances can move us, bring back memories, improve memory, give us courage and change our mood to help us feel more positive, energized, happy, relaxed, aroused, sleepy or creative. Essential oils activate the olfactory system (sense of smell) to trigger the brain and affect mechanisms for mood or healing. When used therapeutically, aromatherapy is considered a form of alternative medicine.
Essential oils come from natural sources, mostly plants that are either cold pressed, distilled or extracted into a solvent. Quality is important and they must be pure if you want to gain therapeutic affects (synthetic scents are not beneficial). They are expensive but you only need a few drops at a time. Make sure the oils are in a dark bottle that carries the Latin name, the common name, the supplier name, the country of origin, “organic” and any other additive or oils, if diluted.
Unlike chemical synthetic scents, essential oils do not have negative side effects. They are very balancing. However safety is important. For topical application on the skin, dilute the oil in a carrier (another oil, cream), do not over use one oil, don’t ingest them, don’t put them in your eyes and keep them away from children. Also look at any precautions on the bottle because some fruit based oils can increase sensitivities to light.
There are a number of oils that are exceptionally good for relieving anxiety, stress and depression. Bergamot is my first choice for depression, anxiety and nervous tension while Lavender is my favourite aroma for calming and balancing emotional extremes. If you want to increase mental stamina and improve concentration, add Basil or Black Pepper. To help you feel more grounded, less irritable or anxious, add Fir, Black Spruce or Marjoram. Fir and Black Spruce also help with respiratory issues. Marjoram can be sedating and also eases joint pain. Neroli and Roman Chamomile are very relaxing and can help with sleep. Neroli also inspires confidence and is an aphrodisiac.
To improve your outlook on the world, some of the oils can do this by balancing the emotions in addition to relieving stress. Cardamom and Orange remind us of life’s abundance and combat negative thinking. Lemon, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Tangerine and Jasmine are happy oils and are great revitalizers and stimulants. Elemi and Spearmint are calming. Spikenard is very calming (sedating). Clary Sage is good for panic attacks but has estrogenic action. Tangerine and Grapefruit are also good to enhance weight loss.
We feel stressed when there is too much to do, things are not going as expected or as planned, we are not doing what we want to do, or we don’t know what we want. Depression, a gloomy outlook, overwhelming feelings of irritability, guilt, sadness, unworthiness or hopelessness can be more deep-seated, temporary or chronic. Many people suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. You are not alone. Essential oils, acupuncture and herbal therapy can help but also be sure to reach out to someone, see an MD or talk to a therapist, if your condition affects and interferes with your daily life.