Stress is a major factor affecting the lives of many people today and recent years has seen a rise in stress across all spheres of life. Our ability to cope with the demands placed on us and our ability to cope can determine the effect stress can have on our health, leading to physical, mental and emotional illness.
How can Aromatherapy help?
Identifying methods that reduce the effects of stress has been the focus of much research and recent years has seen the use of Aromatherapy becoming increasingly popular for clinical treatment and therapeutic management of both acute and chronic stress (Schneider, 2015).
Aromatherapy is based on the use of essential oils and can be defined as a branch of alternative medicine that utilizes pure essential oils (extracted from plant material) to balance, harmonize and promote the health of a person on a holistic level.
Essential Oils act on the nervous system, which is the system most easily disturbed in our modern world and studies have shown that inhalation of certain essential oils such as Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ) can have an immediate effect of relieving and preventing stress related symptoms.
Using Essential oils won’t make you change your diet or take up exercise or even force you to get out into the fresh air and sunshine, but, they can help counteract some of the effects of stress. Essential oils can provide a simple method of taking care of yourself, while also being beneficial in helping reduce the symptoms of stress including adrenal fatigue, mental fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and anxiety as well as symptoms that are associated with the build-up of muscular tension.
Cleanse & purify the home or work environment by using antibacterial and antiviral oils that help ward off illness, the sedative, relaxant, antidepressant and/or cephalic components of essential oils can help relax, de-stress, revive and uplift you.
There are many different methods of using essential oils – here a just a few
Inhalation via Electric Oil Vaporisers/Diffusers are safe and very effective for therapeutic purposes within a home or office space and will disperse your chosen blend within minutes. Follow instructions for your diffuser and select one essential oil or a blend of essential oils and add 4 – 8 drops (depending on room size). Please see link for diffusing safely guidelines – http://tisserandinstitute.org/learn-more/diffusion-guidelines-2/.
Please also note there is a need to consider pets in household, especially cats, ensure your pets have an exit point, keep dilution low and check contra indications of essential oils before diffusing.
An individual Aromatic pulse blend (roll on bottle) is a great way of using Essential oils combined with jojoba or sweet almond oils as a base oil. You can massage into the temple, forehead and pulse points. Add 5 drops of chosen blend of essential oils to 10ml of your chosen base/carrier oil, ensure you check contra indications of essential oils’ before using.
Aroma Inhalers Remember the old Vicks inhalers? Now you can have your own therapeutic inhalers using pure essential oils. Using an aroma inhaler has been shown to directly stimulate the olfactory system and reduce the effects of the sympathetic nervous system rapidly, therefore making it useful in relieving stress in a timely manner. (Schneider, 2015) Aroma Inhalers are easy to use and can be refreshed by adding more of your chosen blend to the cotton insert. Carry them in your purse, pocket, bag or when you travel. Use them for headaches, to help calm down, to stay healthy, relaxed and much more.
Aromatherapy Massage works mainly on the nervous system, in a physical sense as well as emotionally, it is relaxing and can help ease stress in the body and mind. Aromatherapy massage aims to promote and maintain health and your Aromatherapy practitioner will work with you to determine a treatment plan to achieve the best outcome for you, they will look at therapeutic actions and essentials that most suit your needs.
**When choosing a method of delivery, it is prudent to ask – is it appropriate for the person, their age and condition? What dilution is required? are there contra indications? ie allergies
Note: Do not ingest Essential Oils, Do not use them undiluted on the skin or in a bath and ALWAYS check contra indications before using any essential oil or consult with a qualified Aromatherapist. Essential oils are highly concentrated and a little goes a long way. Less is more!
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Eileen Mallard is a qualified Aromatherapist and Aromatic Medicine Practitioner and qualified trainer. She runs her own DIY workshops – soap making, skincare and various essential oils workshops. She makes a range of cruelty free skincare and essential oils blends.
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Better Health Channel. (2014, September). Retrieved March 12, 2017, from www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/stress.
Jettinghoff, Houtman. (n.d.). Word Health Organisation. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from www.who.int/occupational_health/publications/raisingawarenessofstress.
Sal Battaglia, The Complete Guid to Aromatherapy,2nd Edition (2003). QLD. Chapter 21
Rainer Schneider, Direct Application of Specially Formulated Scent Com (S, 2003) positions (AromaStick®) Prolongs Attention and Enhances Visual Scanning Speed, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2016, 30, 4, 650
Tisserand Institute.Org. Diffusion Guidelines; 2018