During troubled times such as these most people are suffering from higher levels of anxiety that usual. Aromatherapy can be very useful in helping people to cope with anxiety, in a variety of different ways. Many of us have experienced the link between smell and emotions. This is because the (olfactory) nerve that detects aromatic molecules has a direct line to the limbic system, the primitive part of the brain that controls emotions and hormone balance. Do you ever get a positive (or negative) reaction to an aroma? For me the smell of fish and chips brings back happy childhood memories, and smelling a rose immediately makes me feel relaxed and euphoric.
So let’s apply this to actual use of essential oils. There are several ways of achieving the relaxing effect of aromatic oils. For example diffusers such as oil burners and reed diffusers; topical use in creams/lotions and through massage; use in the bath or in shower gels and soaps. There are many essential oils that are really good for dispelling anxiety.
- Bergamot – often the first choice in aromatherapy when dealing with depression. It has a lovely delicate spicy citrus aroma, and is very uplifting and refreshing.
- Clary Sage – a calming and uplifting essential oil, one of the best for anxiety and panic attacks. It has a strong nutty earthy herbal aroma.
- Frankincense – a deeply calming and strengthening essential oil, one of the best for calming the body and mind, and also for rejuvenating aging skin. It has a penetrating woody spicy slightly camphorous aroma.
- Geranium – a very calming and balancing essential oil, one of the best oils for nervous fatigue, anxiety, and restlessness. It has a fresh floral aroma with a hint of mint or ‘greenness’.
- Grapefruit – an uplifting, calming, euphoric essential oil, an excellent air antiseptic and said to ‘take one to paradise’. It has a lovely fresh sharp citrus aroma.
- Lavender – one of the most versatile essential oils, effective and safe to use for many conditions. It has a complex sweet floral aroma with a slightly spicy fruity note, and is balancing, calming, and cheering.
- Lime – reviving, uplifting, and refreshing, a good choice for anxiety, depression, and mental fatigue. It has a lovely fresh sweet citrus aroma.
- Sweet Marjoram – a deeply calming and balancing essential oil, an excellent choice for calming the nervous system in cases of deep emotional trauma or hyperactivity. It has a warm herbal peppery aroma with a hint of camphor.
- Neroli (Orange Blossom) – very calming and revitalising, an excellent choice for countering emotional upset and trauma, and also for rejuvenating aging skin. It has a beautiful intense floral aroma, with a hint of citrus.
- Sweet Orange – cleansing, uplifting, and warming, a good choice for digestive problems and nervous tension. It has a lingering rich fruity aroma.
- Rose – a calming, balancing, and strengthening essential oil, excellent for increasing confidence and anxiety and depression. It has a sweet yet refreshing heavenly floral aroma.
- Ylang Ylang – a calming, balancing, and cooling essential oil, excellent for shock, trauma, panic, and well known for restless sleep or legs. It has an intense sweet heavy floral aroma. Used alone it can be quite overpowering, however blended with oils such as Grapefruit and Sweet Marjoram it smells gorgeously tropical.
One of the best ways of immersing yourself in beautiful aromas is to use a diffuser such as an essential oil burner or reed diffuser. One of the reasons I love burners is because you can easily vary the intensity of the aroma by adding more or less drops of oil to the water in the bowl. Plus many burners are beautiful ornaments in their own right, even more so when the tea light is lit. You do of course have to keep an eye on it though so something like a reed diffuser is useful when you want a lovely background aroma that you can just leave to work its magic. Check out my essential oil burners, oil blends to use in them, and reed diffusers.
I love being able to use a cream or lotion that is not only good for your skin but smells good too. It’s a lovely way to give yourself a boost. Have a look at my skin care products for some aromatic inspiration. Massage oils have an obvious use, but are also great for some intense overnight moisturising anywhere on the body. Pick an oil that will relax you and apply a couple of hours before you go to bed to allow the oil to sink in a little.
Aromatherapy shower gels are a fabulous way of experiencing lovely natural aromas. Depending on your mood you can choose the shower gel that helps you start the day with a zing or indulge in pure relaxation.
Essential oil candles are another great way of immersing yourself in aromas. Lit candles are always so relaxing, and when you add lovely aromas into the mix you have yourself a chill zone!
Any essential oil or blend you fancy can be used when you want a nice long relaxing soak in the bath. As oils don’t mix well with water it’s a good idea to mix your chosen essential oils with a teaspoon of honey (which acts as an emulsifier) and then dissolve that mixture in the bath water.
I do hope you enjoy using essential oils, they’re such a fantastic natural way of helping you feel better.