Your most primitive sense is your sense of smell. Smells can invoke memories and feelings. Smells can turn you off or on, uplift you or bring you down! Aromatherapy is the art of essential oils. Studies show that using the olfactory properties of plant essences can be beneficial for your mood, your sleep, and your stress levels.
Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils contain volatile compounds, which offer healing benefits. Only a very small amount is needed. Often a few drops in a carrier oil like coconut or almond oils is recommended since they are so potent.
What is interesting about essential oils is that they have a particularly synergistic quality, which means that when used in combination they can have a much more powerfully beneficial effect than when used singly.
Here are some of the most common oils, which are known to reduce anxiety, calm the nervous system, elevate mood, induce relaxation or sleep, or any combination of the above.
- Lavender is known as the “Queen of essential oils.” It is primarily known as a relaxant. A few drops of the oil on your pillow at night will help you sleep more soundly.
- Chamomile can help relax your nervous system and aid with a nervous digestion and problems of anxiety and insomnia. Roman chamomile and German chamomile are the two different types of chamomile although they have similar properties.
- Bergamot is the oil traditionally used in Earl grey tea, because of its calming and relaxing characteristics. It has sedative, antidepressant and digestive properties.
- Peppermint has a cooling and calming effect and can be used to reduce tension headaches. A few drops in your bath will help you feel cool, relaxed, and energised again. Peppermint can help alleviate nervous indigestion and other stress-related digestive issues. It has been shown to help with insomnia and can be used to balance the mind if you feel lethargic, apathetic or your mind is dull.
- Rose is used to destress and is known to be beneficial during times of sadness and grief. It can be used for insomnia, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD.
- Sandalwood comes from the heartwood of the evergreen tree of the same name. Its main benefits are in calming the mind, reducing anxiety, depression, stress, and fear.
- Sweet Orange Oil. Sweet orange oil helps bring about a positive outlook and contributes to emotional stability. It provides an uplifting aroma to use in conjunction with other oils and can help ward off the winter blues.
- Geranium Oil. This oil has been found to uplift the mood, improve sleep, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
- Cedarwood has an earthy, woodsy aroma and is a deeper note than some of the other oils mentioned here. It has sedative properties and encourages the production of serotonin and melatonin, helping elevate your mood and induce restful sleep. It relieves tension, stress, inflammation, and muscle pain, all of which will help improve your mood.
- Patchouli is an anti-depressant as well as a sedative. It stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine so feelings like anger, anxiety, and sadness disappear and promotes a feeling of well-being.
Patchouli and Cedarwood both have a deeper “note” than the other oils discussed here and so they would make a good base note for a blend. You can use your intuition when making a blend.
Trust your nose!
Remember to use a carrier oil with aromatherapy, so you can place directly on the skin or in the bath. Otherwise, you can use the neat oils in a diffuser. This is just a small selection of possible oils, which can help you with your emotional health.
The world of aromatherapy is vast and possibilities are wide. There are many resources if you wish to discover more. The links below can help you get started.