Aromatherapy for stress is a method that is gaining in popularity and for good reason. Many people find that using natural, completely organic essential oils is far preferable to putting potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals into their bodies. This way they can relieve the tension and stress they are feeling and promote a sense of calm and relaxation without having to worry about possible side effects or even chemical dependency.
Aromatherapy is an ancient practice, used as far back as ancient Egypt for bathing and healing. In the U.S. today one of the most common applications of aromatherapy is for stress relief. That's because stress has become such a pervasive problem in our increasingly hectic, tension filled daily lives. The more we are exposed to stress, the more it can negatively affect our health, hindering digestion, preventing proper immune system function and increasing the likelihood of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Doctors list stress as a contributing factor in any number of medical issues and the routine response is to prescribe some sort of medication to bring relief. While these medications can be effective, they are not without their dangers, including, in many cases, the possibility of becoming addictive. This is why aromatherapy for stress has become such an important alternative.
In aromatherapy the scent of essential oils is inhaled either directly or using a diffuser of some sort or the oils can be applied directly to the skin. Most aromatherapy practitioners advocate using only completely natural oils rather than synthetic, as synthetics can contain chemical preservatives and don't provide the same level of relief as natural oils. Specific essential oils used for stress relief include geranium, peppermint, lavender, jasmine, chamomile and lemongrass.
Maksim Šmeljov / stock.adobe.com
Maksim Šmeljov / stock.adobe.com
When practicing aromatherapy for stress, the scent of natural essential oils enters the nostrils and affects the limbic system, the area of the brain that helps control emotions and behavior. When this happens, the brain naturally slows down and a feeling of calm and relaxation is produced. This can be further enhanced for stress relief by combining essential oils and relaxing massage.
Massage is a stress relieving technique in and of itself, helping to relieve tension in the muscles and joints through gentle manipulation. Adding essential oils to the equation serves to enhance the experience even more as their soothing scent combined with the physical relieving of tension can bring about a deep sense of relaxation.
If you do opt to use aromatherapy for stress it is very important to make sure that you use the essential oils correctly. These oils are highly concentrated and can irritate the skin if applied directly without some sort of benign carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil. You can also apply essential oil to pillows, blankets or other fabrics, allowing you to breathe in the scent that way. This can be particularly helpful for enhancing sleep.
If, like so many people, you find stress is a problem for you then perhaps aromatherapy might be something you should consider trying. It's a safe, gentle, natural way to melt your stress away and help you to feel happier, calmer and more relaxed. So don't let stress get the better of you when the soft scent of essential oils can have you feeling better in no time.