As holistic health becomes more mainstream, the use of essential oils, which are oils extracted from plants and flowers, are growing in popularity. Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential oils for health and well-being. Essential oils can be used for skincare, rashes, cleaning products, and to help with moods, including stress relief. Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed their resources. It’s what we feel when we think we’ve lost control of events. While some stress is necessary, unmanaged stress has been shown to lead to or exacerbate heart disease, asthma, obesity, and depression.
Essential oils work by stimulating olfactory (smell) receptor cells in the brain. Using aromatherapy to soothe the body after a stressful experience, can help to change how the brain responds at that moment.
Many essential oils help with stress relief. Here are my favorites:
This versatile oil is a favorite amongst many because of its pleasant, floral aroma. It induces relaxation and is excellent for insomnia. It is also beneficial for pain relief and has anti-inflammatory properties. This oil is ideal for people who are experiencing physical pain along with stress.
How to Use
- Aromatherapy candles
- Flameless electronic diffuser for home or office
- Lavender massage lotion
Lemongrass is used in both culinary and pain-relieving preparations in Southeast Asia. Lemongrass leaves are used in Thai herbal compresses. These compresses are used for both physical and emotional pain relief. Its pleasant scent helps relax the body, and useful for those with insomnia.
How to Use
- For insomnia: 2 Drops on a cotton ball and place under pillow
- Car diffuser: This connects the cigarette lighter in your car and disperses the scent you add.
- Add 1 drop per ounce of lotion and massage into skin
Peppermint is an excellent essential oil to use if you are experiencing mental fatigue and exhaustion due to stress. Its scent is uplifting and can help motivate you to get the job done!
How to Use
- Add a few drops to a piece of cloth. Carry it with you and breathe into the fabric when you need a little pick me up.
- Steam Inhalation: Boil 2 cups of water. Carefully, pour the water into a bowl. Gradually add the essential oil, one drop at a time. Around 3-7 drops should do but use your discretion. Inhale from about 12″ away from the bowl. Take a few breaths in at a time. Stop if you notice any irritation or discomfort.
- Add 1 drop per ounce of jojoba oil and massage into skin
Here are a few words of caution:
Just because essential oils are natural, does not mean that they are safe in every instance. They can be dangerous if not used correctly.
- Some essential oils may not be safe for those who have epilepsy, are currently pregnant, or breastfeeding. Check with your healthcare provider to see which essential oils are safe for you.
- If you plan on using essential oils on your skin, do not use without diluting in a carrier. A carrier medium is a base used to dilute the essential oil to make it safer to use. Common carriers are olive oil, unscented lotion, and shea butter. Even after diluting essential oils in a carrier, test on a small patch of skin to make sure you aren’t allergic.
- Phototoxicity, or photosensitization, is a reaction caused when essential oils on the skin are exposed to UV light – whether from the sun or a tanning bed. Reactions can be severe, and even permanent.
Yours in Health,
If you are looking for someone with massage therapy expertise, who also is familiar with which essential oils to use for stress reduction look no further! I’m Ellie Dukes, Licensed Massage Therapist-specializing in prenatal and oncology massage therapy for 12 years. Visit me at Trinity Massage Haven in Blue Bell PA. Schedule your appointment today at 267-584-3015 or click here to book.