Stress and anxiety are perfectly natural responses to prepare us mentally and physically for demanding situations, and can be really helpful in spurring us on to deal with a challenging circumstance or even a task that needs completing. However, there are times when these feelings become all-consuming and we need to find ways to help calm our mind and body.
Aromatherapy is one of the many ways that can help alleviate these feelings and enhance your personal wellness. It is a holistic therapy using essential oils to maintain and promote wellbeing of the mind, body and spirit and works harmoniously alongside other de-stressing techniques such as meditation, yoga or simple relaxion exercises.
Essential oils are derived from different parts of plants, including the flowers, branches, leaves or fruits. The chemical composition of essential oils has proven to have healing properties through scientific research. These oils can also be blended together to create new scents and different therapeutic benefits.
Essential oils can be used in lots of ways…
Massage with essential oils combined with a carrier oil is probably the most important and effective method, as it combines the powerful effect of human touch. Obviously, it’s not possible to book in for a massage right now, however, at Scents Of Spirit, we make bespoke essential oil blends for 30ml, 50ml and 100ml and prices start at £6, but this is dependent on which oils we use, as the cost of individual oils can vary hugely. Maybe you could persuade a family member or housemate to have a massage-swap? Otherwise, massaging the oil into your own skin is still incredibly beneficial.
Aromatic baths are probably the second best way to use essential oils. Use 6-10 drops of essential oils mixed into 1 tablespoon of either liquid soap, shampoo, shower gel or a vegetable oil before adding to the bath. Remember to add the oils after you've run the bath, so they don't evaporate before you get in, and make sure the water isn't too hot, as this can be far too stimulating.
Vaporise 2-4 drops of essential oils in a diffuser or burner.
If you are having trouble sleeping, just before bed try putting 2 or 3 drops of Lavender on a tissue inside your pillowcase.
Steam inhalation is really effective for respiratory complaints. Simply add 2-3 drops of essential oil to a bowl of very hot water. Drape a towel over your head, breath in the steam for 1-2 minutes and repeat 2-4 times daily.
Please note that essential oils must not be used neat on the skin and must not be used internally, so do not ingest. When trying a new oil mixed with a carrier, it’s generally best to test it on a small patch on your skin first to make sure there is no allergic reaction.
There are many essential oils that can be helpful in times of stress and anxiety, we have listed 10 of our favourite calming or uplifting oils below that we often use in our treatments with our clients. You can use the oils individually, or we often combine 2 or 3 essential oils to complement each other’s scent and maximise the benefits…..
Has many therapeutic properties, but most associated with its sedative ability to calm the nerves and ease restlessness, soothes and relaxes. It is also well known for improving sleep quality. ‘When deep sadness covers the spirit like a suffocating blanket, lavender gently lifts the weight. When inner tears fall, lavender wipes them away. When depression clouds the psyche, lavender blows it asunder. And for those with worries that trouble the spirit, lavender lifts the veil of despair.’ (Worwood, The Fragrant Heavens).
One of the gentlest oils. Soothing, calming and antidepressant. Beneficial where anxiety and stress is causing fretfulness, irritability or nervousness. Gardeners may also be interested to learn….. ‘that nothing contributes so much to the health of a garden as a number of chamomile herbs dispersed about it, and that if another plant is drooping and sickly, in nine cases out of ten, it will recover if you place a herb of chamomile near it’. (Grieve, A Modern Herbal). A fabulous insight into chamomile’s healing qualities!
One of the best essential oils to calm and stabilize the heart and mind. Helps to ease mental and emotional tension. Fischer-Rizzi refers to neroli as a ‘rescue remedy’ of essential oils: ‘Neroli offers the gift of strength and courage that helps us see life’s beauty.’
A cheery, warming, uplifting oil. Has a mildly sedative and antidepressant effect. Useful for anxiety, nervousness and if you’re taking life too seriously. Oils from the orange tree such as orange, neroli and petitgrain are all lovely warm and cheery oils that can't help but lift your mood, so fabulous to use if you have any of those.
Helps us to relax, calm and let go, yet has a joyous effect and lifts the spirits and cheer our soul.
Known for strengthening the heart in periods of high stress, grief and depression.
Has a profound ability to calm and centre the mind, both gently tranquilizing and deeply clarifying, it ceases mental chatter and stills the mind.
Provides comfort, warmth and strength. Calms the mind, gives clarity and promotes emotional security. Reduces anxiety, fearfulness and excessive thinking. ‘Cedarwood can give us immovable strength in times of crisis’. (Mojay, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit)
A grounding oil, and it stabilizes the mind when overthinking and worry develop. It calms, yet gently stimulates, which results in a feeling of uplift. Worwood states, ‘Patchouli will remind us that sitting quietly under a tree is good if there is purpose in it – the purpose of knowing and appreciating’ (The Fragrant Heavens).
We just had to give the indulgent and deeply-scented Jasmine a mention and absolutely love this quote from Fischer-Rizzi (Complete aromatherapy handbook), when she states that no other essential oil is capable of changing our mood so intensely and that it offers little choice other than optimism. She explains that the fragrance penetrates the deepest layers of our soul, opening the doors to our emotions
We hope this has given you a little taste of the benefits of aromatherapy and how to incorporate it into your life to help manage stress and anxiety. Always choose the oils that you are drawn to the most, as these will be the ones that your body needs the most.
If you are interested in trying essential oils, we have some aromatherapy products such as oils blends, shower gels and candles, that we have created and made ourselves, and are all available from our neighbouring shop, Love & Joy Home, based at The Fairground Craft Centre, Weyhill, or we now have our own online shop so you can place your order here. During this time we are offering a local delivery service to everyone living in the postcode areas SP10 & SP11 for just £1. We will be making deliveries once a week, either on a Thursday or a Friday, so order by Wednesday afternoon to be guaranteed delivery that week.
As we are both trained Aromatherapists, we also offer a consultation service and can make bespoke aromatherapy blends just for you and your particular needs. If you are interested in this or would just like to know more, please contact us. You can find all our contact details here. We are also happy to deliver our bespoke products.