Published on January 3rd 2024

How to use essential oils to ease stress

#Wellness

#Essential oils

#Stress management

#Aromatherapy

#Holistic health

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How to use essential oils to ease stress

Arpita

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How to use essential oils to ease stress

Table of Contents

What is Aromatherapy ?

Let’s First Understand Essential Oils (EOs)

Where are essential oils extracted from ?

How do I apply essential oils ?

Conclusion

Returning home after a long day at work and unwinding with a lavender bubble bath to soothe the mind. Or, lighting up a refreshing lemon candle as a ritual to start off preparation for a test—we’ve all used essential oils in one way or another!

How to use essential oils to ease stress

What is Aromatherapy ?

Aromatherapy belongs to the discipline of phytotherapy relaxation (i.e., the use of whole or parts of plants for medicinal purposes); it is a long-standing practice of using essential oils to treat illnesses, promote relaxation, and improve the quality of life in general. It promotes emotional and physical well-being.

“Smell is the primordial sense, more powerful, more primitive, and more intimately tied to our memories and emotions than any other. A scent can trigger spiritual, emotional, or physical peace and stimulate healing and wellness.”

Donna Karan, an American fashion designer, formulated the above quote. Her words give us an idea as to why aromatic oils have such a significant association with emotional and mental well-being and even sleep problems.

Let’s First Understand Essential Oils (EOs)

They are *volatile, aromatic compounds found in the oil sacs or glands of different plant parts, such as flowers, leaves, fruit peels, stems, barks, roots, twigs, buds, stalks, etc. They are secondary plant metabolites, *lipophilic in nature, and are made of complex chains of hydrocarbons and their oxygenated derivatives.

[*Volatile means the ability to easily evaporate or change into a gaseous state under normal temperatures. [Any substance that tends to combine or dissolve with lipids or fats is Lipophilic.]

Some popular essential oils include Lavender, Citrus Oils (Neroli and Bergamot), Clary Sage, Sandalwood, Roman Chamomile, Eucalyptus, etc.

Where are essential oils extracted from ?

Essential oils (EO) chosen for aromatherapy extraction have low toxicity profiles, according to reports. If administered by qualified practitioners or used under professional guidance, it was observed that they were safer than conventional drug medications.

But we know that pharmacological or drug medications follow rigid standards. And unfortunately, this isn’t the case in EOs. This could be due to:

  1. Extraction techniques for essential oils are variable across different manufacturers.
  2. Agricultural, storage, and processing factors may affect the content and composition of essential oils.
  3. The dose delivered to each person depends on the mode of administration, volume of oil, temperature, room size, and air flow.

Therefore, complete standardization in the case of essential oils is hard to achieve. But there do exist certain quality-control mechanisms in place, and several manufacturers abide by them to produce controlled extracts of essential oils and maintain consistency similar to pharmaceutical standards.

How do I apply essential oils ?

Do it topically.

Yes, you can apply the essential oils to your skin. But it is highly advised to use carrier oils, such as olive oil, jojoba oil, rose oil, almond oil, or coconut oil, to control the concentration of EOs. This reduces the risk of unwanted irritation or chemical reactions that may happen due to an underlying sensitivity to any EO.

Take the combination of EO and any carrier oil in proper proportions and massage it on your neck, shoulder, and even the sole of your feet. A simultaneous breathing exercise will bring relaxation and calm your mind.

How to use essential oils to ease stress

Caution

  • Always start with a small patch test on your skin.
  • Even if things go well, you still need to use essential oils in moderation. Why? Because they are absorbed into your skin and reach the bloodstream.
  • A general rule of thumb that all professionals recommend is to keep the concentration level of essential oils below 5 percent. The message is to dilute it wisely !
  • Pay attention to their purity, dosage, and application method.
  • Each essential oil comes with its own guidelines. So, ALWAYS DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

Direct inhalation also works.

If you don’t want the essential oils to come into contact with your skin yet, you can buy an essential oil inhaler easily available on the market. It looks pretty close to a lip balm container and can be a perfect mood-lifter for you on the go.

Or, think when you are sitting at your office desk and your mind is congested with all sorts of deadlines and unfinished work. Just take out your inhaler, wave it in front of your nose, and bingo! The pleasant whiffs of the stress relief oils compose you instantly.

We are not saying the essential oils do some cryptic magic and flip your situation entirely. But recent studies have given conceivable evidence that some of their many benefits include alleviation of stress, bolstering concentration, and improving overall cognitive performance and emotional well-being.

Diffusing the essence of essential oils into the air.

Kristin Parks, a licensed massage therapist (holding a BCTMB) at Parkview Center for Healthy Living, recommends,

“Go for a cool mist diffuser and initially have 15–30 minute sessions at a time. The great advantage of using a diffuser is that you just have to breathe in the aromatic vapors that it emits, and you can enjoy the full benefits of essential oils without much effort. Yes, you don’t have to apply them to your skin if you don’t want to. Also, let’s say, for some reason, the smell of the essential oil doesn’t favor your mind as you expected. In this case, you can easily dump it out and start fresh.”

How to use essential oils to ease stress

How about setting up a romantic dinner for your partner and having a darling diffuser near your table? It will fill the air in your surroundings with happy, mood-uplifting scents.

Caution

  • Follow the specific diffusion guidelines that are prescribed for each essential oil. Talk to a professional if you feel the need to consult one.
  • Ensure that you are diffusing in a well-ventilated area.
  • Tisserand Institute advises to diffuse intermittently, i.e., "30–60 minutes on, then 30–60 minutes off.” It states that continuous diffusion doesn’t mean one will reap more benefits from essential oils. On the contrary, there is some evidence that the body may get overly stressed.

A bath with essential oils feels like heaven!

Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, and CNS, has a special recipe for a soul-revitalizing bath with essential oils. For that,

  • You need ¾ cups of Epsom salt and ¼ cups of baking soda
  • Hot water to fill the bathtub (the water should not burn your skin)
  • Sprinkle 10 drops of Lavender oil (or a combination of 5 drops Lavender oil and 5 drops Juniper Berry oil)
  • Note that the Epsom salt baking soda prevents the stress relief oils from floating on the water surface and helps your body absorb them.
How to use essential oils to ease stress

Next time you wish to use essential oils to relieve stress, just take BATH!

There are other methods too.

Put a couple of drops on a cotton ball and place it near you in front of a fan or in a car vent while driving. If you are lying down, best apply a few drops to the pillow’s edges or put the cotton ball slightly soaked with EOs in the pillow case.

Kristin Parks, from the Parkview Center for Healthy Living, once wrote that her kids have sensitive skin, and she often makes a nighttime lotion for them. She takes 1 cup of pure coconut oil in the mixer and whips it till it becomes soft and thin. Then she mixes a few drops of essential oil, like lavender, and puts the mixture in a glass jar. She applies the lotion to her kids after they have spent adequate time in warm water. The heat opens up the pores, and the body absorbs the mixture efficiently.

How to use essential oils to ease stress

Conclusion

Keeping a healthy body and mind is paramount to avoiding physical and mental health-related issues. Using essential oils to relieve anxiety and migraines, boost physical, mental, and emotional energy, and induce calming sensations are among a few of the many benefits of EOs—they are definitely worth giving a try!

Dr. Sangeeta Hatila Cropped.jpg

By Dr. Sangeeta Hatila

Consultant Neuro-Psychiatrist, De-addiction Specialist, Psycho-Therapist, and Sexologist

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