Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to bring about emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing. Used properly, inhaling or applying essential oils to the skin can bring about a sense of calmness and improve our emotional wellbeing. Practices like using essential oils for stress management can be a really great complement to your daily maintenance kit, to make sure you are taken care of inside and out.
The limbic system is responsible for controlling our heart rate, blood pressure, memory, stress levels, breathing, and hormone balance. When we feel stressed, it can be beneficial to breathe in particular essential oils known for their relaxing, therapeutic effects. Each oil has a unique chemical composition that supports a different system of the body. When we inhale a scent through our nose, receptor cells in the olfactory organ receive the aroma and send a message to the limbic system, which is commonly referred to as the “emotional brain.”
BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR STRESS RELIEF
Each essential oil has a different effect on our minds and bodies. The following oils are particularly effective at relieving stress and associated side effects, such as depression, insomnia, tension, and anxiety. Experiment with each until you find one you enjoy most.
HARNESS THE HEALING POWERS OF ESSENTIAL OILS
The key to harnessing the full benefits of essential oils is using them properly. Here are a few ways to enjoy their stress-relieving properties:
1. Apply essential oils to your skin
When applying essential oils directly to your skin, it’s important to dilute them with a carrier oil to prevent irritation. Jojoba oil, almond oil, and argan oil are common carriers. To make a basic blend, combine one fluid ounce (30 mL) of carrier oil with 12 drops of essential oil. Then massage the oil into your skin in areas you hold tension, like the back of your neck or temples. You can also apply essential oils to the bottoms of your feet. The soles of our feet have larger pores than the rest of the body. Applying essential oils here allows us to soak up their healing compounds quickly so they can work their magic faster.
2. Upgrade your shower or bath routine
To create an aromatherapy shower, roll up a small hand towel and soak it with water. Flick a few drops of essential oil onto the towel and place it at face level. Turn on the water as hot as it can go and allow the steam to rise for a moment. Then turn the water to a comfortable temperature, get in, and breathe deeply. You can also relax your mind and body by adding a few drops of essential oil to your bath water to make a detox bath. As an extra treat, dab some essential oil onto a small cloth and throw it in the dryer with clean towels.
3. Purify your living space with a diffuser
Using an essential oil diffuser (also known as an aromatherapy diffuser) is a great way to fill your entire bathroom or bedroom with the relaxing scent of lavender, chamomile, or the essential oil of your choice. There are many different types of diffusers, so you may have to experiment to find the method you like best. Candle diffusers are a good introduction, as they tend to be more affordable than other options and don’t require electricity or batteries.
4. Spray your bedding with essential oils
Among the many negative consequences of stress, insomnia is one of the worst. To ease yourself into a peaceful slumber, create an essential oil linen spray. Simply mist your pillowcases and blankets before slipping between the sheets to help calm the mind and take the edge off sleeplessness. Get the how-to from Wholefully.
HOW TO BUY ESSENTIAL OILS
With so many brands to choose from, it can be tricky to pick out the high-quality essential oils from those that use synthetic blends. As you’re shopping, look for 100% pure essential oils and avoid any products that are labeled “fragrance” or “perfume” oil. Products that are organic should be your first choice, followed by those labeled “unsprayed,” which means the farms aren’t certified organic but they don’t spray their crops. A high-quality oil will also list the common name and the botanical name of the plant the oil came from, along with the country of origin and the distillation and/or expiration date.
Once you find an essential oil brand you trust, experiment with its different aromas to find one that works for you.
Written by Kate Kasbee
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