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Aromatherapy and Mental Health

Aromatherapy and Mental Health

“There is no health without mental health’.

This week marks mental health awareness week so we are discussing alternative therapies to help ease the symptoms of mental health. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to improve health and wellbeing. Some oils can be used to treat mental and emotional health problems through the use of massage, in the bath or by breathing them in. Research has shown that aromatherapy can be useful to treat symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The chemicals in essential oils can interact with the body through being absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream or stimulating areas of the brain through inhalation/ smell. When specialised nerve cells in the upper part of the nose detect smells, they send an impulse to the brain along the olfactory nerve to an area called the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb processes the impulse and delivers the information about the smell to other neighbouring areas of the brain. These other areas are known as the limbic system. The limbic system is a set of brain structures that are thought to play an essential role in controlling behaviour, emotions, memory, and mood.

There are many ways to use essential oils, some of my favourites include using a diffuser, sleep balms, adding to my bath or my body oil. Here are some of the best essential oils for assisting with mental health!

Lavender

The most popular essential oil to conquer insomnia and relieve stress, lavender also works to lift depression and alleviate panic attacks. This ever popular and effective essential oil is used in our wonderful Good Night balm for its calming and soothing properties.

Bergamot

Bergamot essential oil has been proven as effective as Valium for anxiety. Most citrus-based essential oils are good for improving mood, but bergamot is a standout for depression. Unlike lavender bergamot should not be applied to the skin in its undiluted form so best added to your diffuser.

Chamomile

You probably are familiar with chamomile as a relaxing herbal tea for insomnia and stress relief but you may not be as familiar with chamomile as a relaxing essential oil. Chamomile essential oil is so gentle it’s even safe to use with irritable babies, besides treating anxiety and insomnia, it’s commonly used for stress-related skin conditions like eczema. Adding a few drops to your bath or moisturiser will soothe your skin and help relieve symptoms of anxiety.

Peppermint

Peppermint has a cooling, refreshing effect and is widely used to enhance mental alertness. Peppermint is a perennial herb that boasts natural energy-boosting properties. It is a cooling agent that enhances mood, sharpens focus, combats irritation and redness, alleviates symptoms of congestion, and aids in digestion. Perfect to help as a pep me up for those suffering with metal health induced fatigue.

Cedar wood

This essential oil has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians, and is thought to be one of the first essential oils ever extracted. It is often used as a calming agent to help alleviate stress and anxiety. In its highly concentrated state, Cedar wood can irritate the skin if applied directly to it so another oil best diluted with other carrier oils or used in your diffuser.

Rose

Women should keep Rose oil handy as it’s a powerful aromatherapy treatment for issues targeted mainly at females. Roses are some of the first plants to be distilled for their essential oil. Rose oil is pricier than other aromatherapy oils given the number of roses necessary to distil it. It helps with a number of illnesses and conditions, such as depression, anxiety and digestion issues and wonderful when added to carrier oils and in your bath.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil comes from the Eucalyptus tree, native to Australia. It has a powerful scent and is easily recognisable It also has the ability to enhance concentration and mental stimulation. Its cooling, refreshing scent also helps to improve stress induced headaches.

Rosemary

Widely known as a mental stimulant, the antidepressant properties of Rosemary oil make it ideal for enhanced memory, focus and overall brain performance. Add some Rosemary oil to your humidifier to enhance memory, relieve congestion and sinusitis issues. Blend it with massage lotions and oils to help stiff, aching muscles.

Detox your Diet!

Detox your Diet!

The theory behind detox diets is that our bodies can become overloaded with toxins that come from foods and substances such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Detoxing doesn’t necessarily have to mean eating less, it can mean finding healthy replacements and including more fruits, veggies and superfoods in your daily diet - eating more of the good stuff! Here are some of our top tips for detoxing your diet!

 

 

Switch to Whole grains

 

While refined grain foods like white pasta and rice still offer benefits, it’s the whole grain options that make the difference, being packed with more than 26 nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Whole grains supply more vitamin E, B, and folic acid than refined grains. And they provide important minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and iron. But the health benefits of grains don't end there. Researchers have found connections between eating whole grains and other medical improvements including: reduced risk of cancer lower blood pressure, decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol, improved digestive health, a reduced risk of heart disease.

 

 

Reduce Sodium Intake

 

The primary concern with excessive salt intake is that sodium often leads to high blood pressure, or hypertension. Hypertension, in turn, can cause heart disease and stroke. The best way to reduce the amount of salt you consume to ensure you are cooking everything at him from scratch. Restaurant food, pre-prepared food and takeaways all have a lot of hidden salt to add flavour so by cooking from scratch you have full control over how much sodium you choose to add. It can take a little time to get used to the flavour of foods without added salt however by opting for more spices and seasonings such as ginger, chilli and coriander you can add more flavour to your dishes with reverting to salt.

 

Eating more raw fruits and veggies

 

When you're trying to eat healthier, adding more veggies to your diet is a no-brainer. Not only are vegetables low in calories, they're high in fibre, vitamin C, potassium and a range of antioxidants that benefit your health. Eating your veggies raw means you'll likely get more water-soluble nutrients – vitamin C, and B vitamins – than from eating cooked vegetables. However, even cooked veggies can supply plenty of vitamin C, so you can still meet your needs over the course of the day. Eating raw veggies at the peak of their ripeness helps you get the most antioxidants possible, some water-

soluble antioxidants might leach into the water as your vegetables cook, while other antioxidants might be neutralized by cooking oil, which naturally starts to oxidise as you cook.

 

Starting your day with warm lemon water

 

A great way to kick-start your day. The warm water helps stimulate the digestive tract, and the lemons are believed to purify the liver. The vitamin C in lemons also helps give your immune system a boost. The tradition is also believed to help remedy a chronic pH imbalance. And because lemon water is a natural diuretic, it’s thought to flush excess fluids and toxins out of your body. Last but not least, it helps keep your skin clear and hydrated. Just take the juice of half a fresh-squeezed lemon, and add it to warm water.

 

Drink Enough Water

 

About 60-70% of your body weight is made up of water, and every part of your body needs it to function properly. Water helps the kidneys remove wastes from your blood in the form of urine. Water also helps keep your blood vessels open so that blood can travel freely to your kidneys, and deliver essential nutrients to them. But if you become dehydrated, then it is more difficult for this delivery system to work. Mild dehydration can make you feel tired, and can impair normal bodily functions. Severe dehydration can lead to kidney damage, so it is important to drink enough when you work or exercise very hard, and especially in warm and humid weather. As a rule, we should all be sipping on around 2l of water per day to allow our bodies to work at their best.

 

 

Reduce dairy intake

 

About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance. Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed. Plant based dairy alternatives are a great way to still enjoy all your usual foods but without the negative effects of consuming dairy.

 

Opt for Organic

 

The prominent threat of consuming plants that are not organic is that they introduce an exposure to pesticides. Pesticides and herbicides, though seen used for their effectiveness on crops to fend off insects and maximise the crop yield, pose a health threat. These chemicals are seen as foreign to

your body, thus causing an expansive range of illnesses and disease. Heavy pesticide exposure can contribute to neurological issues, malfunctions, impairments, as well as creating toxicity within your body. A high level of toxins in the body essentially hinders every single process that the body facilitates. Your body’s health becomes compromised because it abandons its normal daily tasks in order to make detoxification a priority.

 

Reduce Sugar Intake

 

The empty calories from added sugar in desserts, some drinks and candy can lead to weight gain and spikes in blood glucose levels. Opting for sugar from fruits rather than added sugar and syrups will not only help reduce weight gain and blood sugar levels but will also help improve your skin.

Detox Your Home!

Detox Your Home!
Did you know that the air inside your home is often more toxic than the air outside? In fact our indoor air environment is two to six times more polluted than the outdoor air environment. Indoor pollutants in dust and air are often generated from sources such as tobacco smoke, building materials, furniture, cleaning and hygiene products, air fresheners, computers, printers, cooking and from people themselves. Here are our top tips for reducing pollution and detoxing your home.

Air Purifying Plants

In 1989, NASA published the results of their Clean Air Study, stating which plants were best able to neutralise toxic chemicals in the air. Whilst plants are absorbing the carbon dioxide they need to survive they also take in particles from the air. Through the process of photosynthesis, they transform those toxic particles into lovely, pure, healthy oxygen which they then release into their environment.

Micro fibre Cloths

Micro fibre Cloths are made up of super-fine microfibres that have an asterisk-like structure. All of those nooks and crannies make it incredibly absorbent, which is why microfiber can hold up to six times its own weight in water! But it doesn’t just pick up liquids—it’ll grab onto anything, making it a perfect material for cleaning. The ultra-tiny fibres can fit into even the smallest crevices to pick up dust, dirt, grease, and bacteria.

Use Natural Cleaning Products

Full of petrochemicals and a host of other toxic ingredients, these cleaners release fumes and toxic residue that get ingested through inhalation and skin contact. Short term effects can be immediate and include asthma, skin rashes, dizziness, and blurred vision, while longer term effects from prolonged exposure can result in neurological impairments, respiratory ailments, birth defects, and cancer. Luckily there are a slew of alternative cleaning products that work just as well as the traditional chemical laced ones, and that will not slowly poison you and your home. And, in addition to purchasing ready-made non-toxic cleaners, consider making your own using easy to find ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, and Colloidal Silver, a powerful disinfectant and immune booster.

Ditch Paper Towel

Many paper towel and napkin brands use bleach, chlorine, formaldehyde or bisphenol. Exposure to chlorine and formaldehyde may boost our risk of cancer, while BPA disrupts our endocrine system – which is responsible for our hormones. To mop up kitchen spills, try using cut-up old dish towels and t-shirts. They are absorbent, re-usable, and it’s likely you already have some old pieces hanging about in your home!

Install a Water Filter

Tap water contains chlorine, a disinfectant. Chlorine disrupts our gut flora and boosts our cancer risk. Some cities treat water with fluoride, a potential endocrine disruptor. Installing a water filter in your kitchen is easy to do, or you can purchase a unit for your counter to detox your kitchen. Whatever you do, don’t buy bottled water. You’re exposing yourself to the risks of plastic and creating environment waste, not to mention that companies draw from municipal sources, treat it and then bottle it. You might as well skip the middle man and the continual cost and install a water filter yourself.


Air Purifying Sprays

Rather than opting for the commonly used air fresheners which are packed full of synthetic fragrances and harmful chemicals, it is a good idea to opt for a more natural based spray that not only is fragranced using essential oils but also works to detoxify and purify the air around you. 1001 Remedies, Pur air spray vivifying fresh scent regenerates you and the essential oils work to kill common bacteria as soon as 15 minutes after spraying.
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