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.

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