I know first-hand the devastating effects anxiety (as well as depression and insomnia) can have on your health and to your overall sense of well-being! And in our fast-paced society is it any wonder that these particular health conditions are on the rise and growing exponentially each year?
Furthermore, for most people, the idea of self-care ranks low on their priority list which is very sad. After all, you can trade in your car for a newer model, but you only have one you!
So, allowing yourself time to rest and rejuvenate is vital not only for your physical body but also for your psyche as well. That’s where essential oils can help. But before we dive into the amazing healing properties of essential oils, let’s talk a bit about essential oils and a good place to start is with a brief history:
• Essential oils have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptian Ebers Papyrus (medical papyrus of herbal knowledge dating back to around 1500 BC) included over 800 herbal mixers for many different health conditions and many of the remedies contained essential oils. For example, myrrh was prescribed as a wound salve.
• In 1922, King Tut’s tomb was discovered and interestingly, there were vats of essential oils that were still viable!
• In China, essential oils were first recorded during the reign of Huang Ti, also known as the Yellow Emperor. His famous book “The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine” contains uses for several essential oils which are still in use today by many eastern medicine practitioners.
• Ancient Ayurvedic medicine has used essential oils for more than 3000 years!
Essential oils are liquid concentrations of nature
Essential oils are organic substances derived from the volatile liquid of plants. These natural plant oils are extracted from leaves, flowers, grasses, roots, fruit and trees. Each oil has a variety of properties and can be used for many diverse purposes. For example, the oils are directly or indirectly applied to the skin or can simply be inhaled.
When the scent of the oil is inhaled, the odour molecule travels through the nose and stimulates the olfactory nerves which in turn stimulate the emotional centre of the brain where all of our emotions are stored. So it’s no wonder that they can relax you when you are feeling stressed, invigorate you when you are fatigued, or calm you into a peaceful night’s sleep.
Here are some highly recommended essential oils to help you reduce and manage stress:
• Chamomile – promotes relaxation and decreases feelings of anxiety and depression
• Lavender – reduces anxiety and promotes relaxation and sleep
• Bergamot – reduces anxiety and depression, and helps reduces scars from acne
• Sandalwood – helps to improve memory and has anti-inflammatory properties
• Mandarin – calms nerves, improves mood and promote relaxation
• Frankincense – reduces inflammation, wrinkles and age spots, and helps improve the immune system
• Clary Sage – reduces anxiety and depression and reduces skin inflammation
• Jasmine – reduces depression and promotes healthy skin tone
• Cedarwood – helps reduce inflammation and relieves chronic pain
• Patchouli – reduces depression, enhances mood, and helps to relieve pain
• Rose – reduces skin inflammation
• Ylang Ylang – induces relaxation and reduces depression
And here is the best part – essential oils are very convenient and super easy to use! Not to mention that they can be used as a natural perfume or as a healthy holistic alternative to commercial lotions (which I highly recommend!).
If you’d like to make your own essential concoction, then you should know a bit about oil carriers.
Essential oils and carrier oils work in synergy with each other. Carrier oils ‘carry’ the essential oil into the skin, while essential oils provide a pleasing scent to the base oils which themselves possess therapeutic benefits. Basically, carrier oils ‘carry’ the essential oil into the skin, while essential oils provide a pleasing scent to the base oils which themselves possess therapeutic benefits. This is definitely a win-win relationship!
Carrier oils (or base oils) should always be used to dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin.
Two popular carrier oils are Sweet Almond Oil and Jojoba Oil.
• Sweet Almond Oil contains Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D and it is known for its ability to strengthen and moisturise the skin. It has a warm scent and can elicit a sense of grounding.
• Jojoba Oil is not really an oil but a liquid wax that possesses moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties. It is known to bring life to the skin and is one of the most popular carrier oils because of its luxurious feel when applied to the skin.
Essential oils can also be added to a warm Epsom salt bath to relax muscles, soften skin and promote an overall sense of relaxation.
Alternatively, place a few drops at the base of the shower for a spa-like steam bath experience. Now, who wouldn’t enjoy that?
Another wonderful way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils is to put a few drops into a diffuser. Aromatherapy diffusers are small devices that send the essential oil elements into the air to both purify the air and create a relaxing and healing living environment. Inhaling the vapour of essential oils is one of the best ways to reap their therapeutic benefits.
I’d like to point out that I always prefer organic essential oils over non-organic for one simple reason – they’re pesticide free! They are a bit more expensive, but when talking about achieving optimal health … you are worth it!