Anxiety and Aromatherapy
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, aromatherapy is "the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit."
Aromatherapy can be used both as a preventive tool and as an acute treatment for stress. It is a fast growing field of alternative medicine and has been used for pain relief, to improve energy and for stress reduction. It should, however, not be considered a first line of treatment but, if used, should compliment your current treatment. Before beginning a regiment of aromatherapy, please discuss with your doctor.
Although there are ways to benefit from aromatherapy at home, there are also a number of safety issues to consider. The essential oils used are concentrated and should not be used directly on the skin without properly preparing the oils (blending). (Holisticonline.com suggests washing off with whole milk if accidentally spilled on your skin.) There are also a number of essential oils that are considered to be hazardous and should not be used.
With the popularity of aromatherapy today, there are now ways to enjoy the scents at home. Aromatherapy candles and diffusers are available in many stores and online.
In addition to using candles or diffusers, some ideas for adding aromatherapy to your home are:
- Add 5 drops of lavender to 1-tablespoon olive oil and add to your bath. Lavender helps promote relaxation.
- Fill a spray bottle of water and add a few drops of jasmine oil. Spray on pillows to help you sleep better.
- Use cotton balls with drops of lavender in your drawers to make your clothes smell good.
Essential Oils considered beneficial for anxiety:
Anxiety Reducing and Mood Lifting
There are professional aromatherapists that can help you with starting to use aromatherapy to help reduce stress and lessen anxiety. An aromatherapist will help by answering any questions you may have, recommending certain essential oils based on your health situation, provide application methods and let you know of any possible interactions between different essential oils as well as interactions with medications you may be taking.
As of now, there is no certification or licensing required for aromatherapists, therefore, it is important to be careful and be sure the person you are working with is knowledgeable. Request references and talk with previous clients. Even though there is no licensing, there are schools and courses for aromatherapy. Ask a potential therapist what education they have had in aromatherapy. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy provides information on approved schools and the Aromatherapy Registration Council offers a search for registered therapists.