Have you ever heard of the mind body connection? Simply put, the mind body connection means that anything affecting the mind, positive or negative, is also going to affect the body – and anything affecting the body is also going to affect the mind. This explains why when we’re dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression not only do we feel the effects emotionally, but we also feel them physically as well. Not only that, but dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to a vast array of chronic medical conditions.
When we smell an essential oil, we have what’s called an olfactory response. The essential oil travels through the olfactory system and reaches the limbic part of the brain. The limbic area of the brain is thought to be one of the oldest parts of the brain and has a direct connection with emotions and memory. It stands to reason then, that using an essential oil that is calming and relaxing can have very positive benefits when dealing with anxiety and depression. In addition, lipid soluble substances, such as essential oils, can cross the blood brain barrier and produce rapid effects in the brain. There is much research linking the effects of essential oils to producing calming, feel-good, neurotransmitters in the brain.
It is well known in the holistic community that most diseases today are chronic, degenerative diseases or emotional imbalances that are highly linked to stress. That being said, we would be doing you a major disservice if we didn’t talk about stress and the body’s stress response. When we hear the word stress, most of us are going to have a negative response right away. The thing is, not all stress is bad. Sometimes stress helps us to perform at our best, keeps us safe, and gives us courage. That kind of stress is good, and we want to have that kind of stress in our lives. However, too much stress can be seriously detrimental to us both physically and emotionally and lead to anxiety, depression, anger, and addiction.
In a normal response to stress, our bodies sense danger (or the stressor) and goes into “fight or flight” mode, preparing us to fend off an attack or act. Different hormones and neurotransmitters are secreted from the body and can cause this reaction to take place in a mere matter of seconds. Once the threat has passed, other hormones and neurotransmitters are released to help us calm down and come back to our natural state. When dealing with too much stress, or stress over a prolonged period, our body can lose the ability to calm back down and return to normal, which can then lead us into a world of anxiety, depression, and sickness.
Stress plays a major role in our immunity too. When we’re under large amounts of stress our body loses the ability to make pathogen fighting cells as quickly and efficiently as it can under normal circumstances. This leaves our immune system weakened and can leave us prone to infections and illness and leave us sick for longer periods of time.
When it comes to using essential oils for stress and anxiety, keep in mind that aromatherapy can be used as an active treatment, for example when you’re dealing with an anxiety attack, but it can also be used as a preventative. That being said, we feel it’s important to make essential oils a part of your daily lifestyle to get the maximum effects.
1. Dilute to 2.5% and apply topically
3. Nasal Inhaler/Smelling Salts
4. In a lotion
5. In an aromatic spritzer
6. Bath salts
1 part Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
2 parts Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
1 part Sandalwood (Santalum album)
5 drops of blend in a 10 ml roller bottle topped with carrier oil of choice for topical use
3 – 5 drops of blend in a diffuser
15 drops of blend in a personal inhaler for on-the-go aromatic use
It is my hope that you’ll be able to take this information and use it to create an aromatic self-care regimen for yourself that can help you feel better both physically and mentally. Remember, the essential oils can be used when you’re actively dealing with anxiety, stress, and/or depression, but they can also be used daily as a preventative to promote a sense of calm and well-being in your life.
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