Aromatherapy and Daily Stress Relief
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The various effects of chronic stress on the mind and body mean that there is no one simple solution to dealing with or alleviating symptoms.
Also, what works for one person may not be as effective for another, so anyone dealing with these effects is well advised to research various tried and tested coping mechanisms. As each person constructs their own resource of remedial actions, they will find that those work for them also add strength and synergy to their other supporting behaviors.
In the past, some people have been skeptical of the claimed benefits of using aromatherapy techniques for stress relief. However, continued evidence from scientific studies as well as anecdotal reports has shown the effectiveness of aromatherapy in helping people who are plagued with these adverse effects, especially chronic stress.
Why is Aromatherapy So Effective?
The human brain is wired to be very responsive to our sense of smell. Different scents can excite, relax, inspire or agitate us. Our response to scent is almost immediate and occurs subconsciously, with no effort on our part. When my sons were small, I always used a Eucalyptus body lotion. When I held them, they would snuggle into my neck. Even today, they find the scent of Eucalyptus to be soothing and makes them feel safe.
They are now 26 and 23 years old and still love the scent. For therapeutic application, this means that aromatherapy can be used very effectively as a backgrounding treatment, requiring no concentration by the user. Focus can be applied to other tasks or relaxation techniques, without lessening the effects of the aromatherapy.
As the olfactory system is able to swiftly influence several actions in the brain, when essential oils are being inhaled, the volatile compounds released from the oil can provide rapid relief from symptoms.
Plants used for aromatherapy have certain compounds that are equally or even more powerful than many synthetic drugs and used properly are generally safer. This means that finding a non-pharmaceutical solution for stress relief is possible and that aromatherapy should be considered for alleviating stress generally, and for overcoming specific symptoms.
Inhalation of Essential Oils
Many of the oils used in aromatherapy can also provide benefit when applied to the skin. However, not all oils can be safely applied to the skin and caution should be exercised. Although essential oils are derived from natural plant products some people may experience differing levels of sensitivity or even allergies.
Aromatherapy, by its very nature, means that plants being used do not have to be ingested but need only to be inhaled in small doses for it to be effective. Simply inhaling the oil of patchouli and rose plants may significantly reduce nervous activity in some people.
Lavender and chamomile have proven therapeutic benefits as they help alleviate symptoms of aggression and lower cortisol levels too. Be careful though, my daughter-in-law, Kate, is extremely allergic to sunflowers which also means she is allergic to chamomile as they are related. Please research how plants are inter-relate before using them. Lemon is another trusted favorite, excellent for reducing stress levels and providing relief. Lavender and lemon scented candles are also utilized for stress relief.
An oil I used when my sons were in elementary school was Rosemary. I used non-scented liquid hand soap, added organic rosemary oil to it and when they came home from school, had them wash their hands with it. It was always a rule to wash their hands when coming into the house. Once I started to add rosemary oil to the hand soap, it was unbelievable how de-stressed they became.
Other Uses of Aromatherapy for Stress
Aromatherapy massage is very beneficial for relieving stress. The aromatherapy oils and the massage therapy combined are outstanding for reducing stress-related symptoms. Topical application of clary sage rose and lavender oils can greatly alleviate menstrual cramps for women too.
It must be noted that aromatherapy should be used with care by those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, asthmatic, suffer kidney problems or those who have epilepsy. You also need to consult your doctor if you are taking medications or if you are allergic to any plant substances.
If you have any doubt, please seek the advice of a professional Aromatherapist before you start using essential oils for relieving stress symptoms.