A few weeks ago my wife came home with a diffuser and an array of essential oils. As it turns out, essential oils helped us both with stress relief. We are energized during the day, relax in the evening, and even get a better night’s sleep!
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Essential oils have long been used as a form of aromatherapy for stress relief and to aid a variety of conditions. The oils are extracts of plants traditionally used to heal, and when diffused into the atmosphere and inhaled, they can offer therapeutic effects. For example, they can calm the nerves, provide energy, induce relaxation, provide stress relief, or offer several other functions that are helpful in virtually any situation.
The other evening around 6:00 p.m., I hit a wall. I was doing some work and was instantly overtaken by tiredness, a slight headache, and low energy. Now, if it was two or three in the afternoon I would have had a coffee and been fine, but considering the time I didn’t want to risk a caffeinated night of tossing and turning. Instead, I put an essential oil blend of orange, peppermint, grapefruit, basil, and ginger to the diffuser to provide me with the energy I needed to get through the evening. It worked like a charm!
Essential Oils for Relaxation and Stress Relief
On the other end of the spectrum, if you want to calm your nerves or are looking for some stress relief in the evening, you can add a blend of chamomile, clary sage, copaiba, lavender, Peru balsam, sandalwood, sweet marjoram, and ylang-ylang. This is a good blend to promote sleep and relaxation.
Other essential oils to promote relaxation and stress relief include:
- Blood orange
Inhaling essential oils allow the molecules of the extract to enter your body and be distributed by your respiratory system. When inhaled, they also impact your limbic system—often called the “emotional brain.” The limbic system is responsible for emotional responses and is directly connected to organs that are triggered during an emotional response. Heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance are all directly tied to your limbic system, which helps explain how scents can trigger or suppress certain feelings or emotions.
How to Apply Essential Oils
Aside from being inhaled, essential oils can also be applied directly to the skin to promote healing. There is some research indicating that applying black pepper oil or ginger oil directly to the skin can help ease arthritis pain and improve flexibility, while chamomile might help treat eczema. Rubbing it into the affected area may work, and some researchers believe it absorbs best if it’s applied to an area rich in sweat glands or hair follicles, like the head, soles, palms, armpits, or genitals.
Source for Today’s Article:
University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing, “How do Essential Oils Work?” takingcharge.csh.umn.edu, July 16. 2013; http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/how-do-essential-oils-work, last accessed March 4, 2016.