• Jan Baker

Which essential oils are best for stress?

The last in the series of blogs on stress. Today I'll be looking specificially at oils, their properties, and how best to use them to support you.

Our sense of smell is more sensitive than any of our other senses. This is why aromas (and therefore aroma - therapy) can be effective. Chemicals trigger responses in our brain and affect our mental state. I absolutely love the smell, of freshly cut grass in the Spring; it's one of my "happy" smells. But for someone with hayfever, it may be a smell of impending dread! As all essential oils have their own chemical makeup (they are all hydrocarbons), the combined effects of these oils can therefore work holistically on our mind, body and spirit, bringing us a sense of balance, healing and often a profound sense of wellbeing. And smelling them can therefore be an instant way of relaxing a stressed mind and body.

Did you know though that even if you can't smell, the oils can still work on a chemical level? So don't be put off if your first thought is, well I have no sense of smell, so they're no good for me!

One of the ways to inhale oils, is by using an oil burner or an aroma diffuser. If you're adding essential oil drops to water, the general guide is 5 drops to 100ml. For a diffuser, try Litsea essential oil. This has naturally soothing properties that can help you to think more rationally. Combine with Bergamot, a grounding oil which helps to balance the mind, and add Sweet Orange to balance and enhance the calming effect. If you've never heard of Litsea, you may recognise its other name, May Chang.

There are a huge array of oils available to an aromatherapist if you wish to have an aromatherapy massage to support stress symptoms. As well as the oils mentioned above, try Chamomile, Clary Sage, Jasmine, Lavender, Marjoram, Neroli, Rose, Rosewood and Vetiver. All of these oils are good for calming and quite a few also have anti-depressant properties that work well on lifting your mood.

In clinic, as a general destresser, I like to use a combination of Rosewood, Ylang Ylang and Mandarin but it does depend on what type of stress you have. You may for example, need more help with supporting your adrenal gland function and, in this case, I'd add Geranium and Black Pepper to your blend. These oils, however, would only be used for a short period of time when stress has left you exhausted.

It is also important to note here that therapists offering "aromatherapy massage" as part of their skill-set are not necessarily qualified aromatherapists. They will have been trained in massage and how to apply pre-blended oils for sure, but they are unlikely to have the skill set and knowledge to blend specific oils safely for therapeutic use. It's always important therefore to check with your therapist to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge required for your needs.

In the bath, there are a number of ways to destress. Essential oil bath salts are excellent for this. I always recommend the May Chang bath salt from our range when speaking to clients. Also, Spearmint essential oil can really lift you after a hard day in work. If you're using a blended bath oil, such as Clary Sage, Frankincense & Geranium, a great tip to stop the bath becoming slippy, is to add them to a little milk before adding it to your bath! Remember, you should never put neat essential oils directly on your body without expert supervision. All oils need to be properly diluted into a carrier oil for use on the skin.

Clary Sage and Geranium I've already mentioned but Frankincense is also wonderful for helping you slow down and deepen your breathing. It is incredibly calming, so much so, that it is often used as an aid to meditation and prayer.

You can also make the oils up into a room spray to use before bed. A combination of Rose, Chamomile, Ylang Ylang and Vetiver is calming and grounding when you feel overwhelmed by stress. But remember, water and oil don't mix. Therefore ideally, you'll need a few gemstones added to the spray bottle as well, to help the oils combine when you shake the spray bottle before use.

As you can see there's a lot of choice when it comes to essential oils and the way in which you can use them. And I haven't even mentioned putting them in a rollerball which you can use constantly on your neck and wrists during the day, or having them in a lotion form to use on larger areas of the body.

Whichever form you decide is best for you, using the oils little and often is by far the best way to get the most out of them. Think of it like putting petrol, electricity or diesel in your car... you need to top up regularly or the thing will break down! And what you body doesn't need, it discards.

Until next time,

Stay safe

Jan xx

p.s. If you'd like to read the other posts on stress, you'll find them here:

p.p.s You can find all our essential oil bath salts in our shop here:

p.p.p.s Please contact me if you'd like any further information on stress, you'd like a free consultation, or help using essentials oils.

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