Stress Relief using Aromtherapy

Aromatherapy candles, bath products, essential oils and other products are now widely stocked in stores and are believed to be useful in soothing babies, stress relief, and promoting the general healthy living. In the United States, one of the significant uses of aromatherapy is stress management and stress relief.  In today’s worlds, stress and anxiety are common and are expected to affect individuals occasionally in the course of our daily lives. Indeed anti-anxiety drugs can be useful, but they are also addictive and dangerous, with withdrawal that includes seizures and, paradoxically, extreme anxiety. Because of this fact, natural alternatives are needed now more than ever.

Fortunately, finding a non-pharmaceutical solution no longer remains a problem because it’s always at our disposal now, and it’s a proven fact that these alternatives will be beneficial. Not enough research is available on aromatherapy, it’s not as “proven” as some others stress relief solutions. However, while further studies are needed, many studies have already shown aromatherapy’s benefits.

Research carried out in relation to aromatherapy indicate a number of findings. These findings include:

  1. Preliminary investigation indicates that aromatherapy can modify the symptoms of stress on brain waves and behavior.
  2. Aromatherapy is popular in reducing the perception of stress, positively increasing contentment; and by decreasing levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”
  3. Lavender oil is beneficial for the inducement of sleep in children and adults.
  4. Different aromatherapy scents bring different effects in people.
  5. One study reveals that aromatherapy coupled with massage can have a positive impact on people struggling with anxiety and depression.
  6. Massage coupled with aromatherapy offers a more potent and more prolonged relief from fatigue—especially mental fatigue—than massage alone.

For example in 2002, a fantastic discovery was reported in a Japanese Journal.

Some of the ways aromatherapy can be employed include aerial diffusion (mostly with an oil burner), topical application and inhalation. The use only of natural essential oils has been proven effective since synthetics don’t provide the same benefit as the natural compounds.

Typically, aromatherapy provides a natural and organic option which practically substitutes pharmaceutical substances and functions to enhance lifestyle modifications that can reduce stress even more. The natural lifestyle modifications under discussion include exercise, diet, meditation and sufficient exposure to light. By lightly inhaling the oils, the brain reacts to the scent by slowing down. The immediate result of this inhalation is a deep level of relaxation.

Aromatherapy has been once again proven the best natural treatment for stress because it assists the body’s intrinsic ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself holistically instead of just treating the symptom or disease.

Aromatherapy coupled with massage can be specifically helpful in fighting stress because one gets both the calming, relaxing therapeutic effects of the essential oils, not mentioning the benefits of the massage. The corrective action that the essential oils in conjunction with rejuvenating effects of massage (including some relaxing music) make a perfect cocktail for fighting stress.

A number of essential oils can block the neural connections that lead to the unnecessary release of adrenaline and cortisol in the body when one is under stress and can help with the stress relief.

Another set of essential oils trigger the release of a number of neurochemicals and hormones including serotonin that slows the heart rate, regulates blood pressure, and boosts the immune system, thereby reversing the effect of stress. Therefore, the right essential oils can ease both the acute and chronic stages of importance.

While you may not be able always to eliminate a negative situation, aromatherapy is one efficient way to help with the emotional distress that accompanies stressful events. By merely reducing negative emotions that surround a specific location, you begin to change the way you reason and act, thereby minimizing the levels of stress.

And don’t worry, if you are unable to have a massage merely use the essential oils in a nice warm bath. To achieve the best feeling, you could choose your oils and put a small amount in the tub. Thereafter, turn on some good relaxing music and practically experience the stress relief and tension slowly fade away as you soak in the bathtub.

If you feel like trying another method, it is also encouraged that you vaporize the essential oils using a traditional burner or the new electronic atomizer models that don’t require heat to operate.

Regardless of the way you choose to utilize your essential oils, the moment molecules of these oils enter the bloodstream through the lungs, sending a signal directly to the limbic system located in the brain which immediately regulates hormones and control emotional activities and thoughts.  Whichever way you choose to employ your essential oils, the minute molecules of essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs, sending a signal directly to the limbic system in the brain which regulates hormones and control emotional activities and thoughts.

The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are then stimulated to produce neuro chemicals including serotonin plus the hormones that balance and regulates various systems within the body, such as the endocrine, immune, and nervous system.

Dangers of unmanageable stressors:

  1. Blood sugar levels can be effected by stress, by leading to hunger and, eventually, insulin insensitivity.
  2. Many people that experience weight gain, do not adequately manage their stress.
  3. Not properly managed stress levels, is another possible danger of premature aging.
  4. General pain in the body can also be as a result of unmanaged stress.

Stress and illness related to it, make up most prevalent health problems of the current “civilization” and definitely feature prominently on any aroma therapist’s case list.

Along with such techniques as yoga, meditation, exercise and creative activities, aromatherapy has an essential function as a de-stressing technique. A wide array of original oils at our disposal in coping with stress relief: all the sedative and antidepressant oils initially to induce relaxation. These include Bergamot, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Jasmine, Lavender, Marjoram and Rose.

The most popular aromatherapy oils used for stress relief are listed below:

  1. Rosemary EO: It’s been shown to have uplifting effects on performance and mood.

It has also indicated the ability to reduce levels of cortisol in the body. This means that rosemary aromatherapy can be a good choice for de-stressing during the day when there is still work to be done.

  1. Lavender EO: Associated with feelings of contentment, improve cognitive performance (some measures) and mood. It also has properties of mild sedatives and calming effects.

It has been shown to minimize cortisone levels; it can soothe babies and new mothers alike and promote positive mother-infant interactions.

Lavender is an excellent choice when one is in need of a restful sleep or to achieve calm and feel relaxed throughout the day.

Lavender essential oil is primarily used when stress causes the body to seize up with tension, or when anxiety leads to sleeping troubles. Its soothing aroma can be utilized in baths and massage oils, or mixed with water in a spray bottle and infused into your pillow.  Lavender can also be handy when it comes to easing tension headaches.

The scent of lavender essential oil has been proven to lower headaches in 74% of sufferers studied in a placebo-controlled clinical trial. (Sasannejad, 2012). In 2012, another study was carried out to examine the physiological effect of lavender oil on 20 volunteers. It was established that lavender essential oil resulted in significant decrease of blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature changes. These were a clear indication of a reduction in autonomic arousal.  (Sayorwan, 2012)

  1. Peppermint EO: Found to increase memory and alertness. It can provide an excellent pick-me-up for too-tired, and too-busy people stressed students and the overworked that can help stress relief.

 

  1. Ylang-Ylang EO: this is popular in decreasing alertness, repairing impaired memory and lengthening processing speed. Besides, it is also known for decreasing alertness, slightly lengthening processing speed and repairing impaired memory. When it comes to unwinding and relieving stress at the end of the day, it is also a good option because it promotes calmness and generally reduces stress.

Aroma therapists regularly use ylang-ylang oil to alleviate problems including stress, anxiety, depression, and anger. Finding its best used neatly or blended with other EOs, to excess, its sweet floral notes can cause headaches!).

 

While it has so far not been studies extensively, ylang-ylang is known for having sedative effects, which help reduce heart rate and blood pressure (Jung, 2013).

  1. Lemon EO: this one possesses anti-depressant-type effects. It is, therefore, an excellent choice for stress relief and improvement of one’s mood
  1. Sweet Orange EO: bearing the same properties as the fruit, this essential oil has a brightly cheerful and mood-lifting scent. Other citrus essential oils such as grapefruit and lemon are also normally used to induce mood-brightening effects on the body. Many have their reservations when it comes to the use of this essential oil because of the issues about photo toxicity of orange and other citrus Eos. Therefore, for safety’s sake, it is suggested that one should use them in a diffuser or under a shade.  It’s also important to check your sunblock to ensure it does not contain citrus (Kejlová, 2010).

 

A 2012 study of 40 volunteers determined that although more studies were needed, the psychological and physiological effects of sweet orange oil use reveal “an acute anxiolytic [anti-anxiety] activity of sweet orange aroma” (Goes, 2012).

Researchers have now backed up claims about the vitality of individual scents and a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggested that certain fragrances can disrupt gene activity and blood composition in such a way that can help stress relief.  Scientists from Japan led by Aiko Nakamura noted that people had used the aromas of individual plants for centuries to help stress relief, inflammation, and depression.

“Aromatherapy, the use of the scented plant oils to improve mood and health, has become a popular form of alternative medicine today,” explained the researchers.

The study primarily investigated the effects of a chemical component found in many plants and essential oils known as linalool. “Linalool is one of the most widely used substances to soothe away emotional stress relief. Until now, however, linalool’s exact effects on the body have been a deep mystery”, explained the researchers.

To further probe the effects of the essential aromas, lab rats were subjected to two conditions-exposed while inhaling linalool as well as not inhaling linalool. It was observed that linalool scent returned stress-elevated levels of neutrophils and lymphocytes in their blood to normal levels. These blood cells are important compounds in the immune system and tend to increase when the body is under stress.

(Research source: ‘Stress Repression in Restrained Rats by (R)-(–)-Linalool Inhalation and Gene Expression Profiling of Their Whole Blood Cells’ by Akio Nakamura, et al., Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, June 24, 2009.)

A study was conducted to investigate the effects of aromatherapy on stress relief and stress-related responses in adolescents.

A two group cross-over design was employed as an experimental treatment using aroma essential oil inhalation along with the placebo treatment using carrier oil on a necklace. The exact test, t-test, and paired t-test using SPSS/WIN program were employed in the analysis stage.

The results indicated that stress levels were substantially lower when the students received the aroma treatment in comparison to when they won the placebo treatment. The stress responses excluding salivary IgA levels were substantially lower when the subjects received the aroma treatment.

In conclusion, the aroma inhalation can be beneficial stress management methods for high school students.Therefore, it has been recommended that this program should be used in clinical practice as a practical nursing intervention. (J Korean Acad Nurs. 2009 Jun;39)

There is no secret that modern day life is filled with significant stressors. While many of us have become experts at adapting to and performing under stressful conditions, the reality is that stress takes its toll on all aspects of our health: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Creating a mission to encourage consciousness to the use and application of essential oils and implementing sustainability measures, we may rely on these to enhance our capability to reduce all our stress-related issues efficiently.

However, don’t forget to look out for the cause of your daily stressors and create a plan to take action to deal with it directly, since prevention is always better than the cure.

 

Bibliography

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/evidence-based-aromatherapy-stress-relief-and-much-more

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/evidence-based-aromatherapy-stress-relief-and-much-more

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/can-you-eliminate-stress-with-aromatherapy/

References

Tang SK, Tse MY. Aromatherapy: does it help to relieve pain, depression, anxiety, and stress in community-dwelling older persons? Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:430195. doi: 10.1155/2014/430195.

Bhatia V, Tandon RK. Stress and the gastrointestinal tract. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Mar;20(3):332-9

Steptoe A, Kivimaki M. Stress, and cardiovascular disease. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2012 Apr 3;9(6):360-70. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2012.45.

Shiloah E, Witz S, Abramovitch Y, et al. Effect of acute psychotic stress in nondiabetic subjects on beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity. Diabetes Care. 2003 May;26(5): 1462-7

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