Choosing an essential oil to enhance relaxation is a personal and highly pleasurable act of self-care. Taking the time to find an oil whose scent you love and bringing it home to use as a special aid to relaxation takes belief that you’re worth the extra effort. Most women I know could stand to spend more time being kind and loving – towards themselves!
Aromatherapy works because these highly-concentrated all-natural oils stimulate the limbic system in the brain. Smells can initiate specific physical and psychological reactions by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters in the brain to balance hormones and increase feelings of well-being.
Many essential oils are complimentary to other forms of relaxation such as meditation, a detoxifying bath, a relaxing massage, or a cleansing facial steam. And it’s a no-calorie alternative to that ‘recipe for weight gain’ glass-of-wine-with-dinner that you may have used in the past to help you relax at the end of a stressful day.
There are several essential oils that can help you let go of anxiety and nervous tension. It’s important that you enjoy the scent you choose. When you use the oil, set the intention to work with it by allowing your body to get comfortable and be open to letting go of whatever is making you tense.
How to choose the essential oil that’s right for you
Many larger natural food stores have aromatherapy ‘testor’ bottles that you can spend time assessing before you buy. Bring a supply of tissues with you! You may want to start with lavender essential oil- a traditional floral scent that our grandmothers used to scent their linens and keep away the moths! One drop on a tissue is all that’s needed to get a good idea if this is the oil for you. Wave the tissue near your face and breathe in through your nose gently. If you like the scent, a good-quality lavender essential oil has many uses beyond relaxation and easing tension - including curing insomnia, easing headaches, and helping wounds and bruises to heal when used directly on clean skin.
While you’re at the aromatherapy counter, you may want to do the ‘sniff test’ on one, or more, of these relaxing oils: Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Marjoram, Clary sage, Geranium, Lemon, Juniper and Cypress. You may want to buy two and blend a drop of each together to give you a ‘third’ scent for the price of two! Be careful that you don’t experiment with too many scents at the same time – that’s been known to start a headache!
Note: Treatment with aromatherapy is not advised for people who have advanced heart conditions, advanced cancer, an organ transplant, appendicitis, seizures, diabetic reactions, recent heart attack or stroke. If you’re pregnant, avoid clary sage, cypress, jasmine, lavender, and chamomile which can induce/normalize menstruation.
How to Use
Less is best when using essential oils. A drop or two may be all that you need!
Inhalation – put 1-3 drops essential oil of your choice onto a handkerchief, tissue or cotton ball and inhale whenever symptoms arise. You can also purchase an electric aromatherapy diffuser for your home or car.
Body Moisturizer – Mix 5-8 drops essential oils of your choice, to 1 tbsp (15 ml) unscented lotion, cream or ‘carrier oil’ such as sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil or apricot kernel oil.
Massage Oil/Bath – Mix 8 drops essential oils of your choice, to 1 tbsp (15 ml) ‘carrier oil’ such as sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil or apricot kernel oil. Stir into warm bathwater.
Milk Bath – Stir 8 drops essential oil (total) into ½ cup milk or cream to disperse oils and pour into bathwater to create a luxurious hot milk aroma bath.
Room Spray - Spray: Add 2-10 drops essential oil to a 4 oz spray bottle. Add ½ oz vodka and shake to disperse the oil. Add 2 oz purified water and shake again before spraying. Avoid spraying on wood furniture. Can also be used as a linen spray.
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