Aromatherapy is the technique that uses essential oils from plants for medicinal purposes. Essential oils are considered the soul of flowers and plants that, used in small amounts, can provide enormous benefits to our mental health.
Essential oils are the product of the distillation of natural elements such as flowers, trees, leaves, wood, resins, roots and fruit peels from which extraordinary healing virtues are extracted. These essences are volatile odorous substances produced by certain plants and which do not contain any fatty substance – although we speak of “oil”. They are then used internally, externally or by air for therapeutic purposes. This alternative medicine, a branch of phytotherapy, has been used since Antiquity to naturally relieve certain everyday ailments, such as fatigue, muscle pain or even stress. In addition, they are an excellent tool to relieve stress and stimulate positive emotions. What we must do to perform a healing and relaxing therapy is to breathe in these oils through aromatherapy.
Five essential oils that have the greatest capacity to relax us:
• Lavender oil: it is the most popular. Lavender has an immediate relaxing effect that calms the nervous system and even helps relieve pain.
• Sandalwood oil: calms the most intense nerves and promotes concentration.
• Bergamot oil: relaxes and improves skin affections.
• Vanilla oil: among the many benefits of vanilla essential oil, the warm, sweet, rich aroma of vanilla extract not only soothes the skin, it also calms the mind.
• Rose essential oil: improves mood. Combined with geranium it has a powerful sleeping effect.
• Chamomile essential oil: helps to relax, even people with hypertension.
Other oils you can use are: lemon, rosemary, cedar, and jasmine.
According to sleep expert Dr. Michael J. Breus, essential oils work through respiration because our sense of smell is directly connected to the brain; In this sense, it is the only one that reaches the areas of the brain responsible for memory and emotions without the thalamus being mediated. So, one of the best ways to use essential oils for stress relief is by breathing in. In this way we can promote better rest, relieve pain and improve our mood, which will ultimately help us combat stress.
How to use essential oils?
In the Bathroom: add ten drops of essential oil in a bathtub with plenty of water and spend at least 30 minutes submerged. If you don’t have a tub, you can spray the oil around the room and take a hot bath. The steam will help you breathe in the essential oil better. In order to disperse the oil, you will need to mix half a cup of water for every four or five drops of essential oil.
Aromatherapy for sleep: mix water with a few drops of your favourite essential oil. You can use it to place it in a diffuser or in an atomizer to aromatize the environment of your room, avoid doing it directly on the pillow since the smell can become very intense and be suffocating.
Massage on the skin: apply the oil directly to the body, gently massaging it with your fingertips. Just remember that you must dilute the oil in water or, if you prefer, you can mix a few drops in a bottle of fragrance-free cream and apply to massage.
You must bear in mind that aromatherapy against stress is part of a daily routine to achieve definitive results and that it should not be applied in young children, as the substances can be somewhat strong for their body.