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Tag Archives: aromatherapy for insomnia

Smells like home

Smells like home…

written by: Claire Kenny 08/09/2018


For as long as I can remember, my mother always had a bottle of essential oils ready for nearly all of our minor ailments when growing up.
When it came to exam times, interviews even the debs, mam would just pop into her wooden box of magic and make up blends that we could apply to our pulse points or even to our clothes. Our house always smelled safe.
Some of these blends even today remind of feeling safe and secure rather than the stress I was going through at the time of applying them.
Aromatherapy is the practice of inhaling the scent of essential oils to improve your mental and physical well-being.
One theory of how they work is that by stimulating the smell receptors in your nose, they can send messages to your nervous system. They are also thought to have a subtle effect on the body’s chemical and energy systems. Because of this, aromatherapy is often used as a natural remedy to relieve anxiety and stress.
Essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil before they’re applied to the skin. This reduces your risk of irritation. For adults, every 15 drops of essential oil should be diluted with 1 ounce of carrier oil. For children, the ratio is 3 to 6 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil. Some popular carrier oils are almond, coconut, and jojoba.
Essential oils should never be ingested, despite claims on the internet that suggest otherwise. There’s not enough research on any one essential oil to prove it’s safe to swallow. Each essential oil is very different, and some are toxic.

Below is a list of some of my favourite essentials oil for anxiety and stress.

Valerian

Valerian is an herb that has been used since ancient times. It’s thought to contain compounds that promote sleep and calm nerves. It can have a mild sedative effect on the body.
How to use: Add a few drops of valerian oil to an aromatherapy diffuser and inhale. Ideally use Valerian at home in the evening as it may make you sleepy or relaxed.

Lavender

Lavender is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils. Lavender aromatherapy is thought to calm anxiety by impacting the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions.
How to use: Enjoy a relaxing lavender bath by combining several drops of lavender oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil or an unscented bath gel. Stir the mixture into warm bathwater just before entering.

Jasmine

Jasmine oil has a gorgeous floral scent. Inhaling jasmine oil can promote a sense of well-being and romance. Unlike some other essential oils used for anxiety, jasmine oil is thought to calm the nervous system without causing sleepiness.
How to use: Inhale jasmine oil directly from the bottle or allow the scent to fill the room through a diffuser.

Sweet basil

Sweet basil essential oil comes from the same herb that you use in cooking. In aromatherapy, it’s thought to help calm the mind and relieve stress.
The phenol compounds in sweet basil oil helped relieve anxiety. These compounds were found to be less sedating than the anxiety medication diazepam.
How to use: Add several drops of sweet basil oil to a room diffuser or inhale through an inhaler tube.

Bergamot

Bergamot oil comes from bergamot oranges and has an invigorating citrus scent. Bergamot helps relieve anxiety and improve mood.
When used topically, bergamot may increase sun sensitivity.
How to use: Place a few drops of bergamot oil onto a cotton ball or handkerchief. Inhale the aroma two to three times to help relieve anxiety.

Chamomile

Chamomile is well-known for its relaxing and sedating properties and intoxicating scent. There isn’t much research on chamomile essential oil for anxiety.
How to use: Massage diluted chamomile oil into your skin or add it to a warm bath.

Rose

Rose essential oil is extracted from rose petals. Roses have an enchanting floral scent known to relax the senses.
Using a rose aromatherapy footbath can reduce anxiety in pregnant women during labour. Not be used unless in labour.
How to use: Soak your feet in a basin filled with warm water and diluted Rose essential oil. You can also add rose oil to your favourite non-scented moisturizer or shea butter and massage into skin.

Vetiver

Vetiver may be less known than other essential oils, but it’s not less effective. Vetiver oil comes from the grassy vetiver plant native to India. It has a sweet, earthy scent and is used as an aphrodisiac.
How to use: Enjoy a relaxing massage with diluted vetiver oil, or add it to a diffuser.

Ylang Ylang

Floral-scented Ylang Ylang is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation. Inhaling a blend of Ylang Ylang, lavender, and bergamot lowered stress and anxiety levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and serum cortisol.
How to use: Apply diluted Ylang Ylang to your skin, add to a room diffuser, or inhale directly.

Frankincense

Frankincense oil is made from the resin of the Boswellia tree. It has a musky, sweet aroma that’s thought to ease anxiety. A beautiful massage blend of frankincense, lavender, and bergamot can improve anxiety, depression, and sometimes even pain in people with terminal cancer.
How to use: Massage diluted frankincense oil onto your hands or feet. You can also add frankincense to a diffuser.

Clary sage

Clary sage is different from the common herb used to make stuffing at Thanksgiving. It has a woody, herbal odour. Due to its calming abilities, it’s often used as an aphrodisiac.
Clary sage can ease tension and help control cortisol levels in women. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. High cortisol levels may increase your risk of anxiety and depression.
How to use: Inhale clary sage oil directly when you feel anxious, or massage the diluted oil into your skin. Do not use clary sage while pregnant as it can cause contractions.

Patchouli

Musky patchouli is used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. It’s often combined with other essential oils such as lavender. Patchouli is thought to promote calmness and relaxation, though most evidence is anecdotal.
How to use: To relieve anxiety, inhale patchouli oil directly or add it diluted to a warm bath or room diffuser.

Geranium

Geranium oil is distilled from the geranium plant.
For women in the first stage of labour, inhaling geranium oil effectively reduced their anxiety during labour. It may also help decrease diastolic blood pressure.
How to use: Apply a few drops geranium oil to a cotton ball and waft under your nose a few times.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm has a fresh, uplifting aroma. In aromatherapy, it has a soothing, restorative effect. Most success stories on inhaling lemon balm for anxiety are anecdotal. It may also improve sleep.
How to use: Lemon balm is a great oil to add to a diffuser to add scent to an entire room. You can also inhale it directly.

Marjoram

Also known as oregano, sweet marjoram is thought to calm nervousness and anxiety. It’s also used to ease headaches, a common symptom of anxiety.
How to use: Dilute marjoram with a carrier oil and rub into your temples. You may also apply to your wrists or add to a diffuser.

Fennel

Fennel is best known as a cooking spice. It has an anise aroma and is used to treat many anxiety side effects such as digestive problems. It may also help relieve anxiety that’s related to menopause and other conditions.
Using fennel essential oil has been known to help menopause side effects such as anxiety, hot flashes, sleep problems, and depression.
How to use: Add diluted fennel oil to a warm bath to help relax your body and your mind.

What to do before use:

Essential oils may cause an allergic reaction when used topically. To avoid this, it’s important to do a patch test on a small area of skin before use.
Place a few drops of diluted essential oil on your wrist or elbow, and cover the spot with a bandage. Check the area in 24 hours. If you experience any redness, rash, or itching, the oil isn’t safe for you to use on your skin.
Essential oils aren’t safe for everyone. Talk to your doctor before using essential oils if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an underlying medical condition. You should also consult your doctor before using essential oils on children.
Remember: Not all essential oils are created equal, so you should only buy them from a reputable source.

The Essence of Home-Feng Shui Workshop

Aromatherapy for Insomnia

Aromatherapy for Insomnia and Difficulty Sleeping

Insomnia can impact our well being and the quality of our lives. The frustration of not being able to get a good night’s sleep can make the situation worse. Hectic lifestyles, stress, depression, physical illness and working unusual schedules can all be root causes for insomnia.
Aromatherapy cannot cure insomnia or its root cause, but using calming and relaxing essential oils before your intended bedtime can potentially help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep until your intended wake-up time. Of course, if you have an ongoing, serious sleep disorder, you should see your health professional to discuss your situation and gain treatment for the root cause of your insomnia.
If you suffer from occasional insomnia or sleep disturbances and want to try ideas that may help you fall asleep faster, consider the following tips:
Aromatic Cotton Ball by Bedside: Add a drop of Roman Chamomile Oil or Lavender Oil to a tissue or cotton ball and place that near your pillow at bedtime. Roman Chamomile Oil is considered a natural sedative. Another essential oil that possesses sedating properties is Clary Sage.
Bed Linen Spray: Create a calming bed linen spray and lightly spray your sheets before bedtime.
Bath time: Bathing is a wonderful way to relax, but avoid taking a bath immediately before bedtime. Hot water can increase your circulation and make it hard to fall asleep. Instead, plan to finish your bathing ritual about an hour before bed. While bathing, add a drop or two of Roman Chamomile or Lavender to your bathwater
The minerals in natural salts, especially Dead Sea salts, help to relax muscles which in turn can help you to relax overall.
Massage: Like bathing, massage is stimulating to your circulation and should generally be avoided immediately before bedtime. Prior to bedtime, however, try gently massaging your feet and legs with a calming massage oil or lotion.
Teatime: Borrowed from the field of herbalism, herbal teas using botanicals that have a natural sedative effect can be both soothing and relaxing before bedtime. Try natural chamomile tea. Teas made from passion flower and valerian are also considered to be very relaxing and help to encourage sleep, but do not have the familiar and pleasant flavour that chamomile tea offers.
Avoid Stimulating Essential Oils Before Bedtime: Some essential oils can be particularly energizing and stimulating (i.e. cypress, rosemary, grapefruit, lemon, peppermint). Avoid using these oils and products containing them before bed or they may make your insomnia worse.
The safest and most recommended course of action that you can take is to seek out the in-person guidance of a qualified Aromatherapist in your area. Your particular health situation and the root cause of your insomnia can make a difference in the most suitable recommendations for you. A qualified practitioner should conduct a case history on you and guide you based on your personal background and recommend blends suitable for you and discuss suitable dosages and methods of administration.

Other naturally based or simple ideas for helping ease sleeplessness include the following:
Exercise Regularly: Exercising right before bed isn’t a good idea, but establishing a regular exercise routine can help ease stress, eliminate toxins from your system, improve your overall health and help you to sleep better at bedtime. Of course, the disclaimer has to be mentioned that you should talk to your doctor before starting a new health or exercise program.
Avoid Eating Before Bedtime: Unless you have diabetes or a health issue that may require you to eat right before bedtime, avoid doing so. Carbohydrates, spicy foods and foodstuffs with caffeine are especially prone to making it hard to fall asleep easily.
Avoid Stressful Activities and Situations Before Bedtime: Whenever possible, spend the last hour before bedtime unwinding and doing something that you find relaxing. If scary movies or TV shows gets your adrenaline racing, consider watching comedies instead. Right before bed also isn’t the ideal time to finally work on your finances or call that relative who always upsets you.
Tuning Out Noise: If a root cause of your insomnia is due to noise or distractions, try masking the noise by playing soothing music, using a natural noise machine (the kind that plays soothing natural sounds such as ocean waves or rain) or using ear plugs. These ideas should only be tried if you are in a sleeping situation in which you don’t have to worry about masking out all noises.
Tuning Out Light: If lights make it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep, make sure that your window treatments mask out all light, especially if your schedule requires you to sleep at times when it is light out. Eye masks are also available that filter out light. Some work better than others, so try them on first to ensure a good fit.

 

Source: AromaWeb.

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