Living with anxiety is a fierce fight to face each day. Medications often have limited effect but are ridden with side effects. Natural solutions are becoming increasingly in demand for their time effectiveness and wholesomeness.
Fortunately, Aromatherapy has started entering mainstream domains of medicine and therapy, as thousands of studies have been revealing many benefits of essential oils over the past few years.
An exciting revelation from the 2014 study conducted by the American College of Healthcare Sciences on 58 hospice patients identified several health benefits of essential oils.Two groups of participants had their hands massaged with oil once per day for a week. One group used a highly diluted blend of essential oils in a carrier oil. The other group received their massage only with a carrier oil. The essential oils blend consisted of bergamot, frankincense and lavender. As a result, every patient receiving massage with essential oils described less pain and depression, which didn’t happen in the control group that didn’t use essential oils.
You can use some of the oils neat. However, if not sure, please dilute your oils in a carrier oil of your choice (4 drops of essential oil in 10 ml of carrier oil) to avoid skin reactions and sensitisation. Test the mixture on a small patch of your skin first. Wait for 24 hours before applying the blend to a larger area.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is one of the most commonly known and used essential oil. It has a calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system. It helps to sleep, reduces restlessness, irritability, panic attacks, nervousness, stomach issues and other health problems caused by nervous tension.
Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that inhaling lavender essential oil reduces stress and anxiety (The Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications). When the oil was given orally (in capsules) to people watching anxiety-provoking films, the group receiving the oil had a lower heart rate than the control group who received a placebo, suggesting that lavender had an anxiolytic (anxiety inhibiting) effect.
Additional research has shown lavender’s aptitude to lower anxiety in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery and dental treatments.
Rose (Rosa damascena)
Rose essential oil relaxes the emotional heart and is perhaps the second most potent after lavender for alleviating depression and anxiety. It is also beneficial for treating panic attacks, grief and shock.
In a study of first time pregnant women published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, one group received a 10-minute inhalation of, coupled with a footbath containing, rose oil, whilst another group received only a 10-minute warm-water footbath. A third group, the control, received none. Aromatherapy and footbath reduced anxiety in women who used the oils.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)
Vetiver oil introduces a tranquil, grounding, and reassuring energy and, as such, is often used with trauma patients to assist with self-awareness, calmness and stabilisation.
A tonic for the nervous system, the oil decreases hypersensitivity and jitteriness and is also beneficial for shock and panic attacks.
Natural Product Research team examining anxiety-like behaviour in rats concluded that vetiver oil helped lower anxiety effects.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
This much loved essential oil can treat depression and anxiety thanks to its uplifting and calming effects. Ylang ylang helps with courage, cheerfulness, optimism and alleviates fear. It is known to calm heart agitation and nervous palpitations and is a strong sedative, relieving insomnia.
In a 2006 study conducted by Geochang Provincial College in Korea, ylang-ylang oil was combined with bergamot and lavender oils and administered once daily for four weeks. The therapy reduced “psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension,” scientists found.
However, ylang-ylang can irritate sensitive skin and is contraindicated for conditions such as low blood pressure. Therefore care must be taken when using the oil.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Bergamot has a characteristic flowery taste and scent and is a component of Earl Grey tea. Bergamot oil is used for depression and insomnia for its ability to induce relaxation and reduce agitation.
The oil lessens corticosterone reaction to stress in rats in studies. Another study undertaken in 2011 found that the application of blended essential oils, including bergamot, helps alleviate depression and anxiety in humans. The blend used consisted of lavender and bergamot oils.
Compared to the placebo, the application of blended essential oil was a significant, natural way to reduce blood pressure and pulse rate. The participants evaluated themselves as calmer and more relaxed than the control group.
Bergamot is generally safe. However, it is photosensitising, and care should be taken to avoid its use within 12 hours of sun exposure to prevent sunburn.
I am a trained Aromatherapist and use essential oils in my practice for physical and emotional issues. You can order them as stand-alone blends or as remedies that combine essential oils and other natural vibrations transmitted into your blend with the help of a radionics machine. All remedies are uniquely blended and potentised for every issue and person.