In a recent Botanica workshop I attended we looked at holistic approaches to dealing with stress and anxiety with presenters Dr. Timothy Miller and Gabriel Mojay.
I learned that anxiety affects about 18% of the U.S. population with an average onset of eleven.
There are a variety of pharmaceuticals targeted towards anxiety but many people would like natural approaches as well.
While it is important to seek professional help for mental wellness issues often times holistic approaches can be very beneficial in supporting allopathic approaches or may offer preventative measures.
In this blog post we'll look at some essential oils that can support relaxation and may be helpful in dealing with stress as well as some breathing and support techniques.
The aromatic compounds in some essential oils have been shown to exert a calming effect on the body. They may relax the muscles, lower heart rate or blood pressure, or uplift and support mood.
Breathing techniques and coping techniques can be quite beneficial when dealing with stress and adequate sleep and good nutrition can also support a healthy body and be beneficial when dealing with stress.
Each person and family will have to decide what the best options are for dealing with stress and anxiety are but having a tool kit that includes natural options can help. Be sure to discuss any holistic methods utilized with your health care provider.
Many essential oils act as tonics, relax, and support the body in physiological ways and on energetic levels and can support one dealing with stress and stressful situations.
Essential oils and hydrosols when paired with self care such as massage, reflexology, energy work, therapy, and allopathic medicine can further support healing and change.
There are many relaxing and soothing essential oils and working with a certified or clinical aromatherapist alongside health professionals can be very helpful.
I'd like to share three of my favorites and a two techniques that are useful when dealing with stress.
Essential Oils that Like to Relax:
Lavendula angustafolia (lavender) essential oil is familiar but extremely beneficial. Lavender is rich in linalool and linalyl acetate. It soothes, calms, and is a tonic to the body. Lavender has been shown to be effective in generalized anxiety disorder when taken internally in the form of Silexan.
The essential oil can also be diffused, used in an inhaler, delivered via AromOx®, used in massage, lotions, or simply inhaled from the bottle or a tissue.
Lavender is said to be supportive of the nervous system and very calming, healing, and nurturing. It also has analgesic, anti inflammatory and anti spasmodic properites. It is easy to find, has a lovely aroma, gentle and safe, and a great choice for soothing stress. Energetically it encourages balance.
Cananga odorata (ylang-ylang) essential oil: This gorgeous floral oil is sweet, strong, and sensuous. Use in small amounts. It's rich in relaxing esters and sesiquterpenes. Ylang-ylang has analgesic, sedative, and hypotensive properties and is a tonic for the body.
The esters in ylang-ylang are relaxing and have been found to have hypotensive effects. Energetically ylang-ylang is said to encourage joy and have an affinity for the heart.
Best used in small amounts, it works well blended with lavender, clary sage, or citrus. Also lovely with sandalwood and vetiver.
Chrysopogon zizanioides or Vetiveria zizanioides (vetiver) essential oil: I love vetiver essential oil, but the truth is some people love it and some people don't care for it. However, you can often tuck it away in blends to enjoy it's benefits while blending its aroma alongside other essential oils with wonderful results.
Vetiver is distilled from the roots of a grass. It is extremely soothing and calming as it is rich in sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenols.
Vetiver is said to have sedative properties, along with being anti inflammatory, an immunostimulant, anti fungal and cooling.
Excellent for skin, muscles, and mood vetiver is a base note that can help when one is dealing with stress. It is a thick oil so it can be hard to diffuse on its own but works well in blends with lighter oils. It can be used in an inhaler or bath for soothing. The three oils mentioned about combined with a bit or orange or green mandarin would make a lovely soothing blend.
Energetically vetiver is said to be grounding and restorative. It is rich in sequiterpenes and sesquiterpenols which are relaxing compounds. Vetiver is often used to support sleep and relaxation.
Two Soothing Techniques:
Four square breathing:
Breath is rooted in life. When we are stressed breathing becomes rapid and shallow. If we pause and breathe deeply we can support the body in relaxation. Four square breathing does just that.
Four square breathing involves inhaling a breath of air for four seconds, holding the breath for four seconds, exhaling for four seconds, followed by holding the breath for four seconds, then repeating.
This can be coupled with meditation, a mantra, or visualization for further benefit.
54321 Coping Technique: Grounding in the Now:
Another technique to quiet and calm the mind and body.
1. Focus on FIVE things you can see -- no matter what they are state five things you see.
2. Focus on FOUR things you can touch -- again no matter what they are four things you can feel.
3. Acknowledge THREE things you can hear -- pay attention to sounds. It can be your rumbling stomach or nearby birds etc.
4. Acknowledge TWO things you can smell (this is where a relaxing inhaler or aromatherapy cream, lotion, or roll on etc. could help_).
5. Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. Focus on your mouth and what you can taste. Garlic from lunch or minty-ness of gum.
A way to ground yourself in the now the 54321 technique is easy to do and can be very helpful.
We touched briefly on some ideas for using natural means to support individuals wth stress. If you have questions or would like to discuss creating a blend or coupling with strategies or allopathic methods please contact Tricia
If you are suffering from stress or anxiety and need to talk with someone now or just want more information about stress and anxiety visit: https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/anxiety-hotline/
If you'd like prayer for anxiety or any other issue you may be struggling with visit: http://www.crossroads.ca/247prayer/
Stress and anxiety have a variety of causes and it may take time to get to the root and find peace. If you or a loved one are suffering from anxiety or stress I encourage you to continue to seek peace and interventions that support your mind, body, and spirit.
I understand that the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the therapeutic suggestions or any statements made on this website about essential oils, carriers or other products offered by Aromatherapy by Tricia Ambroziak (ABT)
The statements made on this website are for educational purposes and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
The data on this website is not considered complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate.
Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment based on something you've read or accessed through this website.
Tricia Ambroziak is a professional aromatherapist and Holistic Healthcare Practitioner Student, but not a licensed health care professional.
I understand that essential oils and aromatherapy are not a substitute for professional medical care.
I understand that the products being sold by ABT are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.