AROMATHERAPY METHODS FOR MANAGING STRESS
by KG Stiles, Clinical Aromatherapist
The use of plants and herbs is the oldest form of healing disease and pain, and the medicinal properties of plants have been recorded in the oldest writings in history, in myth, and folklore. According to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, priests and physicians were using essential oils thousands of years before Christ to heal the sick.
Essential oils are highly concentrated, a drop or two can produce significant results. I have had consistent success administering essential oils for inhalation to resolve panic attacks and heart palpitations. The results are usually evident within seconds after inhalation. For a migraine or tension headache the results after inhalation are usually within 10-15 minutes.
What exactly is aromatherapy and how does it work? Aromatherapy means to treat with aroma through inhalation. Essential oils are the subtle, aromatic, and volatile liquids extracted through distillation from a single botanical source (flowers, seeds, leaves, stems, bark, and roots of herbs, bushes, shrubs and trees), the part of the plant yielding the maximum amount of essential oil.
Essential oils act as the blood of the plant, protecting it from bacterial and viral infections, cleansing breaks in its tissue and delivering oxygen and nutrients into the cells.
There are many cheap chemical copies of essential oils available, but these are not recommended for therapeutic use. For best results get the highest quality oils that you can possibly find. Organic, or ethically wild crafted oils should be used whenever available.
Ways of Using Aromatherapy for Managing Stress:
Pure essential oils have a wide range of therapeutic benefits. The method applied can effect the results. First, please remember that most essential oils should not be applied neat (undiluted) to the skin. You may, however apply them neat to the palms of your hands or soles of your feet.
Delivery Methods: The choice of delivery method often depends on the intended goal. We’ll discuss the primary three methods used in practice for stress relief.
I. DIRECTION INHALATION:
Direct inhalation is the method used most in Germany and the one KG primarily uses in practice for best therapeutic results in managing stress with essential oils.
TIP: Stimulating circulation of blood, lymph and nerve flow prior to or while administering the oils greatly enhances their delivery into your system, i.e. some form of movement or exercise, massage, or a warm bath.
Put 1-3 drops of oil on a tissue and inhale. Breathe the oils slowly at first then more deeply and with rapid, quick inhalations, for 30-60 seconds. This method is especially helpful for inducing relaxation and sleep, or place a single drop on your pillow (clear oils are non-staining and will evaporate). Please test first.
Research shows that essential oils are primarily absorbed through your olfactory nerves from where they immediately enter your blood stream. Your blood circulates to distribute the oils to every cell in your body within 20 minutes. Research findings show that essential oils remain in your bloodstream for up to 4 – 6 hours.
II. Air Diffuser: An air diffuser has a basket in which a pad with drops of oils are applied. A small fan blows cool air through the oils lifting them into the air for dispersal. This is a cost effective method for scenting a room and an easy way to instantly create a relaxing and cozy ambiance in your home.
Another inexpensive way to diffuse your aromas is to use pure aromatic mists made with organic or ethically wild crafted essential oils. These make great air fresheners and will quickly and effectively eliminate offensive odors, as well kill any air borne virus and bacteria, an excellent preventive measure for colds and flu!
III. Topical Application: In the USA and England dilution in a carrier oil is the primary method used for enjoying the benefits of essential oils. Carrier oils inhibit the rapid evaporation rate of essential oils and allow for safe application of oils to the skin.
STANDARD DILUTIONS FOR APPLICATION OF ESSENTIAL OILS TO THE SKIN PER FLUID OUNCE OF CARRIER OIL
(Use pure vegetable carrier oils, preferably organic):
Adults – 15 drops essential oil (EO) in 1 oz carrier
Children under age 18 – 10 drops EO in 1 oz carrier
Children age 6-10 – 6-8 drops EO in 1 oz carrier
Children age 4-6, elderly/infirm – 4-8 drops EO in 1 oz carrier
Children age 1-4 – 2-5 drops of EO in 1 oz carrier
Children 6 months-1 year – 2-3 drops EO in 1 oz carrier
Newborns – 2 drops EO in 1 oz carrier, maximum
Please note: Generally Chamomile oil is the only oil KG always feels safe to use with very young children, infants and pregnant moms!
Aromatherapy is a natural healing therapy using essential oils to improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Continued research studies, as well as empirical evidence show aromatherapy to be highly effective for helping those affected by stress!