The internet is abuzz with the growing popularity of alternative therapies for a large number of ailments and diseases. Aromatherapy too is a traditional alternative medicinal practice that is aimed at improving the emotional and spiritual being of a person.
The basis of Aromatherapy is to cure using essential oils and certain aromatic herb, which has a profound influence on a person’s emotional being, cognitive functions, and even physical health.
Science practitioners deem Aromatherapy to be more of a placebo-based treatment method and hence the effectiveness of Aromatherapy in actual treatment is relatively low. However, strong evidences lend support to the efficacy and benefits of using this traditional healing method to heal a good number of ailments, especially in terms of reducing and curbing stress.
A lot of doctors and therapists adopt the practice of Aromatherapy with their clinical treatment. Dentists keep scented candles in their offices to help the patients get rid of anxiety and feel a sense of calm prior to their appointment. In a lot of offices of psychiatrists and clinicians, essential candles are specifically placed to calm down anxious and nervous patients.
Aromatherapy of course is considered as more of an additional aid to modern medicine, but even in isolation Aromatherapy works as a significant therapy for certain ailments.
In fact, in a study conducted it was revealed that lavender fragrance created a change in the behavioral pattern in infants. While some restless infants became calmer, the scent also lulled some of them to sleep.
So, how can Aromatherapy reduce stress?
One of the major reasons why Aromatherapy can help with stress is that stress and anxiety is more of a psychological condition than physiological. If people ‘think’ they should not stress out, and take certain measures to calm their mind, they can instantly change their current state of being stressed, and over a period of time they can completely avoid stress.
Considering that Aromatherapy is based on the use of scented essential oils and fragrances that have a tranquilizing effect on the mind, and combining it with one of the widely-preferred techniques of reducing stress- deep breathing- Aromatherapy works by changing how people ‘feel’.
The easiest method is to soak in a bath filled with essential oils or light up scented candles that effuse a calming scent. This will promptly change your mood and you would feel lighter and relaxed.
Or use a misty spray diluted with a few drops of your choice of essential oil. Generally, rose is the preferred fragrance, but other flavors too work as well. Spraying directly on the face refreshes and rejuvenates while the essential oils have sedating effects.
For a more holistic option, and one that is employed by professionals at spas is to combine the use of essential oil with a tailor-made massage option. The spa method works in three ways. Firstly a good massage will release pent up tension from the muscles and knots that form especially around the shoulder and back area. Second these essential oils are derived from plants having a therapeutic benefit of their
own, so when it seeps into the body it has a healing effect on worn out muscles. And third, the scent works on the mind. In combination, this triple effect is a far more effective approach.
A monthly spa session would do wonders in reducing your stress level, and is also good for the skin. However, if you are looking to cut corners, you can try this easy massage technique while in the bath or in a room lit with scented candles or a diffuser to emit the fragrance from essential oil.
Sit with your back straight and rotate your shoulder joints, wrist, and neck. Now keep both the thumb on either side of the base of the neck and gently massage the Trapezius muscles or the triangular area formed by your shoulders and neck using the remaining four fingers.
The best essential oil flavors to reduce stress:
- Sandalwood (in moderate quantities)
- Clary sage
The list thus compiled contains all essential oil fragrances that work with stress. However, you need to pick one that is best suited for you and which does not cause any allergic reaction.
For a peaceful sleep or to cure insomnia, try dimming the lights and lighting up some scented candles. In fact, sleeping with scented candles lit also promotes good sleep and reduces restlessness and fitful sleep sessions.
If you meditate on a regular basis, next time try to meditate with a lit scented candle in the vicinity or use a diffuser and see a marked difference.
Aromatherapy isn’t your one-in-all solution for stress relief, but it can help reduce and curb stress to a large extent.