Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Perfect Aromatherapy to Relieve Stress in the New Year

Author Bio: Ronnie is a health fanatic and loves all things chia and flax. When she isn't writing, you can find her kayaking with her corgi, Buffy.

After all the holiday parties are done and you begin working diligently on your New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to banish all the built-up stress. Everyone has a different method of stress relief – exercise, movies, vacation, and so on – but a little extra help is always beneficial. Aromatherapy is an effective and easy way to treat stress and to keep yourself calm and focused. Combine it with detox therapy or supplements, and you will start the new year off right!

Read on to learn everything you need to know to start practicing aromatherapy in your home.

How Do I Practice Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using the scents from plant extracts for the treatment of common issues including a headache, stress, and even hangovers. These natural compounds can be absorbed through the scent receptors in your nose and lungs or through your skin.

Specific extracts are recommended for each use, either alone or in combinations. One way to practice aromatherapy is to burn incense. This works best to diffuse a scent throughout your home. A more popular aromatherapy practice is the use of essential oils. There are quite a few different ways to use essential oils to achieve your desired effect.

·         Inhaling: To directly inhale essential oils, place a few drops in a bowl of steaming hot water or on the floor of a hot shower and inhale the steam. For a less intense experience, create an air freshener from essential oils. You can make a spray, infuse it in a candle, make a diffuser, or drop an oil-soaked cotton ball into your vacuum bag for a boost of scent each time you clean.

·         Body Application: This method of aromatherapy works best for the relief of aches and pains. For a headache, rub oil directly into the back of your neck or other affected areas. You can also rub oils directly into cuts of scrapes to promote fast, clean healing. Oils are often used in massage as well. If applying the oils directly to your skin causes irritation, place a few drops onto a damp washcloth and use it as a compress on your body. Always mix a concentrated essential oil with a carrier oil such as almond, olive, or coconut before application.

·         Bathing: Add essential oils to a hot bath and soak. This combines both inhaling and body application for a completely immersive aromatherapy experience. Bathing works best for emotional care – anxiety, stress, and depression – as well as a hangover or a cold.

Which Scents Should I Use?
There are quite a few aromatherapy scents that help relieve stress. While many scents appeal to everyone, you’ll achieve the best results if you find the one scent or combination that appeals most to your senses.

·         Lavender: Often referred to as the “universal oil,” lavender has demonstrated a positive effect on nearly 30 conditions. Some of the best-proven uses are for stress and anxiety relief as well as reduction of the stress hormone, cortisol.

·         Frankincense: All the way back to Biblical times, Frankincense has been coveted for its unique scent. It is one of the most popular scents for stress relief and can also help with respiratory conditions such as asthma.

·         Rose: Another floral scent with a multitude of uses, rose has been nicknamed the “queen of stress relief.” It is highly effective in stress relief, and it has been shown to reduce adrenaline concentration by up to 30%. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive oils because of the difficulty of extraction. It can take up to 60,000 roses for a single ounce of oil.

·         Vanilla: Always a warm and comfortable scent, vanilla is often used in conjunction with other oils for stress relief. Some aromatherapists claim the calming properties are due to the similarity of the scent to mother’s breast milk. It can also help stimulate mental clarity so you can accomplish the tasks that are causing stress in your life.

·         Marjoram: This oil distilled from the Knotted Marjoram plant has many properties that make it a beneficial scent in the defense against stress. It is a hypotensive, which means it lowers blood pressure and can increase brain function. It also promotes a comforting, warming quality by increasing circulation.

·         Bergamot: While it may be unfamiliar, bergamot is the ingredient that makes plain black tea into Earl Grey. It is a natural anti-depressant that increases circulation and promotes the proper production of hormones to naturally regulate the body. Bergamot flavonoids are also very effective at reducing tension and anxiety.

·         Chamomile: The calming properties of chamomile are common knowledge, as it is often used in herbal, bedtime teas, but it is lesser known there are two types of chamomile – Roman and German. Roman chamomile is the type best suited to treat stress, while German chamomile is used more often to soothe irritated skin.

When Should I Practice Aromatherapy?

You can practice aromatherapy anytime and anywhere. Place diffusers around your house to have constant scent floating in the air. Burn incense or candles anytime you are home. Make an essential oil spray and spritz your clothes or body daily. Keep a bottle of essential oil or a handkerchief with oil on it in your pocket or desk drawer and dab it on your wrists when you need a little boost.

There is no way to overdose on this type of therapy. However, if you feel your stress is leading to depression or harmful thoughts and is not controlled by home remedies, consult your doctor for ways to supplement your aromatherapy self-treatment.

Are There Any Hazards?
While aromatherapy is all natural, there are still some safety precautions. Before using essential oils always read any warnings. Some may interact with medications, magnify a medical condition, or be harmful during pregnancy. Some may also intensify the sun’s effects, so be sure to use sunscreen and limit sun exposure.

When purchasing aromatherapy equipment such as incense or oils, always ensure the product you are buying is made with natural ingredients. Products that are less expensive may be made from scented chemical components, which will likely be more harmful than beneficial.

Burning incense should be treated like any open flame. Move any flammable objects away from the incense and the burner, and keep children and pets away. Only use an approved incense burner and keep an eye on it constantly to avoid a fire.

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